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Georgia Personal Injury Blog

Friday, June 6, 2014

Personal Injury Law: The Difference between a "Dangerous Dog" and a "Vicious Dog"

People use many words to describe dogs. But in Henry County, a dog which has bitten or attacked someone (or someone's pet) may legally be described as a dangerous dog or vicious dog.

In Henry County, Georgia, a "dangerous dog" is any dog that:

  • Causes a substantial puncture of a person's skin with its teeth, but without causing a serious injury. Keep in mind that a minor nip, scratch, or abrasion would not classify a dog as "dangerous."

  • Aggressively attacks in a way that causes a person to believe that the dog posed an imminent threat of serious injury, even if no such injury occurs. But a dog simply barking, growling, or showing its teeth is not sufficient.

  • Kills someone's pet while off the owners' property. The exception to this rule is if the death is caused by a working dog.

A "vicious dog" is a greater threat to the community than a dangerous dog.

A vicious dog has inflicted a serious personal injury on a person, or caused serious injury to a person who was making reasonable attempts to escape from the dog's attack.

There are specific restrictions for pet owners who have a dangerous or vicious dog which has caused personal injury. For example, owners of vicious dogs cannot let their dogs outside of a proper enclosure unless:

  • The dog is muzzled and the muzzle is constructed and fitted in a way that would prevent the dog from biting anyone.

  • The dog is restrained by a leash not to exceed six feet in length and is under the immediate physical control of a person capable of preventing the dog from engaging any other human or animal when necessary; or

  • The dog is contained in a closed and locked cage or crate.

Failure to comply with these restrictions may result in punishment by fines and imprisonment. In addition, the classified dog shall be euthanized at the cost of the owner.

If you have been injured by someone’s dog, or for more information on this topic, contact personal injury attorney Andrew Gebhardt at agebhardt@smithwelchlaw.com or call 770-389-4864. Smith, Welch, Webb and White is recognized as a premier law firm throughout the state of Georgia. Our team of attorneys routinely handles a wide range of legal matters, and will provide outstanding service for you, your family or your business.

 

Any representations regarding the law in this Blog is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog publisher. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.


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