Local governments decide whether or not to put restrictions on the types of dogs residents are allowed to keep. Some cities mandate that owners of “dangerous dogs” must follow specific rules to be permitted to keep them.
Determining Your Town’s Dangerous Dog Laws
Because dangerous dog laws are town-specific, you’ll need to find your area’s dog bite statutes. There are a few places you can look to find them.
- Animal control
- Your local city government website
- Dog attack attorneys (Local personal injury attorneys will know the statutes very well)
- DogsBite.org (Although a somewhat biased site, it can provide you with a starting point in researching your town’s laws)
You should also be aware that each state also has its own dangerous dog restrictions. Georgia’s laws are covered in OCGA 4-8-1 through 4-8-33. If you have trouble finding your state’s dog restrictions and laws, you can contact your state governor’s office for help.
Dangerous Dog Laws in College Park, GA
College Park, Georgia, for instance, has strong dangerous dog restrictions. Under City Ordinance Section 4-25(a), if you have what the law defines as a dangerous dog or a “potentially dangerous dog,” you must do the following.
- Register your dog with the city.
- Pay registration fees with the City Inspection Department.
- Purchase and maintain a minimum of $100,000 personal liability insurance to cover the expenses in case your dog causes someone injury.
- Put the ID tag the city gives you on your dog, to be worn at all times.
- Place an identification microchip in your dog.
- Properly enclose or leash your dog at all times.
- Place “Beware of Dog” signs conspicuously on your property
The ordinance defines potentially dangerous as dogs as any of the following breeds.
- Pit Bull
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- German Shepherd
In addition to the above breeds, any dog that has bitten a human without provocation is classified as a potentially dangerous dog. The owners of dogs who have bitten a human must also abide by the town’s dangerous dog restrictions.
Legal Restrictions Change Periodically
Townships regularly amend their dog bite laws, so it’s important to stay cognizant of them as a dog owner. In 2011, College Park enacted new dangerous dog laws, tightening restrictions.
Councilman Ambrose Clay recommended the dog ordinance (requiring registration, microchips, and insurance) after two brutal dog attacks in 2010.
Repercussions of Breaking Dangerous Dog Laws
There are stiff penalties for breaking dangerous dog breed restrictions. Animal Control in Atlanta states, “Any person who violates any provision of the Animal Control regulation shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and may be cited to court. Violation of the dangerous/ potentially dangerous dog provisions may be a felony.”
If a dog owner violates Georgia’s dog laws and their dog causes a human serious injury, the crime might be considered a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Apart from criminal penalties, if you sidestep the law and your dog injures or kills a person, you could be held liability in civil court, as well.
Free Consult with a Dog Bite Injury Attorney in Atlanta
If you or your child was attacked by a dog, you’ll want to call an attorney for help pursuing compensation for your damages. You should be able receive restitution for the physical, financial, and emotional harm the attack has caused you.
For help with a dog attack case in Atlanta, Contact the law office of Jason Schultz. Attorney Schultz has helped numerous Georgians obtain settlements for their injuries, and has a passion for protecting victims’ rights.
Call the office to schedule a free consultation at 404-474-0804.