“Dangerous dog” is specifically defined under Section 14-36 of the Brevard County, Florida, Code of Ordinances. Pursuant to sec. 14-36 a dog will be deemed dangerous if the dog has:
– Without provocation, aggressively bitten, attacked, endangered or inflicted severe personal injury on a human being (on public or private property); or severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off its owner’s property; or chased or approached a person upon public grounds in an aggressive, menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack.
– Been used primarily, or in part, for the purpose of fighting, or is trained for dog fighting.
Exceptions – A dog will not be deemed dangerous in the following circumstances:
1. If the threat, injury or damage was sustained by a person who, at the time, was unlawfully on its owner’s property, or, if lawfully on the property, was teasing, tormenting, abusing or otherwise assaulting the dog, its owner or a family member.
2. The dog was protecting or defending a human being from an unjustified attack or assault.
An owner is responsible for obtaining a receipt of declaration 14 days after the dog is deemed dangerous. The owner must also obtain a certificate of rabies vaccination and animal license tag for the dog. A dangerous dog must be kept in a secure enclosure on its owner’s premises and the premises must have warning signs at all entry points so as to inform both children and adults of the dog’s presence. The dog must also have a form of permanent identification, such as a tattoo or an electronic implantation.
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.