Q: How can I find out if a dog has a record of attacking or vicious behavior?
There aren’t records of dogs that have attacked or demonstrated vicious behavior available for quick browsing. If you have questions about a dog that attacked you, contact your local animal control office and get in touch with an attorney about filing an injury claim. According to Georgia law, dogs can be classified as dangerous or vicious.
Owners of dangerous dogs or vicious dogs must register for a certificate of registration every year. The certificate will be awarded if certain provisions are met, such as posting warning signs at residence entrances, providing the dog a secure enclosure, and, in the case of a vicious dog, microchipping the animal and obtaining at least $50,000 liability insurance.
Classifications of a Dangerous or Vicious Dog in Georgia
A dog may be classified as dangerous when it punctures someone’s skin with its teeth and creates a substantial wound, regardless of whether it caused serious injury. A dog also may be deemed dangerous if it aggressively attacks in such a way that the victim was at risk of being seriously injured (even if a serious injury doesn’t actually occur).
A vicious dog is one that causes serious injury to a person, such as the following:
- impaired function of bodily organ;
- lacerations necessitating stitches;
- disfigurement requiring hospitalization/plastic surgery; and
Protecting Yourself from a Vicious or Dangerous Dog
If you know a dog is dangerous or vicious, there are ways to stay safe. For instance, avoid walking dogs or children by the house where the dog lives. Even if the dog appears to be contained, it’s not a risk worth taking.
If a person were to encounter a known dangerous dog that is loose, one of the most important things to remember is not to run. Stand still, with hands at the side and avoid making eye contact.
If the dog attacks, putting something in between you and the dog may ward it off or distract it. For instance, a rolled-up jacket, bicycle, backpack or other objects put between you may deter an attack. But if you are knocked down, roll up to protect your face and cover your ears with your hands.