Charlotte County, Florida, provides definitions for the following types of animals in its Code of Ordinances: threatening, dangerous and vicious animal. Pursuant to section 1-4-30 of the Charlotte County, Florida, Code of Ordinances, a dangerous animal is defined as an animal that has down any of the following:
1. Attack a person;
2. Killed or severely injured a domestic animal or was kept for the purpose of animal baiting or fighting;
3. Been a repeat offender under the “threatening animal” prohibitions.
A dog will be a threatening animal if the canine does any of the following:
1. Attacked and injured in any manner a domestic animal;
2. When unprovoked, has chased or approached a person, on or off its owner’s or keeper’s property, upon public grounds (sidewalks, streets, etc.) in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack;
3. Was found at large (off its owner’s or keeper’s property) 3 times within an 18-month period or received 3 citations within such period;
4. Was impounded by animal control 3 times, regardless of a time-period;
5. Was found to constitute a threat to public health of safety.
– NOTE: An dog that commits multiple “threatening animal” offenses will be deemed a “dangerous animal.”
Responsibilities of the owner of a dangerous dog: Upon determination of their dog as dangerous, the owner of a dangerous dog must:
1. Register the dog with animal control as a dangerous animal;
2. The dog will be listed on the animal control website as a dangerous animal;
3. The dog shall wear a “dangerous animal” tag on its collar at all times;
4. Owner shall obtain permanent identification for his or her dog, either microchip or tattoo.
5. Immediately notify animal control if the dog gets loose or has bitten a person or attacked an animal, has been sold or given away, died or moved;
6. Provide to any new owner of the dog that the dog as been classified as a “dangerous animal;”
7. Placing “dangerous animal on property” signs at all entry points to his or her property, along with a photograph or drawing, making it clear to children that an dangerous animal is on the property;
8. Securely confine the dog indoors or in a locked pen, and animal control has the right to inspect said enclosure at any reasonable time.
9. To take the animal off its owner’s or keeper’s property, the dog must be under the direct control of a competent person of at least 16 years of age. The dog must wear a muzzle and a substantial leash or chain not to exceed 3 feet in length.
10. Take a color front and side photo of the dog for identification and such photo shell be kept on file by animal control.
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.