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Florida's Dangerous Dog Statute

There are few things in daily life as unexpected, upsetting, and painful as an attack from a dog. Dogs are, for the most part, widely regarded as one of the most beloved pet choices in America. And while many people view them as loyal defenders of a family, few would ascribe to them the qualities of being indiscriminate, aggressive, and even a danger to people and children.

However, in the same that some people can be dangerous, some dogs can be as well. To this end, Florida has created laws to deal with dangerous dogs, and the centerpiece of these laws is known as the "dangerous dog statute." But what is it, and what does it mean for dog owners?

Taking Extra Care

The dangerous dog statute is a legal condition in Florida. If a dog falls under this classification, the owner is legally obligated to take specific actions. Dogs considered dangerous must have special precautions taken both in restricting their access on home property, as well as the way they are handled when they are out in public.
Someone that owns a dog falling under the dangerous dog statute must:

Be Registered

This means that local authorities have it on record that a dog in the area is classed as a dangerous dog, and details such as the owner's name are kept on file.

Kept In Secure Location

Dogs falling under this classification must, if they are allowed outside on a property, not gain access to public areas. The property must also have appropriate notification of the presence of a dangerous dog, especially for state or city employees, such as postal workers, that must visit a property as a matter of the job.

Be Restrained In Public

When the dog is taken out in public, both a leash is required, and, more importantly, a harness for the mouth. This way, even if the dog somehow gets away from an owner's grip on the leash, the harness on the mouth can prevent biting.

Failure to comply with these regulations, especially if it results in a dog attack with injuries, can entail criminal charges for an owner instead of the usual civil infringements.

Classifying Dogs

A dog is categorized under the dangerous dog statute if it meets one or more of these three criteria:

• Has chased or approached someone with aggression without any provocation
• Has seriously injured or killed other animals more than once
• Has attempted to, or succeeded in, attacking a person, whether especially if injuries result.

Of course, if you or someone you know has been attacked and injured by a dog, whether it is classified as dangerous or not, you have legal options. Florida is considered a "strict liability state" when it comes to dogs. This means that even if an owner is not aware that a dog may be a danger to others, that does not excuse them when an attack happens.

So if you've been injured, get the legal recourse you deserve. Talk to an experienced dog bite injury lawyer about your options and see what your next steps should be.