Pursuant to section 4-2 of the Palm Beach County, Florida, Code of Ordinances, a “dangerous dog” is defined as any dog that
1. Has aggressively bitten, attacked, endangered or 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;
3. Has been used primarily on or in part for the purpose of dog fighting or is a dog trained for dog fighting;
4. Has, when unprovoked, chased or approached a person upon the streets, sidewalks or any public grounds in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack.
Exceptions: A dog shall not be declared dangerous
1. If the threat, injury or damage was sustained by a person who, at the time, was unlawfully on the property.
2. If the threat, injury or damage was sustained by a person who, at the time, while lawfully on the property, was tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the dog or its owner or a person in the immediate household of the owner.
3. If the dog was protecting or defending a human being within the vicinity of the dog from an unjustified attack or assault.
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.