Pursuant to section 4-2 of Broward County, Florida, Code of Ordinances, a “dangerous dog” is defined as any dog that has:
1. When unprovoked, approached any person in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack upon any public grounds (i.e., streets, sidewalks, parks, etc.);
2. Killed or caused the death of a domestic animal in one incident, while off its owner’s or keeper’s property and while unprovoked. Or, severely injured a domestic animal while off the owner’s property in two or more separate incidents;
3. Aggressively bitten, attacked, endangered, killed or otherwise inflicted severe personal injury on a human being whether on public or private property; or
4. Been used primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting or is a dog trained for dog fighting.
Responsibilities of an Owner of a Dangerous Dog:
1. Upon being classified as dangerous, the owner of the dog must register the dangerous dog with the Division and obtain a dangerous dog license tag within 14 days of the classification of dangerousness.
2. At the owner’s own expense, have the dangerous dog implanted with an approved electronic animal identification device (microchip).
3. The dangerous dog license tag shall be renewed annually.
4. The owner must display warning signs on his or her premises that a dangerous dog is on the property. The sign shall be visible and capable of being read from the public highway or street.
5. Have a proper enclosure for the dangerous dog on the property where the dog will be kept or maintained.
6. Ensure that the dog is securely confined indoors, or confined in an enclosure. If, at any time, the dog is not so confined, the dangerous dog must be muzzled and kept on a leash with the owner or custodian.
7. While the dog is being transported, the dog must be prevented from escaping through an open window or the like.
8. If the dangerous dog some how becomes loose or unconfined, the owner must notify the proper division immediately. If the dangerous dog has been sold or given away, the owner or keeper shall provide the Division the name, address and telephone number of the new owner of the dangerous dog.
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.