Sarasota County, Florida, incorporates Florida Statue sec. 767.11 into its Code of Ordinances to provide the definition of a “dangerous dog.” If you would like to read the plain language of the applicable Florida Statute see the state’s official website under Chapter 767 – Damage by Dogs.
Vicious Animals are addressed under section 14-40 of the Sarasota County, Florida, Code of Ordinances. The following criteria subject an animal to a vicious animal investigation:
1. If the animal has a propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack. to cause injury to, or to otherwise endanger the health and safety of human beings or other domestic animals;
2. The animal has aggressively bitten, clawed or otherwise attached a human being or other domestic animal without adequate provocation;
3. The animal, without adequate provocation, exhibits aggressive behavior or creates a reasonable apprehension of immediate injury;
4. The animal, because of temperament, conditioning or training, has known propensity to bite or otherwise exhibit aggressive behavior causing injury to human beings or domestic animals or creates a reasonable apprehension of immediate injury;
5. The animal is defined and certified as a dangerous dog under Chapter 767, Florida Statutes.
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.