Municipal and County Ordinances


No analysis of a dangerous dog case can even begin without reading the County or Municipal Ordinance, and comparing it to the applicable State Law.  Below are the ordinances that apply to the cases reported on the site.

County Ordinances - Florida

Alachua County Ordinance - Has a two severe injury or kill rule for domestic animals to classify a dangerous dog. Severe injury defined as broken bones, multiple bites or disfiguring lacerations requiring sutures or reconstructive surgery.  Bite defined as a penetration to the skin with teeth and blood appearing in the wound. Provocation appears to only be a defense when dog menaces, and does not contain "without provocation" in the general dangerous dog definition. Has a second classification of aggressive dog for first time severe injury or kill of companion animal while off owner's property. First tier informal hearing for both dangerous and aggressive dog classification to the county manager with certiorari appeal to county court. Dogs as public nuisance based on among other things displaying menacing or threatening behavior (to another dog?).

Broward County Ordinance - Significant in that it defines dangerous dog more strictly than Florida State Statute.  Defines dangerous dog as one having killed a domestic animal once, whereas the State law definition requires two. Draconian in that euthanasia is the penalty for killing an animal once with no prior history or aggravating factors.

Marion County Ordinance  -  Just changed in February 2010. Significant in that it allows a de novo hearing on appeal.  Defines dangerous dog as having killed a domestic animal once, but the penalty is not death.

Municipal Ordinances - Florida

Gainesville  - Makes it a nuisance for a dog to "attack" another dog with no definition of attack and no defense of provocation which makes it questionable whether it is constitutional.

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 any Dangerous Dog Ordinance that did not allow for an "innocent dog" defense in an animal on animal injury or fatality via provocation would likewise violate due process.

Dangerous Dog Law

Helping to defend our best friends. Dangerous Dog Law (DDL) focuses on the legal defense of allegedly dangerous dogs. DDL is a member of the Pit Bulletin Legal News Network.

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