Unfortunately, there are dogs in South Florida that are flat-out dangerous. They are so aggressive, unpredictable and powerful that they pose a danger to humans, especially children. Their breeding might be a factor, but poor training, trauma or a mental disorder are also potential reasons a particular dog might be vicious.

The county dangerous dog ordinance

Miami-Dade County’s dangerous dog ordinance tells us how a dog can be designated as dangerous and the procedures that might lead to the animal’s euthanization. It starts when a dog does one of the following without provocation:

  • Bites, attacks or endangers a person
  • While off its owner’s property, kills or severely injures another domesticated animal (at least two such incidents)
  • While on public property or the common area of a private building (such as a hallway), chases a person or approaches them “in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack

Several exceptions apply, such as when the victim was trespassing on the owner’s property.

Someone who wants a dog designated dangerous must file a police report about the inciting incident or sign a sworn affidavit. Animal control then has the authority to confiscate a dog while the police investigate the claim. If the police find sufficient cause to label the dog dangerous, the owner will receive written notice. Unless they successfully appeal, they will have to vaccinate and sterilize their dog, get a microchip implanted, keep it confined most of the time and display a sign that reads “Dangerous Dog.”

Besides all of the above, if a dog severely injures or kills someone, animal control must confiscate the dog and hold it for ten business days after sending its owner written notification that it will be euthanized. The owner has the right to appeal within the ten days, but if they don’t appeal in time or lose the appeal, the animal will be destroyed.

Compensation for your injuries

While the ordinance punishes a dog after it attacks someone, it also states that its owner is liable for damages. Victims can sue for compensation for things like hospital bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.