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Police Dog Sacked For Biting Doughnut Shop Worker

Dogs might be cute, but the damage they can cause can be grisly. Dog attacks can be unprovoked, and even a seemingly friendly dog can snap into action with devastating consequences– and against the owner’s commands and requests. Dog bites can cause permanent disfigurement and scarring, or even lasting debilitating injury, not to mention the pain suffered. If you are bitten by a dog, don’t wait to take action.

An Unexplained Attack on an Innocent Victim

Renzo had been on the force for around a year when the difficulties started. The four-year-old Belgian Malinois joined Coconut Creek police as a K-9 unit in South Florida. This past November, he was trailing a suspect when an officer got caught in the line of fire, and Renzo found himself with a bite on his record. The matter was handled internally, but this February, Renzo and his handler were meeting a Coconut Creek sergeant at a local doughnut shop when the trouble started.

The sergeant tried to pet the dog, but the canine lunged halfway out the window, and escaped the car. After lunging at another officer, the dog’s teeth found their mark in the calf of a 37-year-old doughnut shop employee, who had just gone to his car to find his apron. The victim suffered four bites from Renzo’s formidable jaws before his handler was able to pry the trained dog off. The handler’s commands could not prevent the dog from attacking.

Seeking Justice for Your Dog Bite

Renzo might have been retired by the police force, but the story didn’t end for the dog’s victim, who has retained an attorney to seek compensation for his medical expenses, pain, and suffering. This victim isn’t waiting to seek justice for his injuries, and if you are injured by a dog, you shouldn’t either. Under Florida law, the doctrine of “strict liability” means that the owner of the dog has to compensate you for their dog’s actions, whether or not they were also negligent. That means that they can take every action in their power to discourage dog bites– a fence, a leash, a command– but if you get bitten, you get compensation.

Notably, this assumes that the victim in turn was not also negligent. Owners can get out of having to pay for their dog’s damages by putting up a sign reading “Bad Dog” that the victim ignores– although children under six aren’t expected to adhere to such a sign.

Some dog bite victims hesitate to come forward because they fear the dog, who may be normally peaceful, will automatically be euthanized. Other may be unsure whether or not they deserve compensation. Either way, your local Florida attorney can help you understand the process. Florida law provides rules for what Florida agencies can do when a dog is so dangerous. When a dog is reported as dangerous, an investigation is conducted and, if someone swears on an “affidavit” that the dog is dangerous, the dog will be confined either at its home or with the animal control authority. The owner will be notified, and the dog may be humanely euthanized if the owner does not appeal. The dog may be required to registered and checked on annually. These rules likely do not, however, apply to Renzo, who was a law enforcement dog at the time of his attack.

If you are bitten by a dog, whether the dog was trained by police or seemingly friendly, you can seek compensation for your injuries. Contact Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney Scott Newmark for advice on how to proceed.

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