Animal attacks, specifically dog attacks, occur far too often in Miami and South Florida. Dog bites can result in serious, permanent injuries and sometimes even death. Miami-Dade County is notorious for harboring dog attacks. Miami-Dade’s Animal Services even maintains a repository of dangerous dogsthroughout Miami-Dade County. This site identifies the specific location where dangerous dogs have been reported.
What are dangerous dogs?
Under Florida law, a “dangerous dog” is defined as a dog that has aggressively bitten, attacked, endangered or has inflicted severe injury on a human being. A dangerous dog can also be one that has severely injured or killed a domestic animal off the owner’s property, or has chased people on streets in a menacing manner when unprovoked.
If a dog is declared dangerous, an owner must register that dog within 14 daysof the dog being declared dangerous and must register the dog annually. An owner of a dangerous dog has additional obligations, such as notifying animal control authorities when a dog is loose or unconfined or has bitten another human or animal. Further, the owner must place the dog in a proper enclosure or muzzle and restrain the dog using a substantial chain or leash under the owner’s control.
Are the dogs the problem or the owners?
In an online Op-Ed piece from NBC Miami, veterinarian Dr. Ian Kupkee posits that Miami does not have a dangerous dog problem. Rather, Dr. Kupkee believes that Miami has an irresponsible owner problem. The article discusses a report from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association that many dog bites are attributable to controlling factors, such as owner abuse or negligence, failing to spay or neuter a dog and prior mismanagement of the dog.
Regardless of whether the issue is a dangerous dog problem or an irresponsible owner problem, the fact remains that there are far too many people suffering serious injuries from dog bites and other animal attacks.
Florida’s Law on Dog Bites
Florida law provides that the owner of any dog that bites a person is liable for damages regardless of whether the dog is considered dangerous or even whether the owner is aware of a dog’s viciousness. If the victim’s negligence, however, approximately contributes to the bite then the liability of the owner may be reduced. This means that any damages the owner might have to pay would be reduced by the percentage that the victim contributed to the bite.
Contact a Miami Animal Attack and Dog Bite Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been a victim of animal attack or dog bite, you should consult with an animal attack and dog bite attorney who can help advise you on your legal rights. The Perez-Gurri Law Firm has extensive experience handling these types of claims with insurance companies.
If you are injured in an animal attack, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries, including medical bills and expenses, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and lost wages. The Perez-Gurri Law Firm wants to help you protect your rights. Contact us today for a free case consultation or visit our office in Coral Gables, Florida.