Proposed legislation would tighten restrictions on dangerous dogs following 2022 death of mail carrier in Putnam County

Florida lawmakers have filed a bill in the House and Senate aimed at keeping neighborhoods safe from dangerous dogs.

Under the law, dogs are considered “dangerous” if they have attacked or aggressively chased people.

The legislation, called “The Pam Rock Act”, was inspired by Pam Rock, a mail carrier killed by dogs in Putnam County in 2022. An investigation by the News4JAX I-TEAM found the same dogs had previously put a neighbor in the hospital.

Rock’s siblings said her death never should have happened.

When her car broke down while she was delivering mail on a dirt road in Putnam County, a pack of hungry dogs escaped their fenced-in yard and attacked her. The dogs’ owner had previously tried unsuccessfully to surrender them to animal control.

“We’re never going to get our sister back, however, there are steps that can be taken to deal with these dangerous dogs that are not currently in place in the current Florida laws,” said Dick Rock, who is Pam’s brother.

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In an effort to protect others from dog attacks, the Rock family took their story to state lawmakers. They believe if a bill like the proposed legislation had been in place, it could’ve saved Pam’s life.

The “Pam Rock Act” indicates that if a dog were to bite or aggressively chase someone, the canine would have to be immediately impounded by animal control as an investigation is underway.

Animal control would have to put down a dog deemed dangerous found to have severely hurt a person.

If a dog is found to be dangerous for another reason, they would have to be neutered, and their owner would have to get liability insurance of at least $100,000 to cover damages in the event of an attack.

Dogs deemed dangerous would also have to be put on a registry, kind of like a sex offender registry, but where the public could look up the pictures and addresses of dangerous dogs.

“This particular bill will help us identify the real perpetrators, the owners and those dogs that aren’t looked after, to make sure that they are identified and they’re stopped,” Tom Rock, Pam’s brother, said.

A dog owner who violates the proposed law could be fined up to $1,000, and if they fail to keep a dog with dangerous proclivities in a proper enclosure, and the the dog severely hurts or kills a person, the owner could be charged with a misdemeanor.

“It will give some real accountability levers by which the law can go after irresponsible owners,” Dick Rock said.

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