We wrote last week about a bill being pushed through the Georgia legislature that would make dog bite reporting rules more robust, in hopes of reducing the rates of dog bites. This week, we have another story about dog bites, this time involving two young women volunteering at a no-kill animal shelter.
The two girls took a pit bull named Hooch from the shelter to play in an enclosed yard. While walking the dog, it was said to have viciously attacked and mauled one of the walkers, and when the other tried to help, the dog went after her, too. One suffered severe injuries to her left thigh, the other to her right arm. The first attack led to around $4,000 in medical expenses, while the injuries to the woman who tried to help totaled nearly $33,000.
According to a lawsuit the women filed, the shelter was aware that Hooch had a history of violent behavior toward people.
Dog Bite Laws in Georgia
It is important to act quickly to recover damages after a dog bite. In Georgia, there is a statute of limitations dictating how long you have to file your lawsuit. You have two years from the date of injury to bring a dog bite case to court. Seek medical attention and then consult with a personal injury attorney to get the ball rolling.
In order to hold a dog owner liable in Georgia for bites, the victim must be able to show that the owner was negligent. This can be done in a couple ways. One is to prove that the owner knew or should have known that the dog had “vicious propensities” (in the above case, for example, proving that the shelter knew of the dog’s past history of attacks could show negligence). Another is to use leash ordinances. If a dog is off its leash and bites someone somewhere where leashes are required, no known history of violence is needed to prove negligence on behalf of the owner.