How Does Alachua County (Gainesville, Alachua, High Springs, Newberry, and Waldo) Florida Define a Dangerous Dog? – Dog Bites and Rights of the Injured Person

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Pursuant to section 72.02 of the Code of Alachua County, Florida, the county distinguishes between an “aggressive dog” and “dangerous dog”.

An aggressive dog is defined as a dog that has been declared aggressive by animal services because the dog has either injured or killed a companion while off its owner’s property. See section 72.02.

A dangerous dog, on the other hand, is a dog that has been declared dangerous by animal services because the dog has:
1. Aggressively bitten attacked, endangered or otherwise inflicted severe personal injury on a human being or caused death of a human being whether on public or private property; or
2. Severely injured or killed a companion animal while off its owner’s property (more than once); or
3. Been primarily used for the purpose of dog fighting or is trained for dog fighting; or
4. When unprovoked, chased or approached a person on public grounds (includes sidewalks, streets, parks, etc.) in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack. See section 72.02.

A “violent dog attack” is an attack by a dog that has either (1) been previously declared as dangerous; or (2) causes severe injury or death to a human being. See section 72.02.

Once an investigation is conducted by animal services and the dog is classified as dangerous, the owner of the dog will be notified. The owner of dog does have a right to appeal the classification and request a hearing so long as the appeal and request are dong timely (specifically, on or before the seventh calendar day after receipt of written notice).

Exceptions:
– A dog may not be classified as dangerous if an attack occurred while a person was unlawfully on the property of the dog’s owner.