Dog Bites

We all love our dogs. They provide us companionship, loyalty, and protection. Dogs truly are man’s best friend. Although there are many different breeds and each breed has its own peculiar habits and disposition, dog owners must be vigilant in their management and supervision of their animals. Veterinarians, dog trainers, and the Humane Society of Broward County all recommend that owners use common sense methods of securing their animals to prevent dog bites.

Unfortunately, South Florida is home to many illegal dog fighting operations. Even though Pit Bulls (which are outlawed in Miami-Dade County) and Rottweilers are the breeds most commonly associated with deadly attacks, it is generally due to the fact that these dogs have owners who are recklessly training them for dog fighting. But it is not just Pit Bulls and Rottweilers that attack people. Even though a dog parent has followed the proper guidelines, the calmest animal with absolutely no history of aggressive behavior is still capable of inflicting life-threatening harm. Facial and abdominal lacerations requiring reconstructive surgery are the most common types of injuries that occur from dog bites.

Florida Statute Section 767.01 Dog Owner’s liability for damages to persons, domestic animals, or livestock legally mandates that “owners of dogs shall be liable for any damage done by their dogs to a person or to any animal included in the definitions of “domestic animal” and “livestock” as provided by s. 585.01″. This means that an owner does not have even “one free bite” before he or she is strictly liable for injuries and damages caused by his or her dog.

The Ellsley Law Firm recommends that each and every pet owner thoroughly read his or her homeowner’s or renter’s liability insurance policy and confirm with the insurance company that he or she is fully insured for each dog breed that is living at the home or on the property. Many times, people erroneously believe that they have liability insurance coverage for their dog, when in truth they never obtained that coverage.