Is It Legal To Own a Pet Tiger in Florida?

Tiger cubs are adorable and cute, but they grow to become ferocious animals. A tiger might become a tamer in captivity if it lives with humans, but it is still not domesticated. It will always be a wild animal.

For that reason, Florida prohibits individuals from owning tigers as pets unless the animal was owned on or before August 1, 1980.

What Does Florida Law Say About Pet Tigers?

Tigers are considered part of the Class I Wildlife group under the Florida Administrative Code. The animals in Class I pose a significant danger to people. They must be housed according to strict guidelines. 

Animals in this group cannot be owned as pets unless you owned the tiger on or before August 1, 1980, or on or before August 27, 2009, for panthers, cougars, and cheetahs.

Other animals in the Class I Wildlife group include:

  • Tigers
  • Chimpanzees
  • Elephants
  • Bears
  • Cheetahs 
  • Baboons
  • Crocodiles
  • Panthers
  • Cougars
  • Lions

Permits are required for the sale or public exhibition of Class I wildlife. Anyone who possesses animals within this group must guarantee financial responsibility for the animal.

Responsibility for Pets in Florida

If your pet causes harm to another person or animal, you could be held liable for any damages caused by your pet. 

For example, Florida is a strict liability state for dog attacks and dog bites. Even if you were not negligent and your dog bites another person, you could be financially liable for that person’s injuries and damages. Your dog might never have bitten another person before that instance, but you could still be liable.

If the person was in a public place or lawfully on private property, you are responsible. However, there are some defenses to liability for dog bites.

If the person provoked the dog, you might argue comparative negligence for the dog bite. The person was partially at fault for their injuries and damages because they knowingly provoked the animal. If the dog’s owner posts a warning sign that there is a dog or “bad dog” present, the victim might need to prove that the owner was negligent to recover damages for a dog bite.

If the dog is defined as a dangerous dog by Florida law, the owner must take extra precautions to protect the public. Dangerous dogs must be registered with animal control, and owners must confine the dangerous dog in a secure location. Whenever the dog is removed from the confined area, the owner must restrain the dog at all times.

A person may also file a premises liability claim if a pet injures them on another person’s property. Property owners are responsible for maintaining safe premises and placing warnings of dangerous conditions or hazards on the property. The property owner could be liable for any damages caused by a breach of the duty of care.

What Damages Can a Person Receive for an Animal Bite?

If a pet bites you, you could be entitled to compensation for a variety of damages. Damages generally included in dog bite claims and animal attack claims include, but are not limited to:

  • Medical expenses and bills
  • Loss of income and benefits
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Permanent impairments or disabilities
  • Mental trauma and anguish
  • Emotional distress and anxiety 
  • Loss of quality of life or enjoyment of life

The value of a personal injury claim varies. It depends on the severity and type of injuries, the total financial losses, comparative fault, and other factors.

What Should You Do if an Animal Injures You?

Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. It is essential that you have medical evidence of your injuries. Report the animal attack to the local animal control agency or police department and the animal’s owner.

Document your injuries by taking pictures of the injuries as soon as possible and throughout your recovery. If you are out of work or incur expenses related to the attack, keep records of your expenses and lost wages.

Seeking legal advice from a personal injury lawyer can also be helpful. In many cases, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. However, proving fault and liability could be tricky, especially if an insurance company or the animal’s owner is disputing fault and liability for the incident.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in North Central Florida

If you need legal assistance, contact the Gainesville personal injury lawyers at Allen Law Firm at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We have two convenient locations in North Central Florida:

Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Gainesville office
2550 SW 76th St #150
Gainesville, FL 32608
(877) 255-3652

Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Ocala Office
112 S Pine Ave
Ocala, FL 34471
(352) 351-3258