In 2017, the Georgia Supreme Court set a precedent for the State by allowing victims of dog bites to claim compensation from dog owners. Today, any person who has been injured in an aggressive dog attack (on the property of another individual) can claim damages, if he/she can prove the owner of the animal was negligent towards safety.
The Dog Bites Macon GA liability is a comprehensive law. It offers remedies and redressal mechanisms for any person who was bitten by a dog owned by the owner of the property they were on. The only requirement the victim need to fulfill is that he/she must have been present on the property legally and must not have trespassed.
Elements of the Dog Bites Macon GA law
In order to be successfully prosecuted, the case in question has to possess specific elements:
The dog must be very aggressive
The law requires the victim or his/her representative to prove that the dog in question was aggressive, to begin with. The victim can cite the following signs to prove the dog had a history of aggression:
- Sudden biting
- Angry snaps
- Aggressive lunging
- Anti-social posturing
- Raised hackles
- Pricked ears
- Baring teeth
It is important to note that these signs will be taken into consideration only if they were exhibited by the dog multiple times, during interactions with various people.
The owner was negligent in his/her handling of the aggressive dog
Owner’s negligence is a very important element in Dog Bites Macon GA cases. To be eligible for damages, the victim should also prove that:
- The owner had prior knowledge of the dog’s aggression.
- The owner did not submit the dog to any training to curb this aggression.
- The owner kept the dog off-the-leash and allowed it to be at liberty when visitors were present.
- The owner did nothing to prevent any sudden attack from the dog.
- The owner did not talk of or display any warnings about the aggressive dog.
If, however, the owner proves that his/her dog has been under undue stress due to ill health or changes at home and that he/she had tried to curb the aggression through training, he/she will not be liable for dog bite damages.
- The victim did nothing to provoke the animal
Any aggressive behavior by the victim (taunts, teasing, hitting and so on) prior to the dog bite is considered abuse according to the Georgian law, and a dog biting is considered self-defense.
Under Dog Bites Macon GA law, the victim should prove that he/she did not do anything to provoke the dog to bite him/her. To do this, the victim can submit testimony from other visitors to the owner’s house and even testimony from the owner’s neighbors who have also seen the dog’s aggressive behavior.
Additional evidence of negligent dog care
Victims of dog bites can also furnish the following as evidence of the owner’s negligence in dog care and management:
- Lack of registration of dog with the State.
- The absence of adequate restraints on the property.
- Lack of enclosure or fencing outside the building, but within the property.
- The absence of liability insurance for dog-caused personal injuries.
- Non-conformance of the owner to Georgia’s Leash Law.
Contact a Dog Bites Macon GA attorney for more information.