DeSoto County, Florida, does not specifically define a “dangerous dog” under its Code of Ordinances. However, section 4.1 of the DeSoto County, Florida, Code of Ordinances, does provide a definition for “nuisance domestic animal.” A “nuisance domestic animal” is defined as a domestic animal that
1. Is allowed to either run at large or habitually destroy or damage property other than that of its owner;
2. Habitually lives out of garbage cans or scatters litter;
3. Digs holes on property other than that of its owner;
4. Any such animal that barks, screeches, meows or makes other utterances so as to interfere with the use and enjoyment of neighboring residential properties;
5. Exhibits or has exhibited any tendency toward attacking, biting, mauling or otherwise injuring people or other animals.
Pursuant to section 4.2 – Nuisance domestic animal, it is unlawful for any owner to allow his or her animal to become a nuisance. Upon being notified that an animal is becoming a nuisance, the owner has the duty to abate such nuisance immediately.
“Dangerous dogs” are addressed in section 4.8 of the DeSoto County, Florida, Code of Ordinances. Section 4.8 incorporates the notification, hearing and appeal procedures contained in Florida Statute sec. 767(1)(c) and (d), in the classification, confiscation and destruction of dangerous dogs.
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.