Pursuant to Section 12-72 of the Washington County, Florida, Code of Ordinances, a “dangerous dog” is defined as any dog that, according to the records of the appropriate authority:
1. Has aggressively bitten, attacked, endangered, or inflicted severe injury on a human being on public or private property;
2. Aggressively bitten, severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off the owner’s property;
3. Has been used primarily or in part for the purpose of fighting or is a dog trained for fighting; or
4. When unprovoked, chased or approached a person on the streets, sidewalk or any public or private grounds in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack.
Section 12-72 also provides the following definitions for clarification:
1. “Unprovoked.” The victim, who has been conducting himself/herself peacefully and lawfully has been bitten or chased in a menacing fashion or attacked by a dog.
2. “Proper Enclosure.” While on the owner’s property, a dangerous dog is securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or structure suitable to prevent the entry of young children designed to prevent the animal from escaping.
Washington County incorporates Florida Statutes sec. 767.12-.14 into its Code of Ordinances. To see the language of those Florida statutes see the state’s website under Chapter 767.
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.