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Aggressive Dog Injuries in Georgia

Suffering a dog bite or being attacked by an aggressive dog is perhaps one of the most terrifying personal injuries one can live through, and the aftereffects can be equally as traumatizing. Aggressive dog injuries can lead to permanent scarring and long-term emotional distress. If you have been injured by an aggressive dog, it is possible to seek compensation and hold the dog’s owner responsible for the animal’s vicious behavior.

Georgia Dog Bite Law

Under Georgia law, “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.” The statute goes on to provide that in order to prove vicious propensity, it is “sufficient to show 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 said animal was at the time of the occurrence not at heel or on a leash.”

Therefore, according to the above language a plaintiff must show:

  1. The dog is vicious or dangerous, and the owner had superior knowledge,
  2. The owner was careless with the dog or let it move about freely, which caused your injury, and
  3. You did not provoke the animal.

The owner of the dog, or animal, has a duty to manage the dog once the owner becomes aware of its vicious or dangerous propensities.  In order the recover compensation in a dog bite case, you must be able to show not only that the animal was vicious, but also that the owner knew, or should have known of the vicious behavior, and that you, as the injured victim, did not know.   The dog's prior vicious behavior must be the same or similar to the conduct that caused the injury in order for the owner to be deemed to have notice.  

However, the “leash ordinance” component of the law makes it a bit easier to prove your case if you were injured on public property.  A dog owner's violation of a "leash law" is viewed as careless, or negligent, maintenance of the animal and amounts to negligence per se.  For example, if you were strolling through a park that requires dogs to be on leashes, and a dog bit you that was not on a leash, that is enough to show the dog was “vicious” under Georgia law, even if the owner had no reason to anticipate the dog was going to bite you. So while an owner must generally know that a dog might be aggressive in order to be held responsible for a dog bite, failing to have a dog on a leash where an ordinance requires one is sufficient to show knowledge in most cases.

Contact Us for Help after an Aggressive Dog Injury

If you have suffered a dog bite or were attacked by an aggressive dog, contact the legal team at Katz Wright Fleming & Dodson, LLC in Atlanta at 404-460-0101. We can help you obtain the compensation you need and deserve to overcome the incident. Call us to schedule a free initial consultation.

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