A recent story about a police dog in Roswell, Georgia is a good reminder that some dog attacks are the result of training and deserve some special consideration. In that story, a teen suspect was complying with police direction when he was attacked by the officer’s dog. The dog failed to respond to commands to stop, and as a result, the teen suffered severe dog bite injuries when the dog failed to respond to commands.
Most dog bite cases involve a private citizen who owns the dog as a pet. The dog may have a history of attacking and biting people, but in many cases, they do not. In those cases, the owner of the dog is typically negligent in keeping the dog under his or her control. In other cases, such as the one linked to above, the dog is trained to attack other people on command.
Negligence in Dog Bite Cases Under Georgia Law
In a case where you are claiming the dog’s owner was negligent, Georgia Code Section 51-2-7 requires that you prove the following:
- The dog was vicious or dangerous;
- The owner was careless in managing the dog or allowing it to go “at liberty;”
- The injured person did not provoke the dog.
A police dog or other guard dog is specifically trained to be dangerous to people identified by the dog’s owner. As a result, proving the first element is fairly simple. And unless the victim was doing nothing wrong whatsoever, it’s likely that the dog owner would allege that the victim provoked the dog in some way. As a result, whether the dog’s owner should be held liable is going to focus on how the dog was handled.
In the Roswell case, the investigation should, therefore, focus on the following:
- Whether the dog was properly trained;
- Whether the dog had a history or failing to follow commands or attacking suspects unprovoked;
- Whether the officer failed to give the appropriate commands or otherwise handled the dog inappropriately; and/or
- Whether the dog should not have been released in the first place.
Most of the evidence needed to answer these questions can be found in the public records. However, getting access to these records requires that you submit a written request and can be a little tricky. An experienced attorney can help you navigate this process.
Dog bite injuries can be very serious, especially when caused by a dog that is trained to immobilize the other person. Here are some of the most common dog bite injuries:
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Severe lacerations
- Damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments, tissues, and possibly bones
- Psychological and emotional trauma; PTSD
Treating these injuries can require surgery and perhaps weeks or even months of physical therapy. As a result, you may be facing significant medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses, not to mention the pain and suffering that you will experience throughout the process.
Contact an Atlanta Metro Area Dog Bite Attorney
If you’ve been attacked by a vicious dog, you should contact an attorney right away. The attorneys at Slappey & Sadd have been helping dog bite victims across Georgia since 1992. Our attorneys can evaluate your case and help you understand your options. Call us at 404-255-6677 or email us via our online contact form in order to schedule a free consultation.