Bay County defines specifically provides the definition for a “dangerous dog” in its Code of Ordinances under Chapter 4 – Animals, Article II – Animal Control, Division 3 – Dangerous Dogs, Section 4-82 – Definitions. Pursuant to section 4-82, a “dangerous dog” means any dog that, according to records, has:
1. Aggressively bitten, attacked, endangered or otherwise inflicted severe personal injury on a human being whether on public or private property;
2. Killed or severely injured a domestic animal more than once while off its owner’s property;
3. Been used primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting, or is a dog trained for dog fighting; or
4. When unprovoked, chased or approached a person upon public grounds (sidewalks, streets, parks, etc.) in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack.
After a dog has been declared dangerous, the owner of the dog must obtain a certificate of registration for the dog, which shall be renewed annually. Initial certificates and renewals shall be issued only to person who are at least 18-years-old and show to the animal control authority sufficient evidence of:
1. A current certificate of rabies vaccination for the dog;
2. A proper enclosure to confine the dog and posting of warning signs at all entry points on the owner’s premises that informs both children and adults of the dog’s presence on the property; and
3. Permanent identification of the dog, such as a tattoo or electronic implantation.
A proper enclosure of a danger dog means, while on the owner’s property, the dog id securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen, suitable to prevent children from entry or the dog from escaping.
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.