Dog and Other Animal Attacks - FAQs
- Are there any breeds banned in Florida? Florida does not ban any specific breed of dog at the State level. Rather, State law puts restrictions on a “dangerous dog” which is defined as a dog that has aggressively bitten, attacked, or endangered or has inflicted severe injury on a human being on public or private property; or (b) has more than once severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off the owner’s property; or (c) has, when unprovoked, chased or approached a person upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public grounds in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack, provided that such actions are attested to in a sworn statement by one or more persons and dutifully investigated by the appropriate authority.... Read more
- What should I do if a neighbor has an aggressive dog? I am scared about my children playing in my own backyard!
- A friend's dog bit my son. I feel sad about suing him. Is there any alternative?
- A dog attacked my dog while in a dog park. Do I have a legal claim?
First and foremost, you should be proactive in keeping yourself and your children safe and free from danger. Specific breeds of dogs can cause grievous injury and worse, in a few short seconds. Second, you should not take matters into your own hands. Dogs are property of the owners and should be treated as such. While you could try approaching your neighbor to advise them of your concern and that you fear for your family’s safety, your local animal control authority is better equipped to handle these circumstances. To the extent you need to, you should retain all important documents, video, pictures, and statements that demonstrate the aggressiveness of the dog.
There are alternatives to filing a lawsuit. For example, if your son was bit while at your friend’s house, you could retain an dog bite attorney to make contact with your friend’s homeowner insurance carrier. The insurance carrier may cover your son’s medical bills and other damages that resulted from the dog bite.
Florida law provides that owners of dogs shall be liable for any damage done by their dogs to a “domestic animal.” The definition of “domestic animal” includes a dog. So the owner of a dog that is attacked by another dog at a dog park would have a claim against the owner of the aggressive dog under Florida law.