Hernando County, Florida, incorporates Florida Statues sections 767.12(1)(a)-(b) for investigation, classification and appeal purposes of dangerous dogs under Section 6-6 of the Hernando County, Florida, Code of Ordinances. Once a dog has been classified as dangerous, it is the owner’s responsibility to obtain a license certificate and tag for the dog. The license will be good for one-year and must be renewed annually. The dog must wear the dog license at all times. Dangerous dog licenses are only distributed to owners who are at least 18 years of age and provide evidence of the following:
1. A current rabies vaccination for the dog;
2. A secure enclosure on the owner’s property;
3. Warning signs located at all entry points on the premises notifying both children and adults of the dogs presence on the property.
4. Permanent identification of the dog, such as a tattoo.
5. Payment of the dangerous dog licensing fee.
6. Four color photographs of the dog in different poses showing the color, size and markings of the animal.
7. Sterilization of the dog.
The owner must notify animal services in any of the following circumstances:
1. The dog has become loose or is improperly confined;
2. The dog has bitten a human being or attacked another animal; or
3. The dog is moved to another address.
It is a violation of this section if the dangerous dog is unrestrained or outside of its proper enclosure. However, a violation will not occur if
1. The dog is muzzled; and
2. Restrained by a substantial chain or leach and under the direct control of a responsible person 18-years-old or older, or securely confined within a locked animal carrier.
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.