Animals and children can make an amazing and adorable pair, a fact demonstrated
by countless YouTube videos. Many animals show a particular knack for
dealing with young children, making them smile and even tolerating a toddler's
innate curiosity. However, while a pet may seem to almost mother a child,
vigilant supervision by an adult is critical in order to keep both safe.
Attorney Pittman, a Northwest Florida child dog bite lawyer partners with
the parents of children injured (or, even killed) by pets, including cases
of dog bites child, and understands the special contours of the law involving
animals and our youngest Floridians.
Dog Fractures Child's Arm in Second Attack on Human
Dog bite stories are often difficult to read and one that appeared in the
News Herald last Friday was even harder to process than most. In July,
a male pit bull attacked its owner's boyfriend. Animal Control records,
presumably based on the couple's statements, suggest the dog reacted
when the man reached back like he was preparing to strike the woman. It
attacked, severing the man's picky finger which it appears to have
ingested. The dog was seized but, despite warnings from Animal Control,
the owner requested the dog back saying she wanted to find it a new home.
Since the attack was deemed provoked, the request was granted.
Last week, the dog struck again. Although the owner said precautions were
in place, the dog attacked a houseguest's two year-old child, snapping
the tot's arm and then biting the parent's ear. The owner blamed
one moment of slack supervision and said she'd never have imagined
the dog would be capable of the apparently unprovoked attack. Animal Control
euthanized the animal the following day. The child has since returned
home from the hospital and appears to be okay, including being unafraid
of smaller dogs living at the residence.
Florida's Dog Bite Law and the Special Rules Regarding Young Children
As we have noted before, Florida has a dedicated dog bite statute that
makes an owner strictly liable for injuries caused when the dog bites
a person. This law applies regardless of whether the dog has previously
shown aggressive tendencies. It is in addition to the usual rights under
the law of negligence, which continue to exist.
Notably, comparative negligence is typically not an issue in strict liability
cases. However, the dog bite statute does allow for a reduction in liability
to account for the victim's own negligence when that negligence is
deemed the proximate cause of the injury. Still, this latter provision
is unlikely to apply in the case of a child because Florida case law has
determined that a child under age 6 is conclusively deemed incapable of
This means a dog owner is likely to be held liable for all of the child's
injuries even if the child's behavior would be deemed negligent and
the proximate cause of the injury had the same behavior involved an adult.
The rule would also apply if a dog bite case is brought under typical
negligence rules rather than via the dog bite statute.
This result appears intentional given another clause in the dog bite statute.
The statute creates an exception to the strict liability rule where the
owner has posted a sign warning sign using the words "Bad Dog."
However, the statute clearly states this exception does not apply to anyone
under six years of age.
A Law Firm for Dog Bite Victims
The dog bite statute is a protection afforded to the people of Florida
and both courts and the legislature have found this protection is even
greater in the case of young children. We strongly recommend that children
always be supervised in the presence of animals, even seemingly docile
animals and especially where an animal has a dangerous history.
If your child has been bitten by a dog in the state of Florida, our Panama
City dog bit lawyer can help you recover money on his/her behalf. Medical
treatment is always a top priority but contacting our team in a timely
manner will help ensure
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