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Dog Bites

Dog Bites

For the most part, dogs are beloved pets deserving of the title of “man’s best friend.” Despite the largely positive experiences that most people have with canines in the Atlanta area, dogs remain animals whose actions can be unpredictable and certain incidents can occasionally lead to dogs reacting violently and biting innocent people.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 4.5 million dog bites occur every year in the United States. Some dog attacks result in very serious injuries to people that can often result in permanent disfigurement and may require extensive medical treatment.

Attorney for Dog Bites in Atlanta, GA

Did you or your loved one sustain catastrophic injuries as the result of a dog attack in Georgia? Understanding your legal ability to recover costs for your injuries is important. Contact Marcus A. Roberts & Associates right away.

Marcus A. Roberts is an experienced personal injury lawyer in Atlanta who helps injury victims in Cobb County, Clayton County, Fulton County, DeKalb County, and Gwinnett County. Call 404-577-4444 to have our attorney review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free, no obligation consultation.

Overview of Dog Bites in Fulton County

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Georgia Dog Laws

Georgia Code § 51-2-7 establishes that a person who owns or keeps a vicious or dangerous animal of any kind and who, by careless management or by allowing the animal to go at liberty, causes injury to another person who does not provoke the injury by his own act may be liable in damages to the person so injured. In order to prove that the dog in question has a vicious propensity, a victim must prove that:

  • the animal was required to be at heel or on a leash by an ordinance of a city, county, or consolidated government; and
  • the animal was at the time of the occurrence not at heel or on a leash.

In 2012, Governor Nathan Deal signed House Bill 685, the Responsible Dog Ownership Law, which created the following laws addressing dangerous or vicious dogs. Under Georgia Code § 4-8-21(6) a “vicious dog” is defined as “a dog that inflicts serious injury on a person or causes serious injury to a person resulting from reasonable attempts to escape from the dog’s attack.”

Georgia Code § 4-8-21(2) defines a “dangerous dog” as any dog that:

  • causes a substantial puncture of a person’s skin by teeth without causing serious injury; provided, however, that a nip, scratch, or abrasion shall not be sufficient to classify a dog as dangerous under this subparagraph;
  • aggressively attacks in a manner that causes a person to reasonably believe that the dog posed an imminent threat of serious injury to such person or another person although no such injury occurs; provided, however, that the acts of barking, growling, or showing of teeth by a dog shall not be sufficient to classify a dog as dangerous under this subparagraph; or
  • while off the owner’s property, kills a pet animal; provided, however, that this subparagraph shall not apply where the death of such pet animal is caused by a dog that is working or training as a hunting dog, herding dog, or predator control dog.

A serious injury is defined under Georgia Code § 4-8-21(5) as “any physical injury that creates a substantial risk of death; results in death, broken or dislocated bones, lacerations requiring multiple sutures, or disfiguring avulsions; requires plastic surgery or admission to a hospital; or results in protracted impairment of health, including transmission of an infection or contagious disease, or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.”

Owners of dangerous dogs are required under the Responsible Dog Ownership Law to annually apply for certificates of registration for their dogs, build secure enclosures to house their dogs, and post warning signs at all entrances to indicate that dangerous dogs live on their property. Owners of vicious dogs are also required to microchip their dogs and maintain at least $50,000 of liability insurance to cover costs in the event that the dog attacks or damages another’s property a second time. Vicious dogs responsible for second offenses have to be euthanized, and owners who violate any registration requirements can be fined and imprisoned for infractions.

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One Bite Rule in Atlanta Dog Attacks

Georgia is one of a number of states that use the “one bite rule” to determine liability in dog bite cases. Under this legal theory, the dog owner is allowed to assume that his or her animal is not dangerous until there is evidence to the contrary.

When an owner knows that his or her dog does pose a risk to people, he or she is required to prevent any foreseeable injury. While the one bite rule implies that a first, unexpected bite of another person is free and a dog owner cannot be held liable, it may be argued that a dog exhibited other conduct (such as growling) that would have indicated that the animal had the potential to injure somebody.

Dog attack cases can be incredibly uncomfortable for victims who are may be seeking compensation from neighbors, friends, or family. Fortunately, many dog attacks are covered under the homeowner’s insurance policies of negligent dog owners, and an Atlanta personal injury lawyer will know the most effective ways of negotiating with insurers so victims can obtain the compensation they need for all medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

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Georgia Resources for Dog Bites

Fulton County Animal Services — Fulton County Animal Services is managed by LifeLine Animal Project, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Atlanta. Fulton County Animal Services provides a humane environment for Fulton County’s homeless pets and enforces the animal control laws of Fulton County in addition to other services. On this website, you can find a complete rundown of the Fulton County Animal Ordinances.

Fulton County Animal Services
860 Marietta Blvd. NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 613-0358

Atlanta Humane Society (AHS) — AHS is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit organization that identifies itself as “one of the oldest private charitable organizations in Atlanta.” AHS serves roughly 30,000 animals every year, and it does not euthanize adoptable animals as there are no time limits for animals once they are in the organization’s care. You can learn more about dog training services on this website.

Howell Mill Campus
981 Howell Mill Rd. NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 875-5331
Mansell Campus
1565 Mansell Rd.
Alpharetta, GA 30009
(404) 875-5331

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Marcus A. Roberts & Associates | Atlanta Dog Bites Lawyer

If you or your loved one suffered serious injuries as the result of a dog attack in Georgia, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Marcus A. Roberts & Associates represents dog bite victims in Clayton County, DeKalb County, Fulton County, Cobb County, and Gwinnett County.

Atlanta personal injury attorney Marcus A. Roberts can handle all of your legal claims so you can focus on your recovery. He can provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call 404-577-4444 or submit an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.