Though it can get a bit hot out, most Central Floridians still enjoy getting out of the office and off of the couch, spending some quality time outside with their canine companions. Whether it’s going for a long walk or simply playing fetch in the backyard, there are plenty of ways to have fun with your pup. One major advantage of living in Central Florida is our plentiful trails and parks, which also, many times, include specifically allocated dog parks.
Though many dogs are able to make new friends, sniff new trees and have a great experience burning off some excess energy, sometimes things can take a turn, leading to injuries to a dog or the dog owner. Because you may never know how your dog will react to new people and dogs, it is best to know a few dog bite laws and common rules before your next trip to the various dog parks of Central Florida.
Dog Park Rules and Dog Bite Laws
- Most (if not all) dog parks specifically specify whether they are leash-optional or leash-mandatory parks. Never let your dog off of its leash if it is known to be aggressive towards or fearful of new people or dogs.
- Always review the park’s waiver of rights. This will help inform you on what the park will or will not take legal responsibility for. This may include the park’s hours, its leash policy and position on injuries sustained while on the premises.
- Bringing a dog to dog park knowing that it has aggressive tendencies, has bitten people or animals in the past or has been known to be overly rambunctious may be considered a negligent action in the eyes of the law. If your dog causes an injury while at the park, you, as the owner, would be responsible, since you acted negligently by bringing the potentially dangerous dog to the park in the first place.
- Before visiting dog parks, dogs should be up-to-date on shots and be wearing a dog tag.
- As a “strict liability” state, Florida holds the owner of a dog responsible for a dog bite, even if the owner claims to have had no knowledge that their dog was aggressive.
There are plenty of other factors that go into dog bite cases, but the basic rules and factors at play when dealing with dog bites and dog parks are relatively easily understood. Even if you do not think Fido could hurt a fly, keep him on a tight leash to avoid the chance of an unfortunate and unexpected dog bite incident. Unleash your dogs at your own risk and always keep an eye out for others’ dogs that may cause you or yours harm.
If you, a friend or a loved one are unfortunately injured as a result of a dog bite or have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Wieland, Hilado & DeLattre, P.A. at (407) 841-7699. For additional resources, keep checking our blog, LIKE us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more helpful hints and to always be informed about best practices in law.