Manatee County, Florida, incorporates Florida Statute Section 767.11 into its Code of Ordinances under Section 2-4-2 to define a “dangerous dog.” Under the state statute, a “dangerous dog” is defined as any dog that has:
1. Aggressively bitten, attacked, endangered or otherwise inflicted severe personal injury on a human being on public or private property;
2. On more than one occasion, severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off its owner’s property;
3. Been used primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting or is a dog trained for dog fighting; or
4. When unprovoked, chased or approached a person upon public grounds (streets, sidewalks, parks, etc.) in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack.
Section 2-4-10 of the Manatee County, Florida Code of Ordinances concerns Vicious animals and dangerous dogs. Under this section Chapter 767, Florida Statutes, pertaining to dangerous dogs are adopted in their entirety. The owner of a dog classified as dangerous must obtain a certificate of registration for his or her dog. Certificates and their renewals will only be issued to those persons who are at least 18 years of age, pay the appropriate and present sufficient evidence satisfying the requirements of Section 767.12, Florida Statutes. In addition to the statutory requirements, an owner must also:
1. Sterilize the dog within 30 days after the dog is declared dangerous;
2. Provide proof of a current health certificate for the dog, issued by a veterinarian;
3. Have the dog micro-chipped and registered to its owner at his or her current address;
4. Provide a secure enclosure to properly confine the dog; and
5. Provide access to the property and the dog for no less than 2 inspections annually.
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.