As a loving parent of two young girls, I am deeply concerned about the recent surge of Atlanta dog bite cases in 2010. As a Georgia lawyer who specializes in representing dog bite victims, I am outraged at the number of dog owners who break the law and allow these attacks to happen by failing to control their dogs. There are two things you should know up front: (1) these dog attacks (which are happening in and around Atlanta quite frequently) cause serious long-term injuries; and (2) the dog owner is responsible to the dog bite victim for all of the damages which flow from the attack.
Once a dog attack occurs, the first inquiry is: which dog control law applies? In the greater Atlanta area, there are a number of animal control laws (or leash laws) which may apply. For instance, in the Atlanta area, the applicable law which we use to establish liability on the dog owner, can be a code from one of the cities we live in such as the City of Atlanta, City of Decatur, Marietta or a county law such as the laws in place in DeKalb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Clayton County or any of the other surrounding counties.
Once the applicable jurisdiction is identified, the next step is to establish the dog owner’s negligence and liability for the injuries. This is done by proving that the law (or code) was violated and that the violation caused the injury. Often, this is not hard. Most codes essentially require the dog owner to either keep the dog adequately contained on the owner’s property or keep control over the dog when it is off the property. Hence, with few exceptions, if the dog attacks someone (usually a defenseless child), it is impossible for the owner to argue that he complied with the law. In other words, if the dog owner had complied with the law and had the dog under control, the dog would not have been able to attack.
Unfortunately, many dog owners break the law, giving their unfriendly dogs the opportunity to attack. These attacks are often on defenseless children and result in serious injuries.
Many Atlanta children are left with permanent physical and emotional scars. For instance, as this article is being written, 8-year-old Erin Ingram lays in Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. She has undergone 3 surgeries after being attacked by two aggressive American Staffordshire terriers (Pit Bulls). You do not have to look any further than recent blogs on this site to know that this scenario is far too common. An Atlanta child being mauled by one (and often more) Pit Bulls.
These children often sustain deep and permanent scars on the face, lips, forehead, neck, arms, legs and hands. This requires extensive and painful plastic surgery to correct, if possible. Many times, it is not possible to remove he scarring and the child must walk around with these scars for life. Many young children suffer permanent psychological wounds and require long-term treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, fear of dogs, fear of going outside, and depression caused by their scarred appearance.
These injuries are severe and the negligent dog owner should be held fully liable and must fully compensate the victim’s family.
Fleming Law, P.C. has successfully represented many adults and children who have suffered dog attach injuries. If you have been seriously injured, contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation. We are here to help.