Dog Bite Laws in Florida

by Molly Sawyer
    Florida dog-bite laws include dangerous dog laws.

    Florida dog-bite laws include dangerous dog laws.

    barking brown dog image by Paul Retherford from Fotolia.com

    Dogs that bite pose a danger to people, as well as a liability to their owners. Proper management and control of potential biters are important. Most states have thorough laws on dog bites and dangerous dogs, and Florida is no exception. Local governments in Florida may enact their own regulations, providing they are not more lenient than the state laws.

    Bites to Humans and Other Animals

    Florida's law on "Damages by Dogs" states that a dog owner is liable for any damages that results from his dog biting a person, whether in public or private, including in the owner's home. This liability may be reduced if the bite is because of the negligence of the person bitten. An owner is also liable for other damages caused by his dog to persons, livestock or domestic animals.

    Severe Bites

    Any dog that causes severe injury or death to a person will be confiscated and quarantined for 10 days at the owner's expense. The owner may request a hearing during this time. If they do not or if they lose in the hearing, the dog will be destroyed at the end of the 10 days. The owner also may be found guilty of a crime, ranging from a misdemeanor to a third-degree felony.

    Dangerous Dogs

    A dog that has "aggressively bitten" a person may be classified as a "dangerous dog" and subject to strict regulations regarding confinement, licensing and identification. If a dog previously declared as dangerous bites a person without provocation, the dog will be impounded and quarantined for 10 days and then destroyed, barring a successful hearing.

    Exceptions

    Police dogs and service dogs that bite a person are exempt from the quarantine period if they have a current rabies vaccination. Bites sustained by a person in the process of committing a crime are exempt from dog bite laws.

    Photo Credits

    • barking brown dog image by Paul Retherford from Fotolia.com

    About the Author

    Molly Sawyer has been writing online since 1998, covering topics such as dog care, breeding and genetics, financial and tax information, and holistic medicine. Sawyer holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science from Michigan State University.

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