Articles Posted in Leash Laws

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In the State of Florida, dog are present in virtually every neighborhood. Dog ownership is both a great job and an important responsibility. In the State of Florida, a dog owner is strictly liable when the dog bites another person. While there are some exceptions to this general law and rule, the dog owner is typically liable for the dog bite related injuries in the State of Florida. When a person is bit by a dog, there is often a question or issue as to insurance question. As a Florida Child Injury Lawyer, the following question is often asked:

Is Homeowner’s Insurance Required to Cover Dog Bite Related Personal Injuries?

The simple answer to this question is “No”. Of course, there is more to the question and answer as stated. First, if there is dog bite related coverage under the homeowner’s insurance policy, then the insurance carrier should provide compensation for the dog bite victim; however, many insurance policies in the State of Florida either do not cover dog bite related injuries or there is an exception or exemption in the Florida homeowner’s insurance policy for dog bite related injuries.

There is no Statewide requirement in Florida that a dog owner carry liability, homeowner’s, or renter’s insurance that provide coverage for dog bite related injuries. While there are minimum insurance requirements for automobile owners in the State of Florida, there is no correponding requirement for insurance for dog owners in the State of Florida. In fact, some counties do not even require any registration or tagging of dogs as a requirement of dog ownership.

When an adult or child is bit by a dog, there are often many challenges including those related to medical care, medical bills, insurance, and, yes, the legal rights of the dog bite victim. The book – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know - has chapters on Dog Bite Injuries, Automobile Accidents, Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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In Florida, a dog owner is liable for injuries caused by a dog bite or dog attack pursuant to Section 767.01, Florida Statutes. Under this law, a dog owner is strictly liable for injuries caused by the dog bite or dog attack. In other words, the injury victim is not required to proof fault, knowledge, or predisposition to attack by the dog in order to prevail on a legal claim or lawsuit. As noted in Knapp v. Ball, 175 So.2d 808 (Fla. 3rd D.C.A. 1965), there was not assumption of risk by a dog bite victim by her mere presence in the Defendant’s house as a guest. The Third District Court of Appeal further noted that liability is based on a legal obligation rather than on negligence. Furthermore, scienter or knowledge of a dog’s prior aggressiveness is not required for such a case.

In most cases, a dog owner is strictly liable for the actions of his or her dog that cause injury to a victim. There are some exceptions to this general rule. When a person is injured as a result of a dog bite attack, there are often times many issues or challenges faced by the dog bite victim including medical bills, medical treatment, insurance coverage, damages, pain and suffering, and other issues.

Florida and other States have unique laws in place for dog bite injuries and attacks. These cases are much different than other types of injury cases like automobile accidents, slip and falls, and other incidents.

Many dog bite attacks and injuries can be avoided with better precautions and supervision of the dog / animal. This includes dog training, fencing, and the use of a leash at all times that a dog is off of the property. For more information on Florida leash laws, see Florida Leash Laws – County by County. When a dog attacks or bites a person, animal control agencies and / or local government agencies can take action to declare that the dog is a dangerous dog. See Florida Dangerous Dog Laws – County by County.

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In Florida, children are the unfortunate victims of dog bite incidents and attacks. It was reported that an 11 year old Florida girl was bitten and attacked by a Florida Pit Bull breed type of dog. Trinity Ciolfi, age 11, was bitten when leaving a friend’s house. She was later admitted to the hospital with fractured arms and lacerations. There was a large area on her arm that was injured as a result of the attack. Government officials put the dog under a 10 day quarantine. Unfortunately, the dog did not have its Rabies shots in order. See Dog Attack of a Central (Brevard County) Florida Girl.

Following a dog bite / attack injury to a child, there are many issues and challenges for a parent to deal with. Florida dog bite cases are governed by Chapter 767, Florida Statutes and local dog leash and dangerous dog ordinances and laws. Florid has a strict liability law in place for dog bite injuries. In other words, a dog owner is liable for a dog bite even if the dog did not have a history of aggression. A dog owner is liable regardless of its propensity or likelihood that it would bite a child or adult. Strict liability is different than common negligence which would require that the dog owner did something wrong or was at fault for the dog bite related injuries. In Florida, the privilege of dog ownership comes with it the responsibility for the acts and bites of the dog. There are some limited exceptions to the strick liability laws in Florida. For instance, a dog owner may be able to avoid responsibility if the dog bite victim was a trespasser and / or the dog bite victim purposely provoked the dog. In most dog bite attacks, the injured child is simply a victim who deserves compensation under Florida law for the injuries suffered as a result of the dog attack / dog bite.

Most Florida counties have a leash law in place. See Florida Dog Leash Laws – County by County. In addition, most Florida counties have a dangerous dog law in place. See Florida Dangerous Dog Laws – County by County. When a child is injured as a result of a dog bite, it is important to consult with a Florida Dog Bite attorney as to the rights of the injured child. In pursuing these cases, it is often helpful if the dog bite owner has homeowner’s insurance in place that covers damages for dog bite injuries. Unfortunately, many homeowner’s insurance policies have exemptions for dog bite injuries or animal attacks. If there is no coverage in place, the dog owner is still legally liable for the injuries or damage; however, payment for these damages must come directly from the Florida dog owner rather than the homeowner’s insurance company.

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In Madeira Beach, Florida, a 5 year old girl (Shayna Lydick) suffered serious facial personal injuries as a result of a dog attack. The attack was reported by Bay News 9 (Pinellas County). The family of Shayna Lydick are very upset over the situation and the injuries to this Pinellas county girl. The family is also concerned about the safety of others in light of the dog attack by “Sampson”. Shayna has been seen and treated by a plastic surgeon who informed the family that the injuries will be permanent in nature. See Dog Bite Attack – Madeira Beach, Florida.

In Florida, the owner of a dog is liable for injuries caused by a dog bite. Unlike some other States, there is no “one free bite” rule in Florida. In addition, a dog bite victim does not have to prove that the dog was previously known as a vicious or dangerous dog. If a dog bites a person, there is typically liability for the resulting injuries unless the dog bite victim was a trespasser or was hostile to the dog. In Florida, dog owners should maintain control of their dogs. Many dog bite incidents can be avoided with a proper collar, leash, and, yes, control by the dog owner. When a dog owner takes his or her dog out in public, there is always a risk that the dog may react to something or somebody and then bite a person. It does not necessarily mean that the dog is a “bad dog”. It just means that the dog bit a person, caused injuries, and, yes, has caused a liability problem for the dog owner. See Florida Dog Leash Laws – County by County. See Florida Dangerous Dog Laws – County by County.

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In Gulf County, there are county ordinances that regulate the licensing, classification, confinement and disposal of dogs and cats. Pursuant to the Gulf County Code of Ordinances, dog owners have a duty to prevent domestic animals (dogs and cats) from running at large. Under the definition section of the Code of Gulf County Ordinances, the following definitions apply:

“At Large” is defined as an animal when off the property and not under restraint.

“Confined” is defined as within a building, pen fenced yard, vehicle, on a leash or on a chain.

“Restraint” is defined as confined within the real property limits of its owner or secured by a leash or lead.

It is important for dog owner in Gulf County to keep control of his or her dog. Confining a dog to a particular area and / or utilizing a leash at all times off the property will help prevent incidents in which a dog, for cause or not cause at all, bites an adult or a child. Dog bite injuries continue to occur across the State of Florida and involve serious injuries that involve costly medical bills, pain and suffering, and permanent scarring and disfigurement. You can read more these regulations at Gulf County Animal Control County Ordinances.

Gulf County is located in Florida’s panhandle on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and includes the following cities: Port St. Joe and Wewahitchka.

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In Hardee County, Florida, a down owner has a duty to maintain possession, charge, custody or control of a dog and shall not allow the dog to run “at large”. When a dog is off the premises of the owner, there is a duty to keep the dog on a leash or otherwise under the direct control of the dog owner pursuant to Section 4.105 – Dogs and Cats at Large – Restrictions – Code of Hardee County Ordinances. Direct Control is defined as immediate and continuous physical control of an animal at all times such as by means of a fence, leash, cord, or chain of specific length. For specially trained dogs, Direct Control is defined as dogs that respond to oral or aural control assuming that the person controlling the dog is within the unobstructed sight and hearing of the dog.

You can access the Animal Control County Ordinances for Hardee County and also read other information at Hardee County Animal Control.

It is important for dog owner in Hardee County to follow Animal Control ordinances and also to exercise due care and common sense when owning a animal. Compliance will help prevent the incidents of serious dog bite incidents that cause serious personal injuries to children and adults alike.

Hardee County, Florida is located in Central Florida just south of Polk County and includes the following cities: Bowling Green, Wauchula, and Zolfo Springs.

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Pursuant to Chapter 5, Animals, Article II, Animal Services, Section 5-33 of the Ordinances for Orange County, Florida, dogs are required to wear a leash when off the owner’s property or on any piece of public property. If an officer observes a dog at learge, the officer may issue a warning or citation. If the officer cannot locate the owner after reasonable efforts, the officer may seize and impound the animal. Dogs are also prohibited from being tied, chained, or otherwised tethered to public property or the property of another without consent of the property owner. Therefore, you cannot tie your dog to a tree in a neighbor’s yard or public park without permission to do so. If transporting a dog in a vehicle, the dog may either be confined within a cage, crate or pen, which must be well ventilated and secured within the body of the vehicle, or restrained by leash to the center of the vehicle. The leash must be attached to the collar or harness of the dog and short enough to prevent the dog’s head from reaching the side or back of the vehicle.

You can read more about the Orange County, Florida dog leash provisions and other sections pertaining to Dogs at Orange County, Florida, Code of Ordinances.

Under Florida Law, if a child is bitten by a dog, regardless if the dog is leashed or not, the dog owner is responsible for the damages resulting from the dog bite. These damages include but are not limited to: medical bills (past and future), pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. If you have a question about a Florida dog bite and the related personal injuries to a child, it is important to have the advice, counsel, and legal representation of a Florida Child Injury Lawyer.

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In Palm Coast, Florida, residents and visitors are subject to the Code of Ordinances for the City of Palm Coast, Florida. Pursuant to Chapter 8, Animals, Article III, Confinement of Dogs, Section 8-63, a dog owner has a duty to have a dog on a leash in residential and public places when the dog is off of the owner’s property. The leash shall not be longer than 5 feet in length.

You can read more about the City of Palm Coast, Florida dog leash provisions and other sections pertaining to Dogs at the City of Palm Coast, Florida Ordinances.

If a child is bitten by a dog (on or off a leash), the dog owner, under Florida Law, is responsible for the damages caused by the dog bite including but not limited to medical bills (past and future), pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. If you have a question about a Florida dog bite and the related personal injuries to a child, it is important to have the advice, counsel, and legal representation of a Florida Child Injury Lawyer.

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In Sumter County, Florida, residents and visitors are subject to the Code of Ordinances for Sumter County , Florida. Pursuant to Chapter 4, Animal Control, Section 4 – 10 – Dogs and Cats Running at Large – a dog owner has a duty to keep dogs from “running at large” when in or upon any public street, sidewalk, or other public property of another. A dog owner must keep his or her dog pursuant to Section 4 – 4 – Definitions under Direct Control which means restraint or control by a fence, leash, cord, or chain sufficiently to restrain the dog.

You can read more about the Sumter County, Florida dog leash provisions and other sections pertaining to Dogs at the Code of Ordinances for Sumter County.

If a child is bitten by a dog (on or off a leash), the dog owner, under Florida Law, is responsible for the damages caused by the dog bite including but not limited to medical bills (past and future), pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. If you have a question about a Florida dog bite and the related personal injuries to a child, it is important to have the advice, counsel, and legal representation of a Florida Child Injury Lawyer.

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In Lake City, Florida, residents and visitors are subject to the Code of Ordinances for Lake City, Florida.

Pursuant to Chapter 14, Animals, Article II Animal Control, Section 14-47 -Dogs, Cats, Potbellied Pigs Constrained by Leash in Public Areas, it is unlawful for the owner or person having custody of any dog, cat, pottbellied in a public park or public property unless the animal is on a leash.

You can read more about the Lake City, Florida dog leash provisions and other sections pertaining to Dogs at the Code of Ordinances for Lake City, Florida.

If a child is bitten by a dog (on or off a leash), the dog owner, under Florida Law, is responsible for the damages caused by the dog bite including but not limited to medical bills (past and future), pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. If you have a question about a Florida dog bite and the related personal injuries to a child, it is important to have the advice, counsel, and legal representation of a Florida Child Injury Lawyer.