Defending the "Vicious Dog" in a Tampa Dog Bite Case in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL

At the Sammis Law Firm, we represent dog owners after a "dog bite" allegation or after it is alleged that they own a "vicious dog" in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida and the surrounding counties throughout the Greater Tampa Bay area. If you have been charged with a violation of the Hillsborough County, Florida animal ordinance, then call 813-250-0500 to speak directly with an attorney about defending the "dog bite" case if the claims against your dog are false or exaggerated.

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  • Past successes do not guarantee future results.
  • The facts and circumstances of your case may differ from the cases discussed in our recent case results.
  • Not all results are provided.
  • The results discussed are not necessarily representative of the results obtained in all cases because each case is different and must be evaluated and handled on its own merit.


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If you and your dog have been falsely accused in a "vicious dog" or "dog bite" incident, contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss your case before you pay the citation.

Collateral Consequences of a Vicious Dog Citation

If the judge finds that your dog is vicious then numerous consequences attach. First, your home owner's insurance may be effected. You pay be required to post signs around your property warning others about the dog. When you go to the vets office, you must notify the vet's office in advance that you have a vicious dog. If any other bite occurs then you can be sued in civil court for money damages and potential prosecuted in criminal court for felony charges.

The bottom line is that if your dog is found to be a vicious dog, then the only rational decision is to destroy the dog. The potential criminal and civil liability is too great to keep the dog even if you really believe that the dog is not vicious. If destroying the dog is not an option, then you should take the citation seriously and hire an experienced attorney to fight the allegation.

Hillsborough County Animal Services - Rabies Program Home Quarantine

Under Florida law, owners of animals involved in bite or exposures are required to quarantine their animals for rabies for a minimum of ten days. The Hillsborough County Health Department or Animal Control may authorize home quarantine for certain animals for 10 days or even longer. Contact the Hillsborough County Animal Services, 440 Falkenburg Road, Tampa, FL 33619 at 813-744-5660 for more information or visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org/animalservices for more information.

Help Avoid Being Sued Over an Alleged Dog Bite or Vicious Dog Incident


Many personal injury law firms represent people who have allegedly been bitten by a dog on a contingency basis to collect civil damages and attorney fees under the dog owner's home owner insurance policy. Your home owners insurance may or may not be liable for any claim.

These civil lawsuits often create a financial incentive for someone to make a false or exaggerated claim of damages in a "dog bite" case. The other side may have an experienced personal injury attorney for the dog bite case, make sure that you are also represented by an experienced defense attorney if you wish to contest the citation.

Find out more about fighting a false allegation in a "dog bite" case for Hillsborough County by calling us at 813-250-0500.

Read a recent news article about Hillsborough County's Dog Court - "Dog Court" and Nick Nazaretian - Tampa, Hillsborough County.

Better yet, watch the entertaining YouTube video from truTV about a recent cases in which a individuals defends themselves against an allegation about her dog being vicious and "on the loose" (the attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm were NOT involved in this case. We display the videos here only for informational purposes):







Watch the video on an alleged "Cat at Large":



Sec. 4-34. - Vicious animals and dangerous dogs.

(a) Vicious animals. No person shall allow a companion animal, when unprovoked, to bite, attack, endanger, or inflict injury on a human, domestic animal, or livestock while on public or private property; or chase or approach an individual upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public grounds in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack. Violations of this section may constitute proof of "prior knowledge of a dog's dangerous propensities" under section 767.13(2), Florida Statutes (2002), as may be amended.

(b) Dangerous dogs. The provisions of chapter 767, Florida Statutes (2002), as may be amended, pertaining to dangerous dogs are adopted in their entirety as a part of this article. All procedures, regulations, requirements, and restrictions pertaining to dangerous dogs are applicable under this article, and a violation of the statute shall constitute a violation of this article. Each day the owner of a dangerous dog fails to comply with the requirements of this section or requirements of section 767.12, Florida Statutes (2002), as may be amended, shall constitute a separate and distinct offense.
(1) Dangerous dogs.
a. If the owner wishes to appeal the initial decision of the department to a hearing master, he or she must file a written request with the department director for a hearing within seven (7) days from the date of receipt of the notice of intent to declare the dog dangerous. If requested, a hearing shall be held as soon as possible but not more than twenty-one (21) calendar days and no sooner than five (5) days after the department's receipt of the request.

b. After a dog has been classified as dangerous or a dangerous dog classification is upheld on appeal, the owner of the dog must obtain a certificate of registration from the department within fourteen (14) days, and the certificate must be renewed annually. The department will only issue certificates of registration and their renewals to individuals who are at least eighteen (18) years of age, pay the appropriate fee, and present sufficient evidence of the requirements provided for in section 767.12, Florida Statutes (2002), as may be amended. In addition to those requirements, the dog's owner must:

1. Sterilize the dog within thirty (30) days of being declared dangerous; and

2. Register for, and attend to completion, dog obedience training from an instructor approved by the department; and

3. Provide the department proof of a current health certificate for the dog issued by a veterinarian; and

4. Have the dog micro-chipped and registered to the owner at his or her current address; and

5. Post approved signage obtained from the department at intervals determined by the department and at all entrances to the property; and

6. When outside its proper enclosure, dangerous dogs must be muzzled, restrained by a substantial chain or leash, and under control of a competent person. In addition, the use of a physical control device such as a passive head restraint collar or harness recommended by the department is required; and

7. Provide access to property and the dog for no less than two (2) inspections annually by the department to verify compliance with the provisions of this article and chapter 767, Florida Statutes (2002) as may be amended; and

8. Receive training provided by the department on responsible pet ownership of dangerous dogs.

c. The department may provide notification to appropriate neighbors and the public advising them of the presence of a declared dangerous dog. Photographs of the dog may be used in providing the public with internet access to dangerous dog information.

d. The Department may confiscate any dog classified as dangerous for euthanasia as a result of the owner's failure to comply with any or all requirements of chapter 767, Florida Statutes (2002), as may be amended, or any requirement of this section. Should the department confiscate any dog under this section, notice of sufficient cause to confiscate the animal shall be provided in writing to the owner in accordance with section 767.12, Florida Statutes (2002), as may be amended. The animal shall be held for ten (10) business days after the owner is provided this written notice and thereafter destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner. This ten-day time period shall allow the owner to request a hearing under section 4-40.11 of this article.

e. Any dog that is exempted from the provisions of chapter 767, Florida Statutes (2002), as may be amended, shall be exempt from the provision of this section of the article.

f. Any person who owns, harbors, or otherwise provides custody for a dangerous dog shall be responsible for any damage or injury caused by that dog, including, but not limited to, veterinary or medical bills or property damage.

(2) Dangerous dog/severe injury; second attack.

a. If a dog previously declared dangerous attacks or bites a human being or a domestic animal without provocation, in accordance with section 767.13, Florida Statutes (2002), as may be amended, the owner is guilty of a criminal offense.

b. The owner shall be responsible for payment of all boarding costs and other fees as may be required to humanely and safely keep the dog during the pendency of any hearing or appeal procedure, as well as any and all investigative fees accrued by the department.

c. If the owner files a timely written appeal, the department may not destroy the dog while the appeal is pending, except to prevent unnecessary suffering as determined by two (2) veterinarians.

(Ord. No. 00-26, § 9, 6-28-00; Ord. No. 03-8, § 2, 6-4-03)

Tampa Habitual Traffic Offender Lawyer Helps Woman Lift Habitual Traffic Offender Suspension So She Can Reinstate Her Driver's License

Florida Habitual Traffic Offender Laws

How do you become a habitual traffic offender in Florida? A Tampa woman received a criminal citation for Driving While License Suspended or Revoked with Knowledge (DWLSR) in 2006. The Tampa woman went to court and entered a plea to resolve the suspended license. The court accepted the Tampa woman's plea and "withheld adjudication" for the DWLSR offense.

Later in 2006, the woman received another citation for Driving While License Suspended or Revoked in Hillsborough County , this time without knowledge, which is a civil infraction that does not require a court date. The Tampa woman paid the DWLS without knowledge ticket.

In 2007, the Tampa woman goes to court for another charge of Driving while license suspended with knowledge and again receives a withhold of adjudication.

Although adjudication was withheld for two of these offenses, the Department of Motor Vehicles still counts the offenses as "convictions" for purposes of the habitual traffic offender statute, Section 322.27(5).

In late 2007 the Tampa woman receives a letter from the State of Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles which notifies her that her driving privilege is about to be revoked for five years as a habitual traffic offender because of the three "convictions" mentioned above. Continue below...

Disclaimer: The Florida Bar does not review or approve case results for any lawyer's websites. If you would like to see the results we have obtained in the past and statements regarding the quality our work, you must read the disclaimer and request the additional information by clicking on the "I agree" button:

  • Past successes do not guarantee future results.
  • The facts and circumstances of your case may differ from the cases discussed in our recent case results.
  • Not all results are provided.
  • The results discussed are not necessarily representative of the results obtained in all cases because each case is different and must be evaluated and handled on its own merit.


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Many people suffer under the five year habitual traffic offender revocation in Florida not knowing that they can attempt to vacate (or clear) a prior underlying offense that caused the suspension. You must act quickly because the motion must be filed within certain time periods, and different post-conviction remedies are available either 30 days after the conviction, 60 days after the conviction, or 2 years after the conviction. If you have lost your Florida driver's license because of a habitual traffic offender revocation under Florida Statutes Section 322.27(5), contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to file and litigate a motion to vacate or set aside one of the convictions that caused your five year Florida Habitual Traffic Offender revocation.

Clink here for more information about hiring a TAMPA HABITUAL TRAFFIC OFFENDER ATTORNEY. Or call our office at 813-250-0500 to discuss your case today with an attorney that has a proven track record of success in fighting habitual traffic offender revocations.

Visit our office in Tampa, Florida
Sammis Law Firm
1005 N. Marion St.
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 250-0500