“Man’s Best Friend.”
It’s the title that dogs have carried for many years, and while many
loyal pets deserve the moniker wholeheartedly and then some, the relationship
between man and animal has not been without its share of mishaps.
Dog bites are grounds for legal actions, and owners maintain full responsibility
for the actions of their animals. Should a dog bite a guest, a passer-by,
or any other individual, the dog’s owner will be liable for any damages.
Dog bites are classified in Georgia state law under Code Ann., § 51-2-6
to 7. There are varying circumstances to dog bites, but the charges and
whether or not you can be indicted as an owner hinge mostly on the location
in which a dog bite occurs.
Code § 51-2-6 reads “If any dog, while not on the premises of
its owner or the person having charge of it, kills or injures any livestock,
the owner or person having charge of the dog shall be liable for damages
sustained….” This law, while primarily intended to protect
livestock on neighboring farms from dog attacks, could potentially also
be applied to a neighboring pet. This means if your dog sneaks out of
your property and kills or maims a neighboring animal, you could be liable
for the damages.
Likewise, Code § 51-2-7 states that should any dangerous animal be
allowed to go at liberty and cause any injuries, including catastrophic
injures or even death, the owner will be liable for the damages and could
even face criminal charges for the ownership of a vicious animal. Likewise,
your dog could be at risk of being ordered to be euthanized.
Preventing Dog Bite Lawsuits
The state of Georgia has instituted a series of legal codes which together
have been deemed the “Responsible Dog Ownership Law.” These
codes (Ga. Code Ann., § 4-8-20 – 33) set the legal precedent
for what can be done should a dog become “vicious,” or inflicts
serious injury either to a person directly, or causes serious injury to
a person in their efforts to escape from attack.
As such, responsible dog training and ownership is a must for any Georgia
resident looking to own a pet. Have your pet spayed or neutered, be sure
to train your dog to heed your commands at all times, and always keep
your dog on a leash when taking it out in public. We also strongly encourage
you to consider adopting a dog from a local shelter if you are looking
for a new pet. When you do so, make sure you select a dog whose personality
blends with yours and your family’s to ensure a happy, lasting relationship.
Goldstein & Hayes, P.C.
is an Atlanta personal injury firm, specializing in catastrophic injuries.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of an attack by a dog or
other vicious animal, you may be entitled to compensation. Our attorneys
have more than 60 years of combined experience and have recovered over
$200 million in compensation for our clients. We may be able to help you
with your case.
Call our Atlanta personal injury law lawyers today at (404) 869-8600 today
or contact us online for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.