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Dog Attacks Aren’t Random Or Unpredictable

Like every other state in America, Florida has a great love for one of the most popular pets globally, the dog. Many Floridians choose a canine companion to live in their home, travel with them in cars, and go out for walks. However, as any parent will instruct a child, dog ownership is not just fun; it is a responsibility.

In legal terms, this responsibility extends to being held accountable for the harm the dog has caused. In other words, if a dog attacks and injures someone, the owner of the dog is legally considered responsible for that attack and may also be financially accountable for injury treatment.

But why do dog attacks happen? People often think of animals as random, easily provoked beasts. Still, when a dog does attack, it’s always for specific triggers and reasons. Here are some of the causes of dog attacks.

The Hunting Instinct

Dogs are predators, and as predators, they respond to opportunities to pursue and neutralize prey. This is one reason why America has strict leash laws for dogs, as fast movement can trigger this instinct and cause a dog to hunt down prey.

This is most common in dogs breaking away to pursue cyclists passing by. Unfortunately, it can just as quickly transfer to joggers running past or even children running and playing.

Territorial Protection

Dogs are territorial animals, and they can be very aggressive if they feel that territory is being invaded or threatened. The home of an owner is typically an extension of a dog’s sense of territory. Some dogs respond very poorly and aggressively to strangers in this territory and take a “bite first, ask questions later” approach to any perceived interlopers.

Unfortunately, this can extend to visitors, such as friends and family, or even people that need to enter a property for work purposes, such as postal workers delivering the mail. This can also extend to people interfering with a dog while eating or playing with toys. If the dog perceives that its belongings are under threat from a stranger, it may attack to protect them.


Dogs love to play, but, as with some people, they can take it too far. Playing with a dog can start innocently, but if the dog gets overstimulated, this can lead to nipping and eventually biting. Unless you know a dog very well—which is usually only the case with the owner—knowing when that line has been crossed between playfulness and overstimulated aggression can be difficult to perceive.

Feeling Threatened

This seems like it should be obvious, but some people—especially young children—can miss the signs of a dog feeling like it is in danger. A dog can misinterpret too much rough play, pulling at tails, tugging ears, and other play activities as a sign it is in trouble and needs to fight an opponent.

Respect Laws & Boundaries

If you are a dog owner in Florida, the state operates under a “one strike” system. Other states may let an owner off with a warning if that owner did not know a dog’s history of aggression and attacking. In Florida, however, ignorance is no excuse, and legal liability is always there, regardless of whether the owner was aware or not.

If you own a dog, always respect the leash laws to avoid legal culpability. If, however, you are injured as the result of a dog attack, you can and should seek legal compensation. Talk to an experienced dog bite lawyer about your situation and determine what you should be doing next to resolve your problem.

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