Hillsborough County, Florida, incorporates Florida Statue sec. 767.11 into its Code of Ordinances to provide the definition of a “dangerous dog.” If you would like to read the plain language of the applicable Florida Statute see the state’s official website under Chapter 767 – Damage by Dogs.
Dangerous dogs are addressed under section 6-43 of the Hillsborough County, Florida, Code of Ordinances. The provisions of chapter 767, Florida Statutes, pertaining to the adoption, all procedures, regulations, requirement and restrictions are applicable. After a dog has been classified as dangerous the owner must obtain a certificate within 14 days from the date of receipt of the notice of intent to declare the dog dangerous. A certificate will only be issued to those owners who are lest 18-years-old, pay the appropriate fee and present sufficient evidence of the requirements provided for in section 767.12, Florida Statutes. In addition, the dog’s owner must also:
1. Sterilize the dog within 30 days of being declared dangerous; and
2. Register for, and attend to completion, dog obedience training from an instructor approved by the department; and
3. Provide the department proof of a current health cerfiticate for the dog issued by a veterinarian; and
4. Have the dog micro-chipped and registered to the owner at his or her current address; and
5. Post approved signage obtained from the department at intervals determined by the department at all entrances of the property; and
6. When outside its mandatory proper enclosure, the dog must be muzzled, restrained by a substantial chord or leash, and under control of a competent person. In addition, a passive head restraint collar or harness is required; and
8. Receive training provided by the department on responsible pet ownership of dangerous dogs.
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.