Pursuant to section 1-5-3 of the Hendry County, Florida, Code of Ordinances, a “dangerous dog” is defined as any dog that has:
1. Without provocation, bitten, attacked, endangered or otherwise inflicted personal injury on a human being while on public or private property;
2. Without provocation, severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off the owner’s property;
3. Been used primarily, or in part, for the purpose of fighting, or is a dog trained for dog fighting;
4. Without provocation, chased or approached a person upon the streets, sidewalks or other public grounds in an aggressive, menacing fashion or apparent attitude or attack.
Section 1-5-3 incorporates Florida Statute sec. 767.12 into its classification for dangerous dogs. The ordinance also expressly states the list of acts given under section 1-5-3 are not exhaustive and other acts committed by a dog could subject the animal to classification as a dangerous dog.
Exceptions: A dog will not be declared dangerous if
1. The threat, injury or damages was sustained by a person who, at the time, was unlawfully on the property.
2. Or, by person who was lawfully on the property and was teasing, tormenting, abusing other assaulting the dog or its owner or a family member.
3. The dog was protecting or defending a human being within its immediate vicinity 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.