Florida Dog Bites: Laws and Advice for Prevention

Florida Law
In Florida, dog owners are responsible for any harm done by their dog towards an individual who is legally on the dog owner’s property. It is not necessary for the claimant to prove negligence on behalf of the dog owner, rather, dog owners are subject to strict liability.

Florida statute 767.04 states, “The owner of any dog that bites any person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness.”

However, the law in Florida also makes allowances for dog owners who post “bad dog” or similar warning signs about their pet. Warning signs posted by dog owners serve as a defense against claims by anyone bitten their dog unless the dog bite victim is under the age of 6.


How to Avoid a Dog Bite

  • Pay attention to the dogs body language. Put a safe distance between yourself and the dog and watch for signals that the dog is uncomfortable and may feel the need to bite. These signals include a tensed body, stiff tail, pinned back head/ears, rolled eyes and a flicking tongue.
  • Never turn your back and run away from a dog who appears they might bite. A dogs natural instinct in this scenario will be to run and chase you.
  • If you think a dog may attack, remain motionless with your hands at your sides while avoiding eye contact with the dog. Once the dog loses interest in you, slowly back away until you are out of sight.
  • If a dog does attack, “feed” them your jacket, bike, purse or any object you can put between yourself and the attacking dog.
  • If you fall or are knocked to the ground during a dog attack, curl into a ball with your hands over your ears and remain motionless. Do not scream or roll around.


“Dangerous” Breeds

People will certainly disagree about what breeds of dogs may be classified as dangerous. Many of the breeds on this list produce loving and safe dogs. Unfortunately, some people are negligent in the way they keep their dog. Negligent owners will allow their dog to roam free, opening the owners up to liability. It is especially important to avoid instigating contact with a dog capable of inflicting a fatal injury. For this reason, the size of the dog plays a large part in determining if certain breeds may be classified as dangerous. Regardless of whether or not the dog intends to cause harm, a larger dog can more easily cause a serious injury. These 10 breeds (listed alphabetically) tend to cause an increase in insurance rates for dog owners:

  • Akita
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Chow Chow
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • German Shepard
  • Pit Bull
  • Presa Canario
  • Rottweiler
  • Siberian Husky
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier


Bitten at Work?

It is common for postal delivery men, such as those working for UPS, Fedex, the United States Postal Service (USPS) and others to encounter several dogs during a day’s work. Those bitten by a dog while on the job are entitled to a workers compensation claim in addition to a claim towards the owner of the dog.

If you or someone you know has suffered a dog bite, call attorney Frank Eidson, P.A. now at 407-245-2887 (toll free: 888-245-2855) to receive the compensation you deserve. Also, you may email Frank personally at frank@frankeidson.com or visit his office at 327 N. Orange Ave, Orlando, FL, 32801.

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