Monday, January 23, 2012

Lake Mary: II

Florida statutes require that the animal 

be involved  in more than one attack
 before we can deem the dog dangerous.
Morgan Woodward, Seminole County Animal Services

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Mr Woodward's explanation was offered after the attack described in the previous post. The attack by three pit bulls resulted in the death of a Bedlington Terrier named Chewy, in her own front yard. This attack followed eight complaints to Animal Control against the pit bulls in the previous half year.

It appears that the Florida lawmakers did not anticipate situations like this when they passed Dangerous Dog Laws (DDL) allowing dogs "one free kill," as the phrase prosaically puts it.

This means that the injured parties must seek recourse through the courts, if any is to be found. The steps that the injured party could pursue, based on similar successful cases across the country, might include:

  • Discover the provenance of the three pit bulls. Were they adopted from a shelter or rescue? If so, that shelter might bear liability for the attack for adopting out a dangerous dog.
  • Did Seminole County make contact with the owner of the pit bulls, Kathy Hammond, following any of the eight complaints? What was the resolution of that contact? Were any citations issued?
  • Did the Hammonds adopt the pit bulls from Seminole County Animal Services? And if this is the case, could this be the reason that SCAS has not issued citations after eight complaints?
  • How did the owner of the pit bulls come to have three pit bulls? Is she an irresponsible hoarder? Are the Hammonds backyard breeders? Were the dogs registered and in compliance with immunization requirements? Were the dogs neutered? None of these questions were answered in the initial news coverage.
  • Get a good attorney. Do your research and be sure that the attorney has NOT previously worked on behalf of pit bull owners.
  • In the case of Chewy, the owners could reasonably claim that the county failed to protect them, and therefore also bears liability.

Florida state laws limit the ability of Animal Services to protect our more vulnerable animal companions and the public from pit bulls. But eight complaints? Surely after eight complaints Seminole County Animal Services should have recognized that these dogs posed a danger to the community?

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Previous post: Lake Mary

Sources: OrlandoWKMG 6

Related Posts: Dangerous Dog Laws

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks