Any animal can attack, even one that is a pet. Last week, a man in Okeechobee was bitten by his macaque monkey, which had been a family pet for nine years. The monkey got out of the house and bit its owner on the buttocks, thigh and right hand, requiring surgery to repair tendon and nerve damage, according to TCPalm.com.
Some experts argue that exotic animals should be banned as pets; others say that with proper care, these pets can be as docile as dogs and other family pets.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that while attacks by wild animals are more dramatic, attacks by domestic animals are far more common, and secondary infections of wounds may result in serious systemic disease. About 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year.
The number of exotic animal bites in the United States is not known. But exotic animals also pose a risk of infection or disease. The CDC reports that nearly 90 percent of all macaque monkeys are infected with Herpes B-virus or Simian B. In addition, 90 percent of all reptiles, including iguanas, snakes, lizards, and turtles, carry and shed salmonella in their feces. Both diseases can be passed through handling the animals.
Florida Law on Exotic Pet Ownership
The Florida law regulating pet ownership separates animals into classes. Class I includes animals such as chimpanzees, leopards, lions, elephants and crocodiles, which cannot be kept as personal pets.
Class II includes animals such as macaque monkeys, gray wolves, badgers and alligators. To keep a Class II exotic animal for personal use in Florida, an owner must demonstrate experience in caring for an animal within the class or take a test to show ability. The owner must be at least 18 years old and cannot have been convicted of any violation of captive wildlife regulations. The owner must also complete a permit application and pay a fee of $140.
Class III includes all other animals typically kept as pets such as dogs, cats and hamsters.
Our Treasure Coast personal injury attorneys urge Florida residents to take special care to prevent injuries from any pet. Animal bites can be serious and leave a victim with lasting effects, both physical and emotional.
Contact an Experienced Florida Dog Bite Injury Lawyer Today
Florida animal bite victims may be eligible for financial compensation for their injuries. If you have been harmed by someone’s pet, contact a Florida personal injury attorney to understand your legal rights. It is important to determine whether the animal’s owner should be held responsible for your injury.
I am attorney Philip DeBerard. I have more than three decades of experience helping Florida individuals and families recover from serious injuries caused by the negligence of others, including vicious dog attacks and dog bites. The law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, concentrates on helping personal injury victims in Stuart, Jupiter, Port St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Fort Pierce, Palm Beach and Vero Beach. Call 1-800-299-8878 or fill out our online contact form.