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Personal Injury · Wrongful Death · Medical Malpractice

Recent Spotlight On Dog Bite Laws In Florida

A recent story has garnered national interest in Florida’s dog bite laws. A Labrador named Padi bit a four-year-old boy in the ear, severing a large portion of his ear. The dog’s owner admitted that Padi is uncomfortable when children are near. The dog’s owner says that Padi, a rescue who has suffered from a past of abuse, was afraid of the boy. The boy’s representatives state that he was playing fetch with the dog only after being given permission to do so by the dog’s owner.

Florida Dog Bite Law

Florida statute 767.13 governs attacks and bites by dogs. The first step is to determine whether the dog is a “dangerous” dog. A dangerous dog under 767.11 is a dog that has attacked, bitten, endangered, or caused severe injury to a human being, has severely injured or killed any other animal more than once while not on the owner’s property, or has approached or chased a person in a public place, despite being unprovoked, with an attitude of attack. Severe injury is defined as multiple bites or a physical injury that causes broken bones or disfiguring lacerations that require stitches or reconstructive surgery.

Under the statute, owners can be guilty of a third-degree felony if a dog that has been declared dangerous under the statute bites or attacks someone (including domestic animals) without provocation, and the injury is severe or results in death of a human. An owner can be guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor if the dog was never declared dangerous in the past, but the owner knew that the dog had a propensity for attacking humans or domestic animals, and showed a reckless disregard for the dog’s condition. When this type of behavior occurs, the dog will be taken away by animal control and held for ten business days after the owner receives a written notice. The dog will then be put to sleep in a humane manner. The owner may request a hearing during the ten-day period. The exception to this statute is that for a situation in which a dog attacks someone attempting to commit or committing a crime, the owner will not be found guilty of any crime.

A bill is pending in the legislature to remove the requirement that all dogs be euthanized under the statute. The bill would allow a dog to be removed from death row if the owner can show that the dog acted to protect its family members or itself.

Have You Been Bitten By An Aggressive Dog? Contact Us Today For A Consultation

Dog bites are often serious and require medical attention. If you have been injured by the dog of another person, you may be entitled to compensation from the animal’s owner. You may also be entitled to other remedies under the law. Every situation is unique, so it is important to contact an experienced Miami personal injury lawyer. At Pita, Weber, Del Prado, we are available to answer any questions you may have and to help you take the steps necessary to make you whole. Contact us online or call (305) 670-2889 for a free consultation.

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