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Dog Bites are Up in Georgia as COVID-19 Pandemic Drags On

Many people in Atlanta have surmised that dogs have never been happier since Covid-19 has resulted in lots of dog walks and added attention from their owners. In a surprising development, the number of dog bites are up as people and their pets are spending more time together, at home in often stressful situations, but there are also attacks involving dogs outside. To add insult to injury, a lot of the increased dog attacks are directed at children, with some requiring emergency room care.

In almost all in-town counties such as Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, and Cobb, a dog’s owner must comply with the local leash law, or liability is attached to the attack via the legal argument of negligence per se. Some county residents are relaying instances of dogs not on a leash and being spooked by masked walkers and the end result is predictable: A dog attack and avoidable injuries.

In the City of Atlanta, dog owners have a duty to keep their dogs leashed and under control as follows:

  • Sec. 18-62. – Duty of owner to keep dog under control.

    It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dog or for any person having a dog in such person’s possession and control to permit the dog to be out of control and unattended off the premises of the owner in that part of the city within DeKalb County or upon the property of another person without permission of the owner or person in possession thereof.

  • Sec. 18-63. – Definition of dog under control.

    A dog is under control if the dog is controlled by a leash, is at heal or is beside a competent person and obedient to that person’s commands or is within a vehicle being driven or parked on the streets or is within the property limits of the dog’s owner.

Failure to comply with these statutory requirements will result on legal liability to the owner for any injuries and damages that their dog causes. In rural counties, the duty to control your dog is not always as clear as in an city or urban county. In addition, a lot of rural dog owners fail to socialize their dogs and let them run wild. The result again: predictable attacks and injuries that certainly could be prevented. But, even without specific leash laws, rural owners of dogs are found to be liable for the injuries that their dogs inflict on others.

For over 25 years, Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling dog attacks, medical malpractice and other personal injury lawsuits for individuals and families who have been injured or died as a result of the negligence or malpractice of others in the Atlanta, Georgia area. He is a partner in the law firm of Katz Wright Fleming & Dodson, LLC and regularly handles cases in Atlanta as well as Alpharetta, Brookhaven, College Park, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, Smyrna, Peachtree City, and other cities in Georgia. He is committed to making a difference in his clients’ lives. If you or family member have been seriously injured or died as a result of negligence and would like quality legal representation or if you would just like to consult about a potential case, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.

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