Seven (Yes, 7) pit bulls escaped from their yard and attacked a female neighbor outside her home and another woman in the dog owner’s home off Windy Hill Road. The owner, of the 7 pit bulls had been cited six times between February 2018 and March of this year for the dogs roaming the neighborhood, injuring a chicken and biting another animal, according to citations and incident reports obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from Cobb County through an open records request.
Clearly, if the facts as reported by the AJC are true, the owner of the seven (Yes, 7) pit bulls is liable for all of the damage the pit bulls have caused in attacking the innocent neighbors. The first inquiry in a case like this is: did the owner know or have reason to know that the dogs were dangerous. In this case, the interesting reported fact is: Cobb County Animal Services Division Director Shana Luke said the agency had no reports of the dogs biting people before the incident. So, one of the interesting legal questions in this case is: Should the owner of the seven (Yes, 7) pit bulls have known that the dogs were dangerous since the owner had been cited numerous times for roaming the neighborhood, injuring a chicken and biting another animal, but not for biting a human being. The answer, in my opinion, is yes.
We at Katz Wright Fleming Dodson & Mildenhall have handled cases similar to this and recovered for our clients when the dog involved in the attack did not bite other people before but did have a history of vicious behavior toward other animals and a history of getting loose and causing problems in the neighborhood. Couple this with the clear violation of the local leash law (in this case Cobb County’s animal leash law) which states as follows: