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State and Local Laws that Cover Dog Bites

In the state of Florida, a dog owner has only two defenses when it comes to a dog bite claim. These two defenses include trespassing as well as comparative negligence. Florida’s dog bite law also requires an injured person to be lawfully in place when the bite occurs in order to recover damages.

Does Florida Have a One Bite Rule?

Some states follow a strict one bite rule meaning that the owner of a domesticated animal, like a dog, will be held strictly liable for any injuries that the animal causes if the owner previously knew about the animals dangerous or vicious tendencies because they had been manifested in the past. Florida, however, is not one of those states that abide by this particular rule.

Is There a State Mandated Leash Law in Florida?

Currently, there are no formal mandated leash laws in effect for the state of Florida. This decision is typically left up to the county or city government. Dog restraints and leash laws and regulations are useful for helping keep dogs under control and preventing dog bite accidents from occurring.

Charlotte and Sarasota Counties

In Charlotte County, Florida it is unlawful for those with dogs in their possession to allow them to stray and run in any manner on any public street, sidewalk, or other area considered public property. If a dog is found off the leash and out wandering out of control, then officers are permitted to impound the dog.

Sarasota County also prohibits dogs from running loose in public, and the owner should always have direct control over their dog at all times. This means having a leash, cord, fence, or chain immediately available to restrain and control the dog.

2018 Florida Statutes

Furthermore, according to the 2018 Florida Statutes regarding damage by dogs and dangerous dogs, the dog’s owner is liable for damage done to a bitten person. However, negligence on the part of the injured party will also be considered which may, in turn, limit the liability of the dog’s owner.

Preventing Dog Bites

As with any personal injury cases, there are strict levels of negligence and liability that are considered. It is up to us to do what we can to avoid putting ourselves in any situations that may result in injury. If a dog bites us because of our own negligence, then the liability will not solely fall to the owner of the dog.

To help prevent dog bites from happening in the first place, there are a few things we can responsibly do:

• Never approach an unfamiliar dog
• Never run away from a dog in a panic
• Don’t make loud noises or disturb a dog while it is eating, sleeping, or caring for their young
• Don’t pet a new dog without first allowing them to sniff you
• Don’t encourage dogs to play violently or aggressively

It is important to know and be able to identify risks. If you do not know the dog, then always ask permission from the owner before touching or petting the dog. If there is a dog around children, they should be supervised at all times.

Dog owners should definitely be responsible when it comes to caring for and controlling their dogs, but we should also exercise caution when it comes to avoiding dog bites and injuries as well.