Pursuant to Section 4-17 of the Franklin County, Florida, Code of Laws and Ordinances, a “dangerous dog” is defined as any that has:
1. Aggressively bitten, attacked or endangered, or inflicted severe injury on a human being on public or private property; or
2. More than once, severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off the owner’s property; or
3. Been used primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting, or is a dog trained for fighting; or
4. When unprovoked, bitten a domestic animal or a human, regardless of whether on public or private property, or when unprovoked has chased or approached a person up the streets, sidewalks of any public grounds in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack.
Exceptions. (See sec. 4-18). A dog will not be classified as dangerous …
1. Because of injuries it has inflicted upon another domestic animal which at the time was teasing, tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog.
2. If the threat or injury was sustained by a person who at the time, was committing or attempting to commit a tort or a crime upon the owner of the dog; or was willfully trespassing upon the premises occupied by the owner; or was teasing, tormenting, assaulting or abusing the dog or its owner.
Control of a “Dangerous Dog” in Franklin County, Florida. All dogs that are classified as dangerous and are not humanely destroyed MUST be confined in a proper enclosure.
– It is unlawful for any owner of a dangerous dog to keep the dog on any premises which does not have a proper enclosure that confines the dog.
– The proper enclosure shall include suitable shelter and protection and must provide adequate exercise room, light, ventilation and sanitation.
– The dog may not be let out of its proper enclosure, unless doing so is necessary to receive veterinary care or exercise. If let out, the dog must wear a fitted muzzle and shall also be restrained by an adult capable of controlling the dog and on a shall of sufficient strength no more than three (3) feet in length.
– The owner must also place warning signs on the premises where the dog is maintained warning that the dangerous dog is kept on said premises. A sign must also be posted on the enclosure where the dog is maintained.
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.