Trouble at the Dog Park? Biting Dogs Get Legal Time Out

In the state of Florida, dog owners are wholly and fully responsible for the behavior of their dogs, with very few exceptions. This responsibility includes instances when a person is on the property of the dog owner, especially if that person is in the capacity of a public service, such as a postal worker, paramedic or police officer.

What if, however, the dog bites someone in a public place, such as the dog park? Dog parks have become a popular destination for dog owners who are eager to take advantage of the chance to let a pet run free and play with other dogs. However, not all dogs know how to play nicely with other dogs, and sometimes become aggressive with other dog owners.

If a dog acts aggressively as a habit, a dog owner is required to post a warning sign that clearly indicates the dog may bite, and contains the words, “bad dog” on the sign. In a public space, no sign exists. If a dog bites a person — regardless of its past behavior — the owner of the dog is responsible.

The dog park is unfortunately a fairly uncontrolled environment. In order to reduce the incidence of Dog Park biting, dog owners should keep these things in mind:

  • Many types of dogs may be unleashed at once, making it difficult to determine which dog belongs to which owner;
  • A dog may act aggressively and without provocation when not in close proximity of its owner, making it difficult or impossible for the owner to warn the potential bite victim away from the dog;
  • A dog may bite the hand of a person who reaches for a ball or toy, without intending to harm the victim;

If a dog bites a person in a public place, the owner of the dog is liable for damages. The bite victim has a right to seek compensation for medical bills, including stitches, rabies shots, cosmetic surgery or any other treatment required for recovery from the bite.

In the dog park scenario, some dog owners attempt to justify their dog’s aggressive behavior claiming that another dog provoked their dog. That may be the case, but the law does not hold any dog responsible for its own behavior.

When a dog bites, the dog owner is legally responsible for your injury. A dog bite lawyer at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath can help you organize your personal injury case so you get the maximum compensation allowed by law. Call our West Palm Beach office at 561-665-1990 or contact us online today.