And toward the Amendment of Florida Statutes Chapter 767
Walk with your dog(s) to help pay the high cost of legally gaining Zeus’ freedom from his 130
day incarceration and to help finance legal changes in the way that dogs caught in the Florida
Dog Bite Statutes are treated by Animal Control Agencies under the statutes as they now
DATE: Saturday, September 15th, 2007
TIME: 8:00 A.M. UNTIL 11:00 A.M.
WHERE: Dog Lovers of Tarpon Springs – 39934 U.S. 19 N. – Tarpon Springs, Fl. 34689
COST: $25.00 - Includes a Walk for Zeus T-Shirt which all participants will receive upon
check-in on day of event. Preregistration will assure having a T-shirt available.
BENEFITS: The proceeds will be used to assist Sarasota Defense of Animals (SDA) www.sdasarasota.com
who generously provided the funds necessary for Zeus’ defense and release & The Law Office of
Attorney Jennifer Dietz www.jenniferdietz.com so that she can continue the process to amend Chapter
767. Currently, The dangerous dog statute does NOT provide criteria for guiding the officer in how this
either/or determination shall be made." The order finds the terms defined in 767.11 results in the
unconstitutional delegation of discretion to animal control officers.
PARKING: Cars may be parked in the lot in front of Dog Lovers of Tarpon Springs & next door at
Cody’s Roadhouse Grill
Contact Sharon E. Scavuzzo at 727-439-1569 or by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note: In an effort to have the proper number of t-shirts on hand we would like to have
participants registered in advance HOWEVER, we WILL accept day-of-the-event sign-ups with extra
FUTURE FUNDRAISING EFFORTS include a Flea Market to be held in October, 2007. Anyone
wishing to donate household items can bring them to the dog walk regardless of participation
in the event itself.
LATEST NEWS ON THIS EVENT: http://www.dwdconsult.com/Zeus/
Zeus’ Case Presents a Unique Opportunity for Change
A glimmer of hope for change in the Florida Dog Bite Statutes that now exists as a result of the Zeus’
case. Because it resulted in a Florida Appeals Court recognizing unconstitutionality within these
statutes. It is doubtful that this has ever happened before. This finding opens a means within the
Florida Appeals Court System that could result in meaningful changes in those statutes. It took
approximately $10,000.00 to reach this point of a glimmer of hope. To continue this goal for change
within the Florida Court System requires funds to do so and is part of the reason for Zeus’ Dog Walk
September 15, 2007 and coming Yard Sale event.
The component of these fund raising efforts that can benefit every dog owner in Florida is to raise
funds to continue the Appeals Court route toward gaining meaningful change in Florida Statutes
Chapter 767. If you can’t participate in the Dog Walk then donations to Sarasota in Defense of
Animals, in Zeus’ name, will go to the same cause. This donation opportunity is unique because in
the long haul donating to this cause will not only help others but will help you also if the judicial goals
are met. The Sarasota in Defense of Animals web link is on Zeus’ web site for donation purposes.
Zeus’ web site: http://www.dwdconsult.com/Zeus/
Background Information of the Importance of this Matter to All Florida Dog Owners
If you are a dog owner living in or visiting Florida you are subject to the Florida Dog Bite Statutes.
Under the statutes present form they can quickly put your dog in harms way. Therefore, it is in
your interest to lend support to the efforts being made here to affect needed changes in these
statutes through judicial means.
A review from public statements of the owners describing the situation of Zeus, the 2-year old
German Shepherd Dog, is caught up in because of a dog bite situation under the Florida Statues
“The (Verizon) man came unannounced, was on (posted) property and the only way we knew he was
here was because Zeus was barking. He is not a dangerous dog. We offered to put him (away)
simply because he would have been in the way. The Verizon man said "no, it's ok". So silly us took
his word for it. Now look at what is happening. We have just moved here in the beginning of March so
(2-year old) Zeus was still getting used to his surroundings. At that time we have only been in this
house for 3 weeks. He has been around other people before, including children, and he was just fine.
(The Verizon man), in my opinion, scared him by throwing his hands up and I believe Zeus thought he
was going to be hit by this person. I am not an expert but it doesn't take a genius either to figure it out.
When we had the (first) hearing (with no legal representation for Zeus present) they were trying to
make is sound worse than what is was, an unfortunate accident. (The Verizon man) fell to the ground
because he tripped twice, on his own, not because of the dog. Our property has some exposed roots
from trees and shrubs. This is very secluded back here. As far as the "crotch" bite goes, it was NOT
the crotch area, he had some scratches on his ABDOMEN area.” The hearing resulted in Zeus being
ordered to be executed because of multiple dog bites!
Sarasota Animal Control apparently charged Zeus with the wrong statute. Zeus was going to be
destroyed under Florida Statute 767.13, which states that any dog that has bitten before or severely
injured or killed a person will be confiscated. If the dog is not cleared at a hearing, it will be destroyed.
However, under Statute 767.12 dogs that have not attacked previously are considered first offenders
and are ordered to stay at home; if they do go out, they are muzzled. The facts of this incident clearly
indicate that Zeus is a first offender and that Florida Statute 767.12 was clearly called for if one must
rely on these questionable laws. Neither Animal Control nor the County Sheriff would correct the
mistake. Zeus was incarcerated for 130-days in isolation with not even the owners being allowed to
visit him. Then Attorney Jennifer Dietz appealed and gained having his execution vacated on the
grounds of “unconstitutionality”. Zeus is now returned to his owners as a “Dangerous Dog” based on
the law the Judge just found to be unconstitutional. Further appeals are pending on the Judges
decision. In all, approximately $10,000.00 was spent saving Zeus. The Sarasota in Defense of
Animals took on the financial burden. We are having a dog walk to raise funds to repay Sarasota in
Defense of Animals and to continue appeals seeking to change the existing Florida Statutes under
Personally, I have always been in opposition to the Florida Dog Bite Statutes if for no other reason
then instinctual dog behavior is not considered within them at any level. Educated dog owners know
that dogs have no common sense, no judgment, and no concept of right or wrong as part of their hard
wired instincts. Dogs only operate on their instincts and react according to instinctual rules. The
present Florida Dog Bite Statutes are ample evidence of the amount of understanding of dog
instinctual behavior existing in Tallahassee Politicians and in those who are charged with its
enforcement. Our Florida Law Makers ignored the nature of dogs and their instinctual behavior and
simply assumed if they pass punitive laws dogs can be made to understand that they have Laws and
Consequences to abide by that hold dogs accountable to punishment including execution. In my view,
as long as that remains true, then the Florida Dog Bite Statutes can be nothing other than unjust.
Hey, Tallahassee Politicians, people have the kind of understanding these laws require, not the dogs.
Penalize those responsible, not the dogs.
The fact that Florida Statutes Chapter 767 presently allows the least legally qualified involved (the
dog catcher) to make legal calls that can execute your dog, and that they are not qualified by legal
education to make such determinations, is appalling. It does not matter how many in-service classes
any Animal Control Service holds with their dog catchers they still will not become legally qualified
I would like to see the record of Judge Susan L. Chapman’s court on handling of dog bite cases.
Zeus’ case should have been thrown out at Judge Chapman’s first hearing level as reeking with legal
errors caused by Sarasota Animal Services. Instead, Zeus’ hearing, without benefit of legal
representation for Zeus, had to be a one-sided affair that resulted in an inappropriate and harsh
verdict; Zeus’ execution order. That hearing probably is representative of most such hearings.
Florida Statute Chapter 767 ignores dog instinctual behavior, assumes guilty until proven innocent
and includes no rights for the dog owner! All of us Florida dog owners and Florida visitors, with their
dogs accompanying them, are subject to these statutes that can place our dogs in harms way at the
discretion of a dog catcher, instantly.
I don’t believe that Florida Politicians have any desire to revisit Florida Statutes Chapter 767 with any
idea of making changes. Therefore, any attempt to make changes through that avenue would
probably be fruitless. The Florida Appeals Court System now offers a chance for change which may
not present itself again and be lost if we do not act now. We have the Ruling and the able Attorney
but we need the funds to pursue this judicial change.
Please print material and post it so your visitors will have an opportunity to learn about the importance
of this situation and participate by attending or making a donation to Zeus.