Summer in Florida is a time when kids are out of school and when people take vacations and spend time outdoors. Unfortunately, the more time everyone is spending outside at parks and in neighborhoods, the greater the chances of a dog bite incident occurring.
While dogs can be man’s best friend, our Fort Myers dog bite attorneys know that they can also cause serious harm if they bite or attack. It is essential that everyone do what they can to stay safe this summer and avoid a bite incident.
Florida Dog Bite Laws
Under Florida law, dog owners are strictly liable if their dog bites someone. This means that a person who has a dog can be held responsible for paying for all costs and losses caused by a dog bite regardless of whether the dog has ever bitten anyone before. As long as the bite occurred when the victim was lawfully on private property or occurred in a public location and as long as the dog wasn’t provoked, the dog’s owner is to blame.
Dog owners can also be held liable based on their negligence if they knowingly have a dangerous dog.
With Florida’s strict liability rules for dog owners, everyone who has a dog should take care to prevent their dog from biting others. Dog owners should:
- Seek behavioral training for any signs of aggression.
- Refrain from leaving their dog chained up and alone for many hours, which can foster aggression.
- Socialize and train their dogs in proper behavior from the time the animals are puppies.
- Keep their dogs on leashes and/or in secured homes or yards at all times.
Ultimately, each dog owner must take responsibility for preventing injury to others. It is the dog owner who will need to pay for the costs of injuries and it is the dog owner who is in the best position to stop a bite or attack before it starts.
Don’t Become a Dog Bite Victim While the dog owner is primarily responsible for his or her dog’s behavior, this doesn’t mean that everyone else shouldn’t take steps to protect themselves from dog bites as well. It is also especially important for parents to teach their children how to be safe around dogs.
Some tips to ensure you do not become the victim of a dog attack include:
- Never approaching strange dogs that you do not know. If you or your child wishes to pet a dog, ask the owner first.
- Staying away from dogs that are eating and avoiding taking a toy from a dog. Some dogs become aggressive or guard their food or possessions and you don’t want to take a chance of getting bit by a dog that has guarding tendencies.
- Teaching your children how to interact safely with dogs, including letting the dog sniff their hands before petting and treating dogs with kindness.
- Supervising children when they are around dogs.
- Refraining from yelling, shouting or using high pitched and nervous voices around strange or aggressive dogs, as this can increase excitement and up the chances of someone getting hurt.
By following these basic safety tips, you can hopefully stay safe around all dogs that you encounter and avoid a dangerous bite or attack incident this summer season.
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