- Created on 19 May 2010
- Last Updated on 31 January 2014
- Written by Fred M. Kray
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Dangerous Dog law-Florida Statute 767
Florida's Dangerous Dog Law is found in Chapter 767. The Statute can be read in its entirety by clicking on the link below.
Definition of Dangerous Dog
F.S. § 767.11(1)
Florida State Law has a dangerous dog statute which defines the term dangerous dog, and sets out procedures that must be followed in order to declare a dog dangerous. Counties and municipalities can pass laws regarding these issues, but there is currently a question of whether they can redefine the term dangerous dog more restrictively than the state statute.
Florida Statute § 767.11(1) defines a dangerous dog as one that:
a) Has aggressively bitten, attacked, or endangered or has inflicted severe injury to a human being on public or private property;
b) Has more than once severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off the owner's property;
c) Has been used primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting or is a dog trained for dog fighting;
d) 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.
Even under state law, a dog can be embroiled in a complaint, by merely scaring someone.
The current issue with the definitions, as related to the Marion County Ordinance, is whether Marion County can define a dangerous dog as one that has killed a domestic animal once. It will be a difficult issue as there are several opinions in the U.S. that have covered similar issues and found no conflict.
Another important issue is whether the state definition can disallow provocation in an animal on animal injury or fatality.
There is currently a case in Broward County, Florida, Hoesch v. Broward County, that raises this issue.
Applicable case law
City of Miami v. Wellman, 976 So2d 22 (3rd DCA 2008) - Found automobile impoundment ordinances violated due process as they did not allow for an innocent owner defense. It would be my argument that the state statute violates due process in that it does not allow for an "innocent dog" defense via provocation with regard to an animal on animal injury or fatality.