In many dog bite cases in Georgia it is often necessary to prove owner liability when the dog involved in the attack has never bitten anyone before. Here is some basic dog bite info for Georgia.
If you have a case where a dog has bitten you or your child while it was running loose in violation of a local leash law, here is what you need to know. A Georgia leash law or statute makes the dog owner legally responsible if the dog attack was caused by the owner’s careless management or allowing the dog to run loose without any restraints.
In order to successfully pursue a dog bite claim, the victim must prove the condition state in the first part of Georgia code section 51-2-7. This section says, “In proving vicious propensity, it shall be sufficient to show that the animal was required to be at heel or on a leash by an ordinance of the city, county, or consolidated government, and the said animal was at the time of the occurrence not at heel or on a leash.” For example, the local leash law may state that all dogs must be confined on the premises of the dog owner or must be on a leash when not on the owner’s premises.
Next, the victim must show that the dog bite was caused by the owner’s “careless management or … allowing the animal to go at liberty.” An example of careless management would be the failure to close a gate through which the dog could escape.
In other words, liability for a dog bite can be successfully pursued by showing a violation of a leash law combined with careless management or allowing the dog to go out without a leash.
Interestingly, Georgia is the only State that gives the negligence per se doctrine such significance. Also, it is the only state that puts a “trimmed down” version of the traditional negligence per se doctrine into its dog bite statute. An example of liability under this part of the Georgia statute would be where the dog owners routinely allow their dog to go outside without a leash, in violation of a local animal control law which required all dogs to be leashed, and one day the dog runs up the block and bites a small child playing in a neighbor’s driveway. That accident would put liability squarely on the shoulders of the dog owners, for violating the animal control law. In other states, the victim would be required to go outside the statute and prove the various elements of negligence per se, but the Georgia statute includes the elements as part of the statute.
If you have been injured by a dog or other animal, call the Atlanta Dog Bite Lawyers at the Angell Law Firm today.