In order to clamp down on vicious dog attacks, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed the Responsible Dog Ownership Law in 2012. The order essentially was formed to protect the general public from injury and/or death from the result of dog attacks.
While this act is fairly concise and straightforward, there are a variety of legal ramificationsthat this doctrine possesses. On one side, dog owners are held solely responsible for the actions of their pets. While on the other, this law outlines the difference between a “dangerous” and “vicious” dog.
Overall, Georgia’s Responsible Dog Owner Act is a progressive form of legislation that aims to eliminate the legal dispute of liability in the event of a dog attack.
If You Are Attacked By A Dog, The Owner Is Responsible
In Georgia’s Responsible Dog Owner Act, the owner of a dog is solely responsible if their pet attacks another individual or animal. Specifically, the law states verbatim,
“The owner or, if no owner can be found, the custodian exercising care and control over any dog which goes upon the land of another and while off the owner’s or custodian’s property causes injury, death, or damage directly or indirectly to any livestock, or poultry, or pet animal shall be civilly liable to the owner of the livestock, or poultry, or pet animal for damages, death, or injury, death, or damage caused by the dog.”
This law is very clear on the responsibility of a dog owner. Therefore, you can use Georgia’s Responsible Dog Owner Act as a legal reference if you desire to pursue a lawsuit in the aftermath of your injury.
The Term “Owner” Is Versatile
In the event that a dispute arises over a dog attack, the individual that possesses the animal may have a few common excuses such as, “It’s my child’s dog.” or “I’m only watching this dog for a friend or family member.”
The definition of “owner” was amended in this law to be versatile to the individual in direct possession of the dog. Particularly, if a vicious dog belongs to a minor, the parents will be held liable for the actions of the pet.
Likewise, if the handler was only looking after the dog, he or she can also be held liable, since the term “owner” can also mean an individual who is harboring, possessing, or having custody of a pet.
This Act Supports Euthanasia
If a dog has severely injured an individual and poses a major safety risk, the judge of any Georgia superior court can order the euthanasia of the animal. In addition, if a dog has inflicted a serious injury to an individual on more than one occasion, the pet can also be euthanized.
Nonetheless, the owner of the dog has the opportunity to prevent the euthanasia of their pet in a court hearing. Some pet owners may add that their animal was provoked in the act of trespassing, which resulted in a dangerous attack. This is a valid argument is supported by the law, if the pet owner can prove his or her case.
Still, according to Georgia law, children under a certain age are completely immune to ordinary trespassing violations.
Overall, the Georgia Responsible Dog Owner Act outlines the basic rights of the general public in the event of a dog attack. It is important to understand the full extent of this law, especially if you are the victim of a vicious dog attack.
For more information, speak to our dog bite lawyers now.