A dangerous dog is defined under the term “dangerous animal” located in Section 14-1 of Taylor County’s Code of Ordinances. Pursuant to section 14-1 a dangerous dog is any dog that has:
1. Aggressively bitten, attacked, endangered or otherwise inflicted severe personal injury on a human being;
2. Severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off its owner property;
3. Been used primarily or in part for dog fighting or is trained for dog fighting; or
4. When unprovoked, bitten an animal or a human or has chased or approached a person in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack.
Other pertinent definitions found under Section 14-1 are “unprovoked attack,” which means an attack or bite where the victim has been conducting himself peacefully and lawfully and has been bitten or attacked; “severe injury,” any physical or mental injury that results in broken bones, multiple punctures or disfiguring lacerations that requires sutures or cosmetic surgery.
Exceptions: See Section 14-172.
1. A dog will not be classified as dangerous if the dog inflicted personal injuries upon another animal which at the time was teasing, tormenting abusing or assaulting the dog.
2. A dog shall not be classified as dangerous if the threat of injury was sustained by a person who, at the time, was committing or attempting to commit a tort or crime upon the immediate family or owner of the animal.
3. If the person who sustain the threat of injury was committing a willful trespass upon the premises occupied by the owner of the dog; or who was teasing, tormenting, assaulting or abusing the dog or its owner.
After a dog is classified as dangerous, the dog must be either permanently confined to its owner’s premises, temporarily impounded or humanely destroyed. If the dog remains with its owner it shall be confined in a proper enclosure (See Section 14-1 for definition of “proper enclosure”). Whenever the dangerous dog is outside of the enclosure, it shall be restrained by an adult capable of controlling the animal and shall be on a chain of sufficient strength which shall not exceed more than 3 feet in length. The owner of a dangerous dog must also display signs on his or her premises on which the dangerous dog is kept.
Florida law does not require the classification of a dog as a “dangerous dog” in order to pursue claim or a case for dog bite injuries. In fact, there is no requirement that Animal Control take any action for a person to pursue a case for medical bills, medical treatment, pain and suffering, and related damges for a dog bite injury.
Whether a dog is classified as a dangerous dog or not, it is vital that dog owners maintain control of their dogs for the protection of others. This would include consistent use of leashes and a secure backyard and / or front yard with appropriate fencing. In Florida, a dog bite victim typically need only prove that a dog bite took place. There is no requirement that the dog bite victim prove the dangerous history or propensities of the dog. Even if this was the dog’s first bite every, the dog bite victim can pursue a cause of action against the dog owner for the related damages and injuries.
You can read more about the Florida Dog Bite Law at Florida Dog Bite Statute – There is Teeth to this Florida Law – Rights of Injured Children and Adults. The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Dog Bite Injuries, Medical Bills and Treatment, Damages / Compensation, and other topics. You can receive a free child injury book at The ABCs of Child Injury. See also Florida Animal and Dog Bite Injuries at the Wood, Atter & Wolf Website.