A Lantana pit bull attack on three children this week came on the heels of Palm Beach County Commissioners saying that they will look to tighten up enforcement of leash laws and other regulations on dog owners.
Longtime local defense attorney and former President of the Palm Beach County Bar Association, Michelle Suskauer, tells us that in addition to citations from Animal Care and Control, you can be held civilly responsible if you don't keep your dog restrained.
"Even if you don't own a pit bull...any type of dog...even if your dog has not bitten before, you are responsible for the injuries that are caused by your animal."
Michelle says as a dog owner, you have a responsibility to the community around you.
"Keep your dogs on leashes. Make sure that you have fences that keep your dogs in and train your dogs. Take care of your dogs. Because you certainly are responsible if your dogs cause any damage or injure any individual or another dog."
The owner of three pit bulls in Lantana, where three children were bitten this week, has lost the dogs and received $1,000 in code violations.
Michelle Suskauer is a Florida Bar Board Certified criminal trial attorney, practicing for over 22 years with the Suskauer Law Firm.
She is a past President of the Palm Beach County Bar Association, the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, Palm Beach County Chapter and is currently on the Florida Bar Board of Governors, Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Trend's Legal Elite and Florida Super Lawyer.
You may have also seen Michelle on our NewsChannel 5 partners, as she is their legal analyst. She also appears as a legal expert on several national cable networks including Fox News, CNN and NBC.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Suskauer