House panel muzzles dangerous dogs after ‘gruesome’ attack on mail carrier
Call us when the man bites back.

An adult, aggressive male German shepherd attacks a man and bite
The Bobby Payne bill comes after an incident in Putnam County last year.

A committee in the House moved forward a potential legislative solution to a canine conundrum.

Rep. Bobby Payne’s measure (HB 873) advanced unanimously by the Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee, would impose new parameters on how the state handles so-called dangerous dogs. He noted Virginia and Pennsylvania already have similar laws.

The bill requires the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to create a statewide Dangerous Dog Registry, which would rely on information provided by local animal control agencies.

Owners of potentially dangerous dogs would have to preemptively confine the dog in a fenced yard or a kennel to protect the public.

The legislation would also mandate that dogs being investigated be seized by the local animal control authority for the course of the probe.

Dogs protecting a home or an owner are exempt from this designation.

Owners of dangerous dogs would need at least $100,000 in liability insurance if this bill becomes law. The animals would have to be spayed or neutered also.

The bill also increases the maximum fine for violations of the dangerous dog statute to $1,000.

Owners selling or giving these dogs away would have to report the transaction to animal control as well.

Regarding dog-on-dog attacks, Payne noted they too “stipulate whether it’s a dangerous dog” in response to a question from Republican Sam Killebrew.

The bill would be named after someone who died after a dog attack performing a public service.

Mail carrier Pam Rock, who lived in Putnam County, was fatally attacked by a pack of dogs in August 2022. She was 61 years old. In a measure of her final suffering, her ravaged arm was amputated before her death, in a futile attempt to save her.

Payne told the committee he was “horrified” by the “gruesome” attack, which happened in his district.

Family members of the dead woman were also on hand to make the case for the legislation, noting the bill doesn’t call for a breed ban, but for regulations on the behavior of dogs.

Payne’s bill moves on to its final stop in Judiciary before heading to the House floor.

The Senate version is being carried by Republican Sen. Jay Collins. Two committee stops await that product.

This bill isn’t the only effort to honor Rock.

U.S. Rep. Aaron Bean recently led the unanimous passage in Congress of a bill to rename a post office in Melrose in her memory.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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