Dangerous dogs are addressed in the Miami-Dade County, Florida, Code of Ordinances, under sections 5-22 and 5-23. In Miami-Dade County, Florida, a party is liable to another if his or her dog commits any of the following acts:
1. When unprovoked, the dog endangered, attacked or bit a human;
2. When unprovoked and while off the responsible party’s property, the dog severely injured or killed a domestic animal;
3. The dog has been used for dog fighting, or has been trained for dog fighting; or
4. When unprovoked, the dog has chased or approached a human in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack upon streets, sidewalks, or any other public grounds or common area of a private building or development.
Exceptions. The responsible party is not liable, and the dog shall not be determined as dangerous, if the threat, injury, or damage was sustained:
1. By a human who, at the time was unlawfully on the property of the responsible party;
2. By a human who, while lawfully on the property of the responsible party, was tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the dog, the responsible party, or another person lawfully on the property; or
3. While the dog was protecting or defending a human from a unjustified attack or assault; or
4. By a human who was engaged in or attempting to engage in a criminal activity at the time of the attack; or
5. While the dog was engaged in a legal hunt or in a legal sport or exhibition; or
6. While the dog was engaged in law enforcement work under the direction of a law enforcement officer.
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.