Florida has strict liability dog bite laws. What this means is that a Florida dog bite victim can sue the dog owner for damages, even if the dog never had a history of aggression and has never bitten anyone before. A few states have laws that are sometimes called “free first bite” rules, which is a casual way to say that the owner of a dog that has never bitten anyone cannot be sued for a bite that may happen. Thus, the first bite is “free” — the owner is not responsible for the damages, having no way to know of any tendency of their dog to bite. The truth is, though, that any dog can lash out, regardless of breed, age, size, or demeanor.
Responsible Dog Behavior
Most people who have canine partners in their lives understand the basics of the responsibility involved, from providing food and shelter to ensuring restraint, including a leash while out on walks and sturdy fencing while in the yard, so that the dog cannot be a danger to the public or get lost. In addition to these basic needs dogs require emotional involvement in the lives of their human partners, as well as stimulation, exercise, and fun.
Equally important, dog owners need to understand that the financial responsibility of having a dog extends to covering damages to anyone who is bit. A Florida dog bite can be costly to the dog owner who had no reason to suspect that the lovable family dog would bite someone. With insurance to cover the risk, though, it is one less worry in life.
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