Pursuant to section 14-27 of the Collier County, Florida, Code of Ordinances, a “dangerous or vicious dog” is defined as any dog that has:
1. Aggressively bitten, attacked, endangered or otherwise inflicted severe personal injury onto a human being on public or private property;
2. Severely injured or killed a domestic animal while of 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;
4. When unprovoked, chased or approached a person upon the streets, sidewalks or other public grounds in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack.
Section 14-35 of the Collier County Code of Ordinances sets out the various obligations and responsibilities of owners of dogs that have been classified as “dangerous or vicious.” After a dog has been classified as dangerous or vicious its owner must, not later than 14 days after the final effective date of classification, file a complete written standard form application with animal services in order to be issued a certificate of registration for the dog. The application fee for each certificate is $300.00 to be renewed annually at the same rate.
The owner also has a duty to notify animal services when a his or her dog that has been classified as dangerous
1. Becomes loose or unconfined;
2. Has bitten a human being or attack another animal; and/or
3. Is sold, given away or dies.
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.