Dog bite injuries are considered a public health concern. Local Health Departments work with organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) to bring awareness to dog bite statistics, Georgia laws concerning dog bites, and dog bite prevention.
Dog Bite Statistics
According to the CDC, each year:
- Around 4.7 million people are bitten by a dog
- It is estimated that only 17 percent of dog bites are reported
- Around 800,000 dog bite injuries require medical attention
- Around 16 people die each year due to dog bites
- Half of all dog bite cases involve children
- 80 percent of dog bite cases involve a neighbors dog, or a family pet
- About 8 percent of dog bites to people 16 or older were work-related
- Almost 28,000 dog bite patients required reconstructive surgeries in 2012
The people most vulnerable to dog bites are children between the ages of five and nine years old, and elderly individuals. These individuals are less likely to fend off an attack, and are more likely to suffer serious injuries.
Pitbulls get the most attention as a dangerous breed, but the CDC has identified 25 breeds that are commonly involved in fatal dog bite cases. These include:
|German Shepherd||Collie||Chow Chow|
|Husky||Australian Shepherd||Great Dane|
|Doberman Pinscher||Newfoundland||Chesapeake Bay Retriever|
|Sled-Type||Terriers||West Highland Terrier|
|Lab-Retriever||Saint Bernard||Cocker Spaniel|
Dog Bites and Georgia Law
Georgia is one of the 10 states that has the highest rate of dog bite claims each year. Georgia law (O.C.G.A. 51-2-7) states that animal owners may be held legally liable for injuries caused by their animals. Owners may be held liable if they were careless, allowed the animal to roam, or violated city or county ordinances.
In Georgia, many cities and counties have individual ordinances for dogs, including some relating to specific breeds. For example, College Park has an ordinance that deems Pitbulls, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds as “potentially dangerous”. LaGrange and Lawrenceville both have ordinances restricting pitbulls and placing special regulations for residents wanting to own one.
Several counties have also implemented ordinances and have “cracked down” on roaming dogs in an effort to reduce high rates of dog attacks. The three Georgia Counties with the highest rate of dog bite attacks include:
- Chatham – 152 bites per 100,000 residents
- Bulloch – 87 bites per 100,000 residents
- Effingham – 24 bites per 100,000 residents
Dog bites can happen anywhere, and are certainly not limited to these three counties, or the cities listed above. In fact, many dog bites attack in populated areas like neighborhoods or parks.
Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Georgia
If you have been injured by a dog attack, you may be considering filing a dog bite lawsuit. In Georgia, you can do so as long as you can prove:
- The dog is/was dangerous or vicious
- The owner was careless or let the dog roam “at liberty”, which caused the injury
- You did not provoke the dog
You have two years from the date of your dog bite injury to file a claim. When you file a dot bite lawsuit in Georgia, you may be able to recover damages for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, physical injuries, lost wages, and possibly other losses.
The best way to determine what your legal options are is to contact a Douglasville dog bite attorney to discuss the details of your case. At The Embry Law Firm, we offer every potential client a free consultation, so contact us today at 844-443-6279.