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Keeping Your Dog Safe From An Animal Lawyer’s Perspective

The most important thing that you can do to keep your dog safe and avoid being successfully sued for damage that your dog may cause is to remember Best Friend is a DOG, not a furry human. I have represented hundreds of good dogs that got into serious trouble because the humans they trusted forget this fundamental fact.

It is common now to want to take our dogs everywhere with us. Local bars have Yappy Hours and many restaurants welcome our best friends. Many of the good dogs that I have represented in Animal Court and in Dangerous Dog or Euthanasia hearings have reacted in social situations that overwhelmed them. Public places can be hazardous to dogs. Small children may approach your friend suddenly, touch him roughly, or even fall on top of him. Their faces are near his head and a sudden direct approach may startle him into reacting with his mouth, since he has no hands with which to defend himself or his human. He may be used to his own children and well socialized but all it takes is one strange or pushy child or loud drunk and your best friend will be the one who suffers.

Dog owners are liable for any damage done by their dogs, unless the dog is provoked. Florida law requires that dogs (and cats) be restricted to their own property unless they are in a dog park or leashed and under direct control. Expandable leashes have been responsible for more vicious citations than I can count.

Remember that provocation is a defense in vicious or dangerous dog cases and what is provocation to a dog is not always the same thing as what would constitute provocation to a human.

Submitted by Mina Morgan, esq 813.239.3866


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