Victims of Florida Dog Bite Attacks Protected By State/County and City Laws
Given America’s love affair with pets, no one enjoys hearing that someone has recently been bitten by a dog. Yet every year, approximately 4.7 million people in this country – half of them children — are bitten. In fact, during an average year, over 500 Florida residents require hospitalization due to serious dog bites.
Children between the ages of one and nine are the people most likely to be bitten, especially boys. Unfortunately, their strong curiosity and occasional fearlessness – coupled with a strong desire to pet animals – leaves them especially vulnerable to bites. Dogs often misread sudden hand movements near their eyes and heads as precursors to danger and may try to protect themselves by biting.
Florida laws seek to protect everyone from this type of harm than and clearly provides penalties for dog owners whose pets harm others.
Florida Statutes: Dog Owner Liability
Under our state laws, regardless of a dog’s known propensity for viciousness, a dog owner can be held liable under various circumstances. For example, not only can a dog owner be held liable if his or her dog bites someone off his property – the same holds true if the dog bites someone on the owner’s private property.
While such liability is critical to everyone’s well-being, Florida statutes recognize that the alleged negligence of the person who was bitten may need to be weighed if it was a proximate (immediate) cause of the attack. Additional situations regarding the age of the person attacked are also addressed. Counties and cities in South Florida also have ordinances for vicious dogs. Almost every city in Miami-Dade County, Broward County and Palm Beach County, as well as the counties, have dog bit laws.
Given the seriousness of many dog bites, it’s important to review safety tips for minimizing injuries.
Safety Guidelines for Properly Interacting with Dogs
- Never adopt a dog until after you’ve researched the best breeds for your living situation. Just as some pets do better with small children than others, there are some dogs who can cope better than others if you have unusually long work days. Always consider adopting two dogs if you must be away for a long periods of time each day. Happy dogs are far less likely to behave negatively towards others;
- Keep your dog properly exercised. Excess energy can often lead to uncharacteristically dangerous behavior. Even if your dog has a large yard, you still need to take the time to take him or her out for long walks;
- Keep your dog properly locked up in your yard or home and always use a leash outdoors. Too many selfish dog owners refuse to live by this simple rule (and frequent city ordinance) – creating unnecessary hazards for others. It’s rude and actually endangers other people when you’re too lazy to use a leash. Furthermore, you’re often not only breaking the law but you’re actually increasing the chances that your pet will bite someone who will sue you;
- Get regular shots and medical checkups for your dog. A healthy dog is far less likely than a sick one to hurt humans or other animals;
- Always obtain some form of professional training for your dog. You can always find fairly inexpensive group obedience classes at one of your larger, local pet stores. This can not only help calm your dog down when later around other animals, it can also teach your dog commands that could save his life. Training can also help desensitize your dog to events that might otherwise trigger unexpected violence;
- Always carefully watch your children when they’re playing outside. Even if your kids are playing in your front yard without a loose dog in sight, one can always quickly turn up and cause trouble – especially if provoked by the common chaos of children at play;
- Warn your children about petting any dog or wild creature. Your children will be much safer if you tell them that apart from the family dog, they should never try to pet another animal because it could behave unpredictably and bite them;
If you’ve recently suffered a dog bit injury or dog attack, contact the Law Offices of Joseph M. Maus. With offices in Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, and the Florida Keys, their attorneys can help you obtain the best result for your accident or injury claim. You’ll need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney on your side if you decide to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation for your injuries. Call Toll Free today at: (855) 999-LAWS.