A circuit court judge from the 12th Judicial Circuit handed down a ruling that will save a dog that was slated to be euthanized. The story of the condemned dog made international headlines after it attacked a small boy in a veterinarian's office and as a result was condemned to be euthanized.
As word for the story got out, overwhelming support for the dog poured in from around the globe. Florida law did not give the animal control authorities any leeway in how to deal with the dog once it was shown that it did indeed attack and bite a small boy that caused him to go to the hospital. As a result, the dog’s owner had to go to the courts to save the dog’s life.
What Happened in This Case
This case began when last year a dog attacked a small boy. Accounts of exactly what happened vary, but it is clear the dog caused injuries to the boy. According to at least one account the boy chased the dog around the doctor’s office, and once the dog was cornered, he lashed out and injured the boy. From that point on the local animal control authorities had to take the dog away.
Once the dog was in the custody of animal control services, he was condemned to die. But the owner appealed to a Circuit Court judge to stay the execution. His argument was that the dog law was unconstitutional because it did not differentiate between an aggressive attack and one that is prompted out of self defense. Luckily for the dog and his owner, the judge in this case agreed and spared the dog’s life.
In its ruling the court declared that Florida’s law which demanded the dog be put down was illogical and inconsistent. The court emphasized that a dog’s owner must be allowed to assert defenses such as that a dog was provoked into an attack or that it acted in defense of a family member. Now, that portion of Florida's dog bite law is overturned in the 12th Judicial District, but it remains intact in the rest of the state.
Florida Law on Dog Bites
The particular Florida law in question for this case is Florida Statute 767.13(2). That provision requires that a dog who causes serious injury to a human being be immediately confiscated by the local animal control authority and destroyed within ten days. The ten day period allows a dog’s owner to appeal the decision to destroy the dog at a hearing, but that hearing is not given any latitude if the dog did indeed severely harm a human.
The local county attorney for the district in which this decision was handed down decided that they will not appeal the decision. In fact, the Florida legislature will decide whether to pass legislation in the upcoming session to change the language of this law to include defense for dogs that act because they were provoked or in defense of their family.
Panama City Area Dog Bite Attorney
While this is a victory for this dog’s owner, it must be stated that pet owners have a responsibility to ensure their animals do not harm others. When dogs bite they can change a life forever and even kill. At The Pittman Firm we fight on behalf of dog bite victims in the Panama City area and help them get the just and fair compensation they deserve. If you have been injured by a dog, contact us. We look forward to going over your case with you and providing you with the legal counsel your case deserves.