Owner Knowledge
The first way requires the victim to prove (1) that the animal was dangerous or vicious, (2) that the defendant knew the animal was dangerous or vicious, and (3) that the defendant either carelessly managed the animal or allowed it to roam free.

Leash Law Violations
The second requires a local ordinance. If your local government has passed a law requiring the dog to be at heel or on a leash and you can prove that the defendant was not in compliance, you might have a case. Importantly, if the owner is violating a local ordinance, it does not matter whether or not he knew that the animal was vicious or dangerous.

Georgia & The “One Bite” Rule
While Georgia law does not explicitly state that “one bite” is required, the courts have said that Georgia traditionally adheres to a “first bite” rule and will only hold dog owners liable for their dog’s actions if the owner knows that the dog has a “propensity to bite.”

The last thing to know in Georgia law is that a plaintiff may not be able to recover if he or she “provoked” the dog before the bite. If the plaintiff was teasing the dog or struck it, he will likely be unable to recover under the laws of Georgia.
Jason R. Schultz
Helping Georgia area residents with car accident, medical malpractice, and personal injury claims since 1991.