Seminole County incorporates Section 767.11, Florida Statutes, into its Municipal Code of Ordinances regarding the definition of a dangerous dog. Pursuant to sec. 767.11 a “dangerous dog” is defined as any dog that has:
1. Aggressively bitten, attacked, endangered or has otherwise inflicted severe personal injury on a human being, whether on public or private property;
2. Severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off its owner’s property (more than once);
3. When unprovoked, chased or approached a person upon the street, sidewalks or other public grounds in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude attack. These actions must be attested to in a sworn affidavit.
Also, any other dog that has been declared dangerous in another jurisdiction will also be considered dangerous in Seminole County. See sec. 20.01 for the more information on Seminole County’s definition of a “dangerous dog”.
Once a dog has been declared dangerous, the dog must be securely confined in one of the following ways:
1. Inside its owner’s residence.
2. Inside a pen on the owner’s property. (Note, however, that the pen must meet certain criteria. See sec. 20.28).
When the owner is not present on his or her property, the dog must be kept in the locked pen or inside the owner’s residence. When the dog is let outside of its pen or owner’s residence it must be muzzled, restrained by a chain or leash of substantial strength and under the control of a competent person. The owner is also responsible for posting clearly visible warning signs at all entry points of his or her premises that will inform both children and adults of the dangerous dog on the property.
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.