How Many Dogs and Cats Can You Own in Florida?


As the third most populous state in the US, Florida does not have a statewide pet ownership law that limits the number of dogs or cats you can keep in your house. However, depending on where you live, your city or community may allow only a certain number of pets per household. For example, you can have as many dogs and cats as you want if you live in a rural area. However, that is not the case if you live in a city. Many cities in Florida generally allow two to three dogs per household. These laws are in place in urban areas to control nuisances and animal-transmitted diseases.

Number of Dogs and Cats You Can Own in Florida

How many pet dogs and cats can you legally own in Florida?

As mentioned earlier in the article's introduction, the number of dogs or cats you can keep in your house depends on where in Florida you live. While the number is almost limitless in rural areas, urban areas typically don't allow more than three dogs or cats per household. 

In October 2014, a proposed law was sparked by a quarrel between two Florida neighbors, Gene DiScenza and Kristen Berner. Kristen was keeping 14 dogs on her property but had denied being an animal hoarder. Her next-door neighbor, Gene had filed complaints multiple times that Kristen's dogs were making too much noise and were being mistreated, the Daily Gazette reported at the time.

The subsequent proposed law would mean that owners of more than three dogs must follow special rules, which include: 
  • Owning a separate building to keep the dogs
  • Living no closer than 1,500 feet to a neighbor's residence
  • No sheltering of more than 10 dogs at a time.
  • Providing a dedicated heat and water source for the dogs

However, the proposed dog control law, which hasn’t been made official, was spoken out against by a dozen Florida residents who called it unfair and unwarranted. Moreover, Florida owners keeping more than three dogs at home would be considered kennels. While the debate lives on in the Sunshine State, many cities have limitations on the number of dogs that can be kept within residential zoning districts. That said, let's take a look at pet ownership limitations in some Florida cities and towns.

Pet Ownership Limitations in Palm Bay, Florida

In the city of Palm Bay, located in Brevard County, no more than four dogs are allowed per dwelling unit. And just so you know, any canine that is six months old or older is considered a dog. All residents with more than four dogs are required to obtain a certificate of authorization to temporarily keep such a greater number within three months. Within that period of time, you are not allowed to add any additional dogs to those already registered. Furthermore, the city can grant only one valid permit per residential dwelling unit at any time. For more information, visit the American Legal Publishing site.

Pet Ownership Limitations in Miami, Florida

In the city of Miami, owners living on residential property that is less than one acre are allowed to have up to four dogs. Moreover, you can own up to six dogs if you live on one to two acres and eight dogs if you live on two acres or more. Anyone who wishes to own more than eight dogs on residential property needs to obtain a Kennel license.

Pet Ownership Limitations in Tampa, Florida

Currently, the city of Tampa does not allow more than four dogs or four cats per residence. Pinellas County and Orange County do not limit the number of dogs and cats that can be kept in a home.

Pet Ownership Limitations in Jacksonville, Florida

In the city of Jacksonville, the number of dogs and cats allowed per household is four. In addition, the animals must be over the age of four months and be vaccinated against rabies on an annual basis.

Please be advised that laws undergo frequent changes. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you consult your local authorities to stay updated on any recent developments.

Penalties for violating pet ownership laws in Florida

Generally, no dwelling unit in Florida is allowed to keep more than four dogs or cats. However, if a person is found to be in violation of any of the city's pet ownership laws, the person's pets shall be reduced to two. After two years, the person will be again allowed to keep four pets. However, the person must not be found in violation of any animal control regulation within those two years.


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