Articles Posted in Dog Bites

Published on:

As evidenced by the recent newspaper account, victims of dog bites not only suffer physical injuries, but often suffer long-lasting emotional trauma from the attack. In the article, the writer wrote how, for health reasons, he had been walking during lunch breaks from work. One day while he was walking, someone unleashed his dog between his car and his house. Instead of running into the yard and house, the dog turned and charged the pedestrian on the sidewalk. The dog attacked, jumped on the pedestrian and bit the walker. Once she realized that she was being attacked by a dog, the pedestrian put her arm up and fortunately she was bitten on the arm (as opposed to the dog attacking her buttocks, stomach or crotch, which are common areas that dogs bite during brutal dog attacks) and the bite wound was not catastrophic. However, the trauma and resulting emotional distress, anxiety and fear of being attacked again by a dog is what has caused the most damage to this dog bite victim. This is common. In other words, many times the emotional and psychological damages sustained by a dog bite victim are more serious than the physical injury. If anyone has ever been attacked by a dog, it is easy for them to understand how debilitating this type of attack can be. Now, a pleasant walk in the neighborhood is no longer enjoyable due to the stress and fear that a dog may appear out of no where and attack.

In the case discussed above, the dog owner would be liable for all damages caused by the dog under all of the Atlanta metro county leash laws. If a dog owner allows his dog to run off leash and the dog attacks someone, the dog owner is negligent per se (a legal term meaning that the person is negligent due to the fact that they violated a state, code or law) and is liable for all damages that flow from the dog’s behavior. In fact, it is not necessary for the dog to bite someone for the owner to be liable. We have handled cases in the past where the dog has run up on people and the startled person was injured, without the dog biting anyone. This is still covered under the numerous leash laws. In essence, you must have complete control over your dog so that it cannot cause any damage to those around you. If you fail to due this, you are liable for all damages sustained due to the dog’s behavior.

Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling dog attacks, as well as wrongful death cases, automobile accident cases, personal injury cases, dental malpractice and medical malpractice lawsuits for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years in and around Atlanta, Georgia and its surrounding areas, including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured and would like quality legal representation, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.

Published on:

The common law rule in Georgia does support the traditional theory of liability, i.e., the first bite rule, in determining an owner’s responsibility for a dog bite attack. This common law rule has been codified in Georgia at O.C.G.A. § 51-2-7, which states: A person who owns or keeps a vicious or dangerous animal of any kind and, who, by careless management or by allowing the animal to go at liberty, causes injury to another person who does not provoke the injury by his own act may be liable in damages to the person so injured.

Despite this statute being known as the first bite rule, it is not necessary in Georgia to prove that the dog has bitten before in order to for the owner to be liable. Instead, the plaintiff must show that the dog has demonstrated a propensity to bite in the past that caused the injury in the present case. In other words, as long as there is an incident or incidents in the past that would put a prudent owner on notice to anticipate that the dog would bite or attack persons (as opposed to other animals, which would not be sufficient notice to hold the dog owner liable for the attack), the owner is liable for the damages caused by the dog.

Recent decisions have shown that the Georgia courts are replacing the one bite rule with legal theory that the owner of a dog must act reasonably to protect the public from his dog if the owner knows or has reason to know of the dogs vicious propensity to bite. Importantly, whether the owner knew or had reason to know of the prior acts is usually a question for the jury at trial rather than a question of law for the judge. This newer standard is in line with other jurisdiction and makes good legal sense.

Published on:

As the recent article in the AJC points out, Georgia is the 9th ranked state for one of the largest payouts of the leading insurance company in the nation. It’s also a safe bet that most of the dog attacks in Georgia take place in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area.

We have noticed an increase in the number of deadly dog attacks on children in the Atlanta area. Many of these attacks involve pit bulls and negligent supervision. While pit bulls are not, per se, dangerous, they do tend to be involved in many of the vicious dog attacks that my firm gets involved with. In addition to more frequent incidents of dog attacks involving pit bulls, it does appear that the attacks by pit bull or more serious and require much more medical attention than attacks by other dogs.

Much has been written in Georgia about the “one bite rule” and legal scholars go to great lengths to explain the rule and how it insulates dog owners of liability in situations in which their dog attacks someone

In most cases, the dogs’ owners are responsible for the victims hospital and medical bills because owners have a legal responsibility to prevent their pets from injuring people or damaging property. If a dog hurts someone, the owner will probably have to reimburse the victim for medical expenses, time lost from work, pain and suffering, and any permanent injuries that result from the attack. Many times, emotional harm is caused by the attack and the victims develop a life-long fear of dogs, which is an especially large claim in these types of cases because dogs are everywhere we go and if one is afraid of dogs after being attacked, life is simply not the same as it was before. The owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy may cover the cost, even if the injury happens off the owner’s property. Because of this, it is important to timely identify the dog owner and secure the insurance information in a timely manner.

The owner may also be required to take measures to prevent another incident—in the most serious cases, by destroying the dog. An owner who acts recklessly or deliberately—by letting an aggressive dog run loose around children, for example—may face a fine or even a jail sentence.
Continue reading

Published on:

Two women in Oxford, Connecticut were treated at a local hospital after having been attacked by one of their neighbor’s German shepherd. The 37 and 49-year-old victims were taken by ambulance with bite wounds to their arms and legs. A common scenario when dogs attack.

Police report that the dog attacked one of the women before breaking away from its owner, and ran back to attack the other woman who had gone to help the victim of the initial attack. The owner of the dog has been cited for having an expired rabies certificate, two counts for having a nuisance animal, and two counts for permitting the dog to roam.

Here in Atlanta, we follow the “one bite rule.” That is, all dogs in Atlanta get “one free bite” before they become a liability to their owner. After the initial bite, the dog’s owner is placed on notice and becomes liable for all damages caused by the animal. However, there are numerous exceptions to the one-bite-rule which, for all intents and purposes, render it void. For instance the Atlanta leash law states:

Published on:

Each year, hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance claims is paid out to victims of dog bites. Dogs bite approximately 4.7 million people annually, with children compromising more than half of the total number victims. Nearly 400,000 people receive medical treatment for their wounds and about 16 people die.

After 5 to 9 year olds, seniors are the second largest age group in danger, followed by U.S. Postal workers (letter carries). Nationwide, over 5½ thousand carriers were victims of dog attacks last year with medical expenses costing the Postal Service a little over a million dollars.

Nationally, the average cost per claim was $28,799. California had the most number of claims with 309 totaling $10 million with a per claim average of $38,500. With the number of dog bite injuries rising each year, you ought to know what to do should you or a loved one get bit:

  • Jot down the name and telephone number of the dog’s owner and any witnesses. If at all possible, also write down their addresses. This is important because, in all the commotion, many times victims leave the scene in order to get medical treatment and the at-fault parties are gone and not able to be traced.
  • Depending on the seriousness of the bite, have it treated. And visit a veterinarian if your pet has also been bitten. The best bet, go to the emergency room because ER doctors are trained on how to treat trauma such as dog bites. In addition, they treat many similar dog bites throughout the year and these doctors (i.e., ER doctors) usually know exactly what to do and not to do when treating someone who has been attacked by a dog.
  • Be sure to keep copies of the medical bills and photographs of the bite(s). Most state statutes include dog-inflicted injuries, not only bites. For example, here in Georgia, a young girls was charged by a dog. The dog did not bite her, but the dog forced her into the street and into the path of an oncoming car, which, unfortunately, lead to her death. In this situation, the owner of the dog is liable to the girls parents for the girls death due to their negligence in allowing the dog off leash and trying to attack the girl.
  • Notify the police about the incident and check with the animal control department to find out if the dog is labeled dangerous or has been reported for prior attacks. Make sure a police report (or animal control report) is filled out to document exactly what took place. Once again, as time elapses, memories fade, witnesses are lost and what seemed like an open and shut case of negligence on behalf of the dog owner, become not so clear-cut. Make sure the proper information is taken down by the authorities. They are there to help you.
  • Acquaint yourself with the dog bite statutes of your state. In order to sue, Georgia’s statutes mandate that the victim must be able to prove the dog owner’s negligence. In many cases, this is established by proving violation of the local leash law or ordinance.
    Continue reading
Published on:

A $200,000 lawsuit has reportedly been filed against a film producer and his wife because their dog allegedly bit a woman on the hand at a hotel in Aspen, Colorado. As a litigation attorney in Atlanta, I’ve seen firsthand the physical pain and emotional anguish dog bites can cause.

The incident took place while the defendants were vacationing with their daughter and their Labrador Retriever. The victim of the dog bite asserts that the dog “lunged” at her, clamping down on her left hand as she was walking the hotel grounds.

According to reports, the defendants’ daughter pulled the dog away and told the victim that the dog was a “bad dog” after the bite happened. The injuries suffered by the claimant required several surgeries and caused a staph infection.

Published on:

Sue Gorman was in her home when a neighbor’s pit bill entered through an open patio door and started attacking Ms. Gorman’s two Jack Russell terriers. When Ms. Gorman tried to pull the pit bull off her dogs, the pit bull attacked Ms. Gorman, who suffered multiple bites to her face and arms. Although it took four years for her case to come to trial, Ms. Gorman finally got her day in court–and was awarded $2.2M. As has been said many times, the wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind fairly!

The jury assigned almost half of the legal blame to the County because animal control officials took no action against the owners of the dog, despite the pit bull being the source of more than a dozen complaints from neighbors.

Most local ordinances provide that an animal shall be properly restrained when in public and the violation of one of these “leash laws” is usually enough to establish negligence against the owners of a dog which attacks. This case was complicated by the fact that the County failed to act and issue proper citations when alerted of the prior animal code violations.

For instance, relevant portions of the City of Atlanta Leash and Pet laws are as follows:

Excerpts from the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances

Sec. 110-70. Pets (a) No person shall walk any pet in any park except on a leash, unless the area of the park is explicitly designated as an off-leash dog area. (b) It shall be the responsibility of any person bringing a pet into a public park to clean up any matter excreted by the pet. (c) Leashed pets are not prohibited in public parks except in the following areas of any parks: (1) Amphitheater. (2) Swimming pools and pool areas. (3) Tennis courts. (4) Golf course. (5) Within 15 feet of all fences and structures. (6) Lakes. (7) Zoo. (d) Pets are prohibited in parks during permitted class A, class B, and class C outdoor festivals, as defined in section 138-187 and 138-205. Pets are permitted in parks during class D and class E outdoor festivals, as defined in section 138-187 and 138-205. Any prohibition on pets during any outdoor festival or special event, regardless of whether the outdoor festival is class A, B, C, D, or E, shall not apply to those animals that are part of a performance, exhibit, or other activity conducted as part of the special event or festival, or when those animals are confined to a specific area of the park designated for that purpose. (e) Subsections (c) and (d) of this section shall not apply to any guide dog especially trained for the purpose of accompanying a totally or partially blind person or a deaf person, or a service dog especially trained for the purpose of accompanying a physically disabled person, or a dog trained and licensed by and in the possession of the Atlanta Police Department or any other law enforcement agency, or a horse utilized by the city’s mounted police patrol. (f) Certain defined areas of select parks shall be designated as off-leash dog areas. These areas must be completely fenced with a double-gated entrance and exit system. For any area of a park designated as an off-leash dog area, the rules set forth below shall apply. All of the rules below shall be posted on a sign at each entrance to the off-leash area. In the event that the rules are not posted, users of the area shall still be held responsible for knowing and following the rules, and may be fined or otherwise penalized for failure to abide by such rules. These rules may be augmented by the commissioner or her/his designee should s/he determine that additional rules are needed. (1) All users of the off-leash area shall assume all risk and liability associated with such an area. (2) Owners are responsible for the action of their dogs. Each dog must be kept within sight of her/his owner and under voice control. (3) Dog owners have responsibility for watching their dog’s behavior. If a dog displays aggressive behavior or fights, the owner shall be responsible for immediately controlling or removing the dog from the off-leash area. (4) No more than three dogs per owner shall be allowed in the area at one time. (5) All dogs must wear a collar and ID tag. (6) All dogs must be properly licensed, healthy, and have current vaccinations. (7) No puppies under 16 weeks are allowed. (8) No dogs in heat are allowed. (9) No dogs are permitted to enter with pronged collars. (10) Any dog that barks continually must be removed or muzzled by her/his owner. (11) Owners must clean up after their dogs. (12) The off-leash areas have double gated entrances. Owners must close and latch both gates after entering or exiting the area. (13) No children under the age of 12 are allowed in the area without close adult supervision. (14) The only food of any kind allowed is bite-size dog treats. (15) Do not feed dogs without the owner’s permission. (16) Bicycling, skateboarding, rollerblading, jogging or strollers are not allowed. (17) Dogs are not permitted on benches. (18) The off-leash area may be closed in times of bad weather or for maintenance. (19) Serious problems resulting in injury must be reported immediately to the bureau of parks. (Code 1977, § 10-2015; Ord. No. 2003-112, § 7, 12-9-03; Ord. No. 2005-04, §§ 1, 2, 1-24-05) Cross references: Animals, ch. 18. State law references: Right to have guide dog in public place, O.C.G.A. § 30-4-1. Sec. 110-70.1. Dogs permitted in certain areas of Grant Park (a) For the safety of dogs and zoo animals, dogs shall only be permitted in certain areas of Grant Park, provided the pet is on a leash and controlled by a competent person. (b) It shall be unlawful for any person to permit such person’s dog within the following areas of Grant Park:
(1) Twenty-one acres of the zoo area and buildings (2) Cyclorama building and area (3) Swimming pool and pool area (4) Tennis court area (5) Athletic field areas
(c) It shall be the responsibility of any person bringing a dog into Grant Park to clean up any matter excreted by such pet. Sec. 110-70.2. Dogs permitted in certain areas of Piedmont Park An off-leash pet area for dogs shall be established on a two and one-half acre parcel of specified parkland within Piedmont Park. Said area shall be operated, maintained and supervised with appropriate equipment, supplies, signage, and fencing by the Piedmont Park Conservancy, Inc., at no cost to the City of Atlanta. (Ord. No. 2002-25, § 1, 4-5-02; Ord. No. 2003-78, § 1, 6-24-03; Ord. No. 2005-04, § 3, 1-24-05) Sec. 110-70.4. Dogs permitted in certain areas of Frankie Allen Park (a) An off-leash pet area for dogs shall be established on a half-acre parcel of specified parkland within the Frankie Allen Park. Said area shall be operated, maintained and supervised with appropriate equipment, supplies, signage, and fencing by the David Forehand Memorial Organization, at no cost to the City of Atlanta.?(Ord. No. 2005-54, § 1, 9-12-05)
Sec. 110-70. Pets (a) No person shall walk any pet in any park except on a leash, unless the area of the park is explicitly designated as an off-leash dog area. (b) It shall be the responsibility of any person bringing a pet into a public park to clean up any matter excreted by the pet. (c) Leashed pets are not prohibited in public parks except in the following areas of any parks: (1) Amphitheater. (2) Swimming pools and pool areas. (3) Tennis courts. (4) Golf course. (5) Within 15 feet of all fences and structures. (6) Lakes. (7) Zoo. (d) Pets are prohibited in parks during permitted class A, class B, and class C outdoor festivals, as defined in section 138-187 and 138-205. Pets are permitted in parks during class D and class E outdoor festivals, as defined in section 138-187 and 138-205. Any prohibition on pets during any outdoor festival or special event, regardless of whether the outdoor festival is class A, B, C, D, or E, shall not apply to those animals that are part of a performance, exhibit, or other activity conducted as part of the special event or festival, or when those animals are confined to a specific area of the park designated for that purpose. (e) Subsections (c) and (d) of this section shall not apply to any guide dog especially trained for the purpose of accompanying a totally or partially blind person or a deaf person, or a service dog especially trained for the purpose of accompanying a physically disabled person, or a dog trained and licensed by and in the possession of the Atlanta Police Department or any other law enforcement agency, or a horse utilized by the city’s mounted police patrol. (f) Certain defined areas of select parks shall be designated as off-leash dog areas. These areas must be completely fenced with a double-gated entrance and exit system. For any area of a park designated as an off-leash dog area, the rules set forth below shall apply. All of the rules below shall be posted on a sign at each entrance to the off-leash area. In the event that the rules are not posted, users of the area shall still be held responsible for knowing and following the rules, and may be fined or otherwise penalized for failure to abide by such rules. These rules may be augmented by the commissioner or her/his designee should s/he determine that additional rules are needed. (1) All users of the off-leash area shall assume all risk and liability associated with such an area. (2) Owners are responsible for the action of their dogs. Each dog must be kept within sight of her/his owner and under voice control. ?(3) Dog owners have responsibility for watching their dog’s behavior. If a dog displays aggressive behavior or fights, the owner shall be responsible for immediately controlling or removing the dog from the off-leash area. (4) No more than three dogs per owner shall be allowed in the area at one time. (5) All dogs must wear a collar and ID tag. (6) All dogs must be properly licensed, healthy, and have current vaccinations. (7) No puppies under 16 weeks are allowed. (8) No dogs in heat are allowed. (9) No dogs are permitted to enter with pronged collars. (10) Any dog that barks continually must be removed or muzzled by her/his owner. (11) Owners must clean up after their dogs. (12) The off-leash areas have double gated entrances. Owners must close and latch both gates after entering or exiting the area. (13) No children under the age of 12 are allowed in the area without close adult supervision. (14) The only food of any kind allowed is bite-size dog treats. (15) Do not feed dogs without the owner’s permission. (16) Bicycling, skateboarding, rollerblading, jogging or strollers are not allowed. (17) Dogs are not permitted on benches. (18) The off-leash area may be closed in times of bad weather or for maintenance. (19) Serious problems resulting in injury must be reported immediately to the bureau of parks. (Code 1977, § 10-2015; Ord. No. 2003-112, § 7, 12-9-03; Ord. No. 2005-04, §§ 1, 2, 1-24-05) Cross references: Animals, ch. 18. State law references: Right to have guide dog in public place, O.C.G.A. § 30-4-1. Sec. 110-70.1. Dogs permitted in certain areas of Grant Park (a) For the safety of dogs and zoo animals, dogs shall only be permitted in certain areas of Grant Park, provided the pet is on a leash and controlled by a competent person. (b) It shall be unlawful for any person to permit such person’s dog within the following areas of Grant Park:
(1) Twenty-one acres of the zoo area and buildings (2) Cyclorama building and area (3) Swimming pool and pool area (4) Tennis court area (5) Athletic field areas
(c) It shall be the responsibility of any person bringing a dog into Grant Park to clean up any matter excreted by such pet.Sec. 110-70.2. Dogs permitted in certain areas of Piedmont Park An off-leash pet area for dogs shall be established on a two and one-half acre parcel of specified parkland within Piedmont Park. Said area shall be operated, maintained and supervised with appropriate equipment, supplies, signage, and fencing by the Piedmont Park Conservancy, Inc., at no cost to the City of Atlanta. (Ord. No. 2002-25, § 1, 4-5-02; Ord. No. 2003-78, § 1, 6-24-03; Ord. No. 2005-04, § 3, 1-24-05) Sec. 110-70.4. Dogs permitted in certain areas of Frankie Allen Park (a) An off-leash pet area for dogs shall be established on a half-acre parcel of specified parkland within the Frankie Allen Park. Said area shall be operated, maintained and supervised with appropriate equipment, supplies, signage, and fencing by the David Forehand Memorial Organization, at no cost to the City of Atlanta.(Ord. No. 2005-54, § 1, 9-12-05)
Sec. 110-70. Pets (a) No person shall walk any pet in any park except on a leash, unless the area of the park is explicitly designated as an off-leash dog area. (b) It shall be the responsibility of any person bringing a pet into a public park to clean up any matter excreted by the pet. (c) Leashed pets are not prohibited in public parks except in the following areas of any parks: (1) Amphitheater. (2) Swimming pools and pool areas. (3) Tennis courts. (4) Golf course. (5) Within 15 feet of all fences and structures. (6) Lakes. (7) Zoo. (d) Pets are prohibited in parks during permitted class A, class B, and class C outdoor festivals, as defined in section 138-187 and 138-205. Pets are permitted in parks during class D and class E outdoor festivals, as defined in section 138-187 and 138-205. Any prohibition on pets during any outdoor festival or special event, regardless of whether the outdoor festival is class A, B, C, D, or E, shall not apply to those animals that are part of a performance, exhibit, or other activity conducted as part of the special event or festival, or when those animals are confined to a specific area of the park designated for that purpose. (e) Subsections (c) and (d) of this section shall not apply to any guide dog especially trained for the purpose of accompanying a totally or partially blind person or a deaf person, or a service dog especially trained for the purpose of accompanying a physically disabled person, or a dog trained and licensed by and in the possession of the Atlanta Police Department or any other law enforcement agency, or a horse utilized by the city’s mounted police patrol. (f) Certain defined areas of select parks shall be designated as off-leash dog areas. These areas must be completely fenced with a double-gated entrance and exit system. For any area of a park designated as an off-leash dog area, the rules set forth below shall apply. All of the rules below shall be posted on a sign at each entrance to the off-leash area. In the event that the rules are not posted, users of the area shall still be held responsible for knowing and following the rules, and may be fined or otherwise penalized for failure to abide by such rules. These rules may be augmented by the commissioner or her/his designee should s/he determine that additional rules are needed. (1) All users of the off-leash area shall assume all risk and liability associated with such an area. (2) Owners are responsible for the action of their dogs. Each dog must be kept within sight of her/his owner and under voice control. (3) Dog owners have responsibility for watching their dog’s behavior. If a dog displays aggressive behavior or fights, the owner shall be responsible for immediately controlling or removing the dog from the off-leash area. (4) No more than three dogs per owner shall be allowed in the area at one time. (5) All dogs must wear a collar and ID tag. (6) All dogs must be properly licensed, healthy, and have current vaccinations. (7) No puppies under 16 weeks are allowed. (8) No dogs in heat are allowed. (9) No dogs are permitted to enter with pronged collars. (10) Any dog that barks continually must be removed or muzzled by her/his owner. (11) Owners must clean up after their dogs. (12) The off-leash areas have double gated entrances. Owners must close and latch both gates after entering or exiting the area. (13) No children under the age of 12 are allowed in the area without close adult supervision. (14) The only food of any kind allowed is bite-size dog treats. (15) Do not feed dogs without the owner’s permission. (16) Bicycling, skateboarding, rollerblading, jogging or strollers are not allowed. (17) Dogs are not permitted on benches. (18) The off-leash area may be closed in times of bad weather or for maintenance. (19) Serious problems resulting in injury must be reported immediately to the bureau of parks. (Code 1977, § 10-2015; Ord. No. 2003-112, § 7, 12-9-03; Ord. No. 2005-04, §§ 1, 2, 1-24-05) Cross references: Animals, ch. 18. State law references: Right to have guide dog in public place, O.C.G.A. § 30-4-1. Sec. 110-70.1. Dogs permitted in certain areas of Grant Park (a) For the safety of dogs and zoo animals, dogs shall only be permitted in certain areas of Grant Park, provided the pet is on a leash and controlled by a competent person. (b) It shall be unlawful for any person to permit such person’s dog within the following areas of Grant Park:
(1) Twenty-one acres of the zoo area and buildings (2) Cyclorama building and area (3) Swimming pool and pool area (4) Tennis court area (5) Athletic field areas
(c) It shall be the responsibility of any person bringing a dog into Grant Park to clean up any matter excreted by such pet.Sec. 110-70.2. Dogs permitted in certain areas of Piedmont Park An off-leash pet area for dogs shall be established on a two and one-half acre parcel of specified parkland within Piedmont Park. Said area shall be operated, maintained and supervised with appropriate equipment, supplies, signage, and fencing by the Piedmont Park Conservancy, Inc., at no cost to the City of Atlanta. (Ord. No. 2002-25, § 1, 4-5-02; Ord. No. 2003-78, § 1, 6-24-03; Ord. No. 2005-04, § 3, 1-24-05) Sec. 110-70.4. Dogs permitted in certain areas of Frankie Allen Park (a) An off-leash pet area for dogs shall be established on a half-acre parcel of specified parkland within the Frankie Allen Park. Said area shall be operated, maintained and supervised with appropriate equipment, supplies, signage, and fencing by the David Forehand Memorial Organization, at no cost to the City of Atlanta.?(Ord. No. 2005-54, § 1, 9-12-05)

Sec. 110-70. Pets

(a) No person shall walk any pet in any park except on a leash, unless the area of the park is explicitly designated as an off-leash dog area.
(b) It shall be the responsibility of any person bringing a pet into a public park to clean up any matter excreted by the pet.
(c) Leashed pets are not prohibited in public parks except in the following areas of any parks:
(1) Amphitheater.
(2) Swimming pools and pool areas.
(3) Tennis courts.
(4) Golf course.
(5) Within 15 feet of all fences and structures.
(6) Lakes.
(7) Zoo.
(d) Pets are prohibited in parks during permitted class A, class B, and class C outdoor festivals, as defined in section 138-187 and 138-205. Pets are permitted in parks during class D and class E outdoor festivals, as defined in section 138-187 and 138-205. Any prohibition on pets during any outdoor festival or special event, regardless of whether the outdoor festival is class A, B, C, D, or E, shall not apply to those animals that are part of a performance, exhibit, or other activity conducted as part of the special event or festival, or when those animals are confined to a specific area of the park designated for that purpose.
(e) Subsections (c) and (d) of this section shall not apply to any guide dog especially trained for the purpose of accompanying a totally or partially blind person or a deaf person, or a service dog especially trained for the purpose of accompanying a physically disabled person, or a dog trained and licensed by and in the possession of the Atlanta Police Department or any other law enforcement agency, or a horse utilized by the city’s mounted police patrol.
(f) Certain defined areas of select parks shall be designated as off-leash dog areas. These areas must be completely fenced with a double-gated entrance and exit system. For any area of a park designated as an off-leash dog area, the rules set forth below shall apply. All of the rules below shall be posted on a sign at each entrance to the off-leash area. In the event that the rules are not posted, users of the area shall still be held responsible for knowing and following the rules, and may be fined or otherwise penalized for failure to abide by such rules. These rules may be augmented by the commissioner or her/his designee should s/he determine that additional rules are needed.
(1) All users of the off-leash area shall assume all risk and liability associated with such an area.
(2) Owners are responsible for the action of their dogs. Each dog must be kept within sight of her/his owner and under voice control.
(3) Dog owners have responsibility for watching their dog’s behavior. If a dog displays aggressive behavior or fights, the owner shall be responsible for immediately controlling or removing the dog from the off-leash area.
(4) No more than three dogs per owner shall be allowed in the area at one time.
(5) All dogs must wear a collar and ID tag.
(6) All dogs must be properly licensed, healthy, and have current vaccinations.
(7) No puppies under 16 weeks are allowed.
(8) No dogs in heat are allowed.
(9) No dogs are permitted to enter with pronged collars.
(10) Any dog that barks continually must be removed or muzzled by her/his owner.
(11) Owners must clean up after their dogs.
(12) The off-leash areas have double gated entrances. Owners must close and latch both gates after entering or exiting the area.
(13) No children under the age of 12 are allowed in the area without close adult supervision.
(14) The only food of any kind allowed is bite-size dog treats.
(15) Do not feed dogs without the owner’s permission.
(16) Bicycling, skateboarding, rollerblading, jogging or strollers are not allowed.
(17) Dogs are not permitted on benches.
(18) The off-leash area may be closed in times of bad weather or for maintenance.
(19) Serious problems resulting in injury must be reported immediately to the bureau of parks.
(Code 1977, § 10-2015; Ord. No. 2003-112, § 7, 12-9-03; Ord. No. 2005-04, §§ 1, 2, 1-24-05)

Cross references: Animals, ch. 18.

State law references: Right to have guide dog in public place, O.C.G.A. § 30-4-1.

Sec. 110-70.1. Dogs permitted in certain areas of Grant Park

(a) For the safety of dogs and zoo animals, dogs shall only be permitted in certain areas of Grant Park, provided the pet is on a leash and controlled by a competent person.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to permit such person’s dog within the following areas of Grant Park:

(1) Twenty-one acres of the zoo area and buildings
(2) Cyclorama building and area
(3) Swimming pool and pool area
(4) Tennis court area
(5) Athletic field areas

(c) It shall be the responsibility of any person bringing a dog into Grant Park to clean up any matter excreted by such pet.

Sec. 110-70.2. Dogs permitted in certain areas of Piedmont Park 

An off-leash pet area for dogs shall be established on a two and one-half acre parcel of specified parkland within Piedmont Park. Said area shall be operated, maintained and supervised with appropriate equipment, supplies, signage, and fencing by the Piedmont Park Conservancy, Inc., at no cost to the City of Atlanta.
(Ord. No. 2002-25, § 1, 4-5-02; Ord. No. 2003-78, § 1, 6-24-03; Ord. No. 2005-04, § 3, 1-24-05)

Sec. 110-70.4. Dogs permitted in certain areas of Frankie Allen Park

(a) An off-leash pet area for dogs shall be established on a half-acre parcel of specified parkland within the Frankie Allen Park. Said area shall be operated, maintained and supervised with appropriate equipment, supplies, signage, and fencing by the David Forehand Memorial Organization, at no cost to the City of Atlanta.
(Ord. No. 2005-54, § 1, 9-12-05)

Continue reading

Published on:

As an Atlanta Dog Bite Lawyer, I know that dog bites are a serious public health problem that can inflict considerable physical and emotion damages on victims and their families. Each year, more than 800,000 Americans seek medical treatment for dog bites. Sadly, half of these dog bite victims are children. In fact, in 2000, dog bites were the 5th largest cause of non-fatal injuries treated in children aged 14 and younger, just behind motor vehicle accidents, suffocation, drowning, and injuries due to falls and sports injuries.

Common dog bite injuries include disfigurement, permanent nerve damage, complex trauma to muscle tissue, and severe psychological consequences. In addition, dog bite-related injuries result in an average of 30 deaths each year. Children are exposed to many hazards and risks as they grow and develop into adulthood, and accident related injuries are the leading cause of death and disability for children and teenagers in the United States. The physical, social, cultural, political and economic environments in which they live can significantly increase or decrease their injury risks.

Dog bites in children, because of their smaller size, are frequently on the face. Such injuries to the face can be complex and may require specialists such as plastic surgeons, ear, nose, and throat doctors, and eye doctors. About 1 in 7 children who receive emergency treatment for dog bites to the face sustain ophthalmic eye injuries, which are more likely to have complications and need revision surgery that other injuries.
Continue reading

Published on:

An article in today’s Atlanta Journal Constitution never mentions legal liability and dog bites, but it highlights owner responsibility none the less. According to Manning, most people believe the danger a dog poses is based on the dog owner’s training and treatment of the animal. Many people still feel that some breeds, like pit-bulls, german shepherds, shar peis, or american Stafford terriers, are more dangerous, but opinions differ as to whether the danger is in the breed or the attitude of the people who raise them.

Dog attacks can be terrifying and result in severe injuries, not only from the bite itself, but through defensive or evasive actions by the victim. Many times, if the victim of a dog bite is very young, the incident leads to a life-time fear of dogs. This can be a terrible “life sentence” as there are few families that don’t own a dog and there are so many situations that involve interacting with a dog. Needless to say, this type of situation contributes to a huge portion of the damages that a dog bite victim seeks. In other cases, the damages, in the form of medical bills, can be staggering. In vicious dog bite attacks, the victims must undergo multiple surgeries to correct the damages caused by the dog attack. It might start in the emergency room to stop the bleeding and stabilize the victim, but it usually does not end there. Most times, other surgeries are required to reduce the wound and/or scarring and to deal with nerve damage which results from a lot of dog bites.
Continue reading

Published on:

A 14-year-old girls from the Atlanta suburb of McDonough was tragically killed yesterday. According to witnesses who saw incident the young girl was struck by a car while she was walking to her school bus stop after backing into the street when she came upon a roaming pit bull, which approached her aggressively.

According to Henry County Police Major Jason Bolton, the driver of the car which struck the girl will probably not be cited for fault, as the cause of the accident appears to stem from the loose pit bull.
Continue reading

Awards
Contact Information