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Know Georgia’s Dog Bite Laws
Are you taking your dog trick-or-treating this year? Many people do, and when done properly, it’s fun for the whole family. Unfortunately, not everyone takes proper safety precautions with their dogs, and that can result in a traumatic dog bite. For the safety of humans and pups alike, it’s important to know the laws in Georgia.
Dog bites can cause serious injuries and sometimes permanent disabilities, especially in children. As a result, medical bills and lost wages can pile up. But a dog’s owner is not necessarily liable any time their dog bites.
In order for a victim to show liability in a dog bite case, they must prove either that the owner knew or should have known that the dog was “vicious” (had aggressive tendencies) or that the owner did not control the dog in accordance with local law. The victim also must not have provoked the dog through means such as harassment, violence, or trespassing.
When it comes to proving viciousness, many people think that Georgia has a “one free bite” rule. That’s misleading. A previous bite is the easiest way to prove that a dog is vicious, but other methods can include statements from neighbors and animal control or veterinary records. That said, proving that the owner knew their dog was dangerous is generally the most difficult part of a dog bite case, and all dogs in Georgia are considered harmless until proven otherwise. A dog’s breed cannot be used as proof of viciousness.
In terms of negligence, an owner can be shown to be negligent in a variety of ways, such as allowing their dog to roam free or carelessly allowing them to escape. If there is a local law or ordinance mandating that dogs be leashed, failure to leash a dog can be used as a sign of negligence and may result in liability for the owner.
This Halloween — and year-round — do your part to stop a dog bite before it occurs with a few simple tips. Stay clear of unfamiliar dogs, always leash your pet, and leave aggressive dogs at home and securely confined to your property. You might save yourself both an injury and a lawsuit.
GA Injury Advocates
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