Pinellas County, Florida, provides a definition for an “dangerous animal” under its Code of Ordinances. Pursuant to section 14-26, a “dangerous animal” means any animal that:
1. Has aggressively bitten, attacked or endangered or has inflicted severe injury on a human being on public or private property;
2. Has more than once severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off the owner’s property; or has once severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off the owner’s property, so long as the victim animal did not instigate the altercation.
3. Has been used primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting or is a dog trained for dog fighting; or
4. Has, when unprovoked, chased or approached a person in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack.
Dangerous animals are addressed in the Pinellas County, Florida, Code of Ordinances, under section 14-64. The following obligations are created under sec. 14-64:
1. Any animal that is the subject of a dangerous animal investigation, that is not impounded with animal services, shall be maintained by the owner in a proper enclosure.
2. The owner must pose clearly visible warning signs at all entry points that inform both children and adults of the dog’s presence on the property when the animal is kept.
3. The owner may not permit the animal to be outside of its proper enclosure, unless the animal is muzzled and restrained by a substantial chain or leash and under the control of a competent person over the age of 18.
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.