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When Man’s Best Friend Becomes Vicious


Playing fetch, taking walks, cuddling and sharing secrets: these are all things that have earned dogs the moniker of man’s best friend. Tragically, there are all too many cases when dogs become brutal attackers, injuring, and even killing people. If you or a loved one experience such a tragic encounter with a dog, securing sound legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney can be invaluable.

Florida Cases Involving Dog Bites

Recent cases documenting dog bites are harrowing:

  • A 22-month-old Putnam County toddler underwent surgery for injuries to his face and arm after being attacked by a pit-bull mix at the home of a family friend in September 2016.
  • In October 2016, a German Shepherd-Lab mix attacked a child in Panama City, after having bitten family members in two previous instances;
  • After being attacked by her neighbor’s pit-bull, a 58-year-old woman was wound up hospitalized in critical condition in June of 2016.

National Dog Bite Statistics

The surprising fact is that four and a half million people endure dog bites every year in this country. The most common demographic involves boys under the age of 10.

Roughly one-fifth of all dog bites require medical attention, and there are 30-40 fatalities each year.

Florida Dog Bite Statistics

In a study involving 799 dog bites that involved hospitalization, the following data was revealed:

  • Boys experience two and one-half times more bites than girls;
  • Boys aged 6-12 were the most frequent victims of bites;
  • Children were three and one-half times more likely to be bitten by a strange dog than by one they knew.

The reasons for dog bites falls into these categories:

  • Poor behavior management of the dog;
  • Protective/guarding behavior by the dog;
  • Dogs fighting and being separated by people;
  • Unrestrained dogs.

Florida Law Regarding Dog Bites

Whether or not a dog has a history of biting the owner is liable for any incidents that harm an individual. The law applies in any public place, and on the dog-owner’s property, if the victim is lawfully on the property. The exception to the law is when a dog-owner has a posted warning including the words, “Bad Dog.” A notable caveat to the law excludes children six years old and under. If there is negligence on the part of the victim, damages will be reduce proportionally.

Florida Statute 767.01 also makes a dog-owner liable for damage caused by the dog to livestock and domestic animals. This means that a dog who harms neighboring animals will end up costing his owner some money.

What these laws tell us is that dog owners may face civil and/or criminal charges, based on the severity of the problems caused by their dogs. Furthermore, dogs involved in this type of altercation may be designated as dangerous dogs, and must be kept under certain restrictions. It will either have to be kept in a secure, enclosed area, or will be impounded by authorities.

Options for Victims

The legal options for dog bite victims are varied. Awards for medical expenses and pain and suffering are within your reach. Contact Scoma Law Firm in Clermont for a free, confidential consultation today.


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