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Owners Challenge Dangerous Dog Designation and Euthanasia Order for Their Pet

Lopez v. Miami Dade County Code Enforcement, FlWSUPP 3009LOPE (Fla. 11th Cir. App. 2022)

Isiana Lopez and Donovan Evans, the appellants, are appealing an order upholding a finding that their dog Jade qualifies as a dangerous dog under Section 5-22 of the Miami-Dade County Code. This would entitle Miami-Dade County to seize and euthanize the dog. In 2019, Jade was first cited as a dangerous dog when she bit another animal and its owner. To resolve the incident, the owners entered a settlement that stipulated that if Jade committed any of the acts set forth in section 5-22(d) of the Code of Miami Dade County, then in any legal proceeding, Jade shall, as a matter of law, be treated as if Jade were already designated dangerous under section 5-22 of the Code of Miami-Dade County. This stipulation was triggered when Jade attacked a human on April 11, 2021, causing severe injuries. The county filed an ex parte petition, alleging that Jade’s attack caused severe injuries and determining that Jade should be declared dangerous and euthanized. A county court judge granted the petition, and Jade was taken into custody pending the outcome of any hearings or appeals.

The appellate court agreed with the trial court and Jade was euthanized.

This case is a reminder that Florida has strict statutes and Codes regarding dogs and dog bite victims.  Most people do not believe their beloved pet would ever lash out and attack someone or another animal, but we all have to remember that while dogs may be mans best friend, they are still animals.

Of important note, most homeowners’ policies do not provide liability coverage if your dog injures someone. Thus, you may want to review your policy to make sure that you are adequately protected in case the unlikely happens and your animal causes injuries.

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