A dog who received national attention last year is once again in trouble with Florida officials. Last year, the dog of a veterinarian was condemned to be destroyed after it was reported that he bit a young boy while in the vet’s office. According to those who came to the dog’s defense, there were mitigating circumstances that should have been considered before the dog was condemned.
Included in those mitigating circumstances was the allegation that the boy provoked the dog into defending itself and acting out. Once the story about what happened, the mitigating circumstances, and the dog’s fate became news, the dog received international attention. Many people felt it was not fair to condemn a dog to die when provoked into acting out, or when cornered as it was reported to have been.
In response to the outburst of support for the dog, the owner appealed the decision to a Florida court. The dog’s master argued in court that the law condemning the dog to die was unconstitutional, and the state did not offer a defense of the law. The court sided with the owner, and spared the dog’s life. But now there is new attention being paid to the dog.
In reports recently published by several sources, the same dog at issue is being accused of biting and injuring a service dog at the same veterinarian. According to reports, the service dog owner was at the veterinarian's office when the labrador went and bit her dog. Now the police are investigating the new allegations. If proved correct, not only could the dog face condemnation again, but the owner might face criminal charges.
Under Florida law, it is a misdemeanor for a dog’s owner to injure a service animal. Of course there are defenses that the dog’s owner could advance, but the risk is there all the same. The question must be asked about whether this was a dangerous dog in the first instance, and if the story about the dog being cornered and provoked was true.
Florida Civil Dog Bite Laws
Beyond any criminal laws that are intended to prevent dog bites, there are civil laws in place to protect the public as well. We have seen time again where irresponsible dog owners allow their dogs to escape, or fail to control them, and a dog does irreparable damage to small children, teenagers, and even adults. The damage is not limited to physical harm, but often results in significant psychological injuries as well.
Under Florida law, dog owners will be held responsible for the harm their dogs cause to others. Florida Statutes 767.04 explains in great detail how and when a dog owner will be held liable for biting another person. There are some exceptions to when a dog owner will be held liable, but by and large, dog owners are responsible for the damage their dog causes.
Panama City Area Dog Bite Attorney
If you living the Panama City area and have been bitten by a dog, contact us. Our practice at The Pittman Firm is dedicated to helping victims recover for their injuries. This included holding dog owners liable for the harm caused.See related blog posts: Fatal Dog Attack Brings Charges; Proposed Changes to Florida Dog Bite Laws.