Dog Bite Information

Georgia Dog Bite Laws

Information about laws in Georgia pertaining to dog bites

Unfortunately, we hear about dog bite attacks too often. The question that many have is, "What are the laws and ordinances in Georgia regarding dog bite attacks?"

Georgia law protects dog bite victims by providing two ways an animal owner can be held liable for injuries caused by their dogs:

  1. The "one bite rule"- the victim should show that the animal was dangerous or vicious, that the dog owner had knowledge of this propensity, and the owner either carelessly managed the animal or allowed it to go at liberty.
  2. The "ordinance rule"- requires proof that the animal was not at heel or on a leash, as required by local ordinance, and the dog owner either carelessly managed the animal or allowed it to go at liberty. (violation of the leash law)

What constitutes a violation of the leash law will vary from county to county as leash laws are under the umbrella of ordinances enforced by the county.

Due to the fact that in one of the two conditions, you have to prove that the dog was dangerous and the owner knew the dog was dangerous at the time of the bite, Georgia's dog bite statute is favorable to dog owners. With so many vicious attacks that have been in the local news lately many believe that Georgia needs to strengthen its antiquated position on dog bite claims and the responsibility of the dog owners.

Legislation has been introduced into the Georgia Legislator. There are two House Bills pending regarding dog bite law, House Bill 685 (HB685) and House Bill 717(HB717). HB685 was pre- filed 12/22/11 and is a bill to amend Title 4, to define and re-define terms of dangerous and vicious dogs. HB717 is pending legislation and should be effective July 1, 2012. HB717 adds a paragraph to Georgia state law, making it a felony charge for the owners of dogs who attack people. HB717 places these owners with possible prison time (1-3 years) and/or a substantial fine (not more than $20,000).

American Dog Owners Association feel that HB717 is confusing due to the question, "What is the definition of a dangerous or vicious dog?" The definitions of a dangerous or vicious dog remain in House Bill 685 to highlight the differences between unprovoked attacks and an animal trying to protect their owner.

Gail LaBerge, of the Georgia Canine Coalition, supports certain exemptions for dogs who bite while protecting their owner, or a bite that happens in a chase, she does not approve of the one-size-fits-all law. State Representative Gene Maddox, a retired veterinarian who is sponsoring the new bill, states that "You want to give law enforcement a tool to deal with people whose animals are obviously a threat, but its also important we protect working and hunting dogs for doing their job."

The ultimate goal for dog bite laws are responsibility and protecting the innocent. If you have an animal, you need to provide the necessary health care and training to control the animal.

For instance:

  1. If you have a dog behind a fence- how secure is the fence, has it been maintained, is the gate secure, would others (service people) be likely not to close the gate securely?
  2. If the dog is chained, how secure is the chain and collar?
  3. Do you have control of the animal when walking it, does it need a muzzle?
  4. If your dog is a house dog, do you have measures in place to keep the dog from "darting" out the door when someone opens the door?
  5. When you have visitors, do you have control of your dog? Do you know how your dog reacts to certain stimuli? (children, loud noises, sudden movement, other animals, etc)

What Our Georgia Dog Bite Attorneys Do For You

Our Georgia dog bite lawyers can help you with the process no matter what the details may be regarding your dog attack. You will want to consider retaining a Georgia dog bite attorney before you participate in any legal proceedings and before speaking with an insurance company or anyone else.

What Is My Dog Bite Case Worth?

A victim of a dog bite can seek several types of compensation including for all scars, current and future medical costs, emotional distress, and any other factors related to the attack.

There are approximately 800,000 serious injuries caused by dog bites every year in America. If you have been a victim of a dog attack, we offer through legal help by experienced Georgia dog bite lawyers. Contact us now for a free consultation with local Atlanta dog bite attorney Bryce Angell today.