Pursuant to section 1-4-20 in its Code of Ordinances, St. Lucie County, Florida, will classify a dog as dangerous if it has been determined that the dog has:
1. Aggressively bitten, attacked, endangered or has inflicted severe personal injury on a human being on public or private property;
2. Severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off its owner’s property (more than once);
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 (streets and sidewalks)in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack.
After a dog has been classified as dangerous, its owner has 14 days to obtain a certificate of registration for the dog, which shall be renewed annually. Certificates and renewals of certificates will only be issued to those who are at least 18 years old and present sufficient evidence of the following:
1. A current certificate of rabies vaccination for the dog.
2. A proper enclosure to confine a dangerous dog and warning signs posted on the premises notifying both children and adults of the dogs presence.
3. Permanent identification such as a tattoo or electronic implantation.
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.