What Is Georgia’s Leash Law?

Posted in Personal Injury on December 16, 2020

Dogs are a major part of many people’s lives in Georgia. As arguably the most popular pet in the state, it is crucial to understand that there are various laws regarding the ownership of dogs. Georgia does not have a statewide leash law in place. However, most Georgia counties and municipalities do have laws that stipulate when a dog must be restrained. Dog owners who fail to follow appropriate leash laws could find themselves liable for any injuries caused by their unleashed dog.

What are Georgia’s leash laws?

There are around 70 to 80 million dogs in US households. When looking at data available from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we can see that there are an estimated 4.7 million dog bite injuries that occur each year across the country. Out of these incidents, approximately 800,000 people require emergency medical care. Unfortunately, dog bite injuries can be severe. It is not uncommon for dog bite injury victims to sustain the following:

  • Severe soft tissue damage
  • Severed muscles, arteries, veins, or tendons
  • Significant scarring and disfigurement
  • Emotional and psychological trauma

Leash laws are designed to prevent these injuries from occurring in the first place.

As we mentioned above, there is no statewide leash law in Georgia. However, you must find out whether your local county or municipality has a leash law in place. There is a good chance that the area that you live in does have some sort of leash law. For example, we can look at domestic animal laws in Atlanta to see how some municipalities handle animal restraints:

  • Animals cannot run at large within the city limits, meaning an animal must be restrained outside of a person’s personal property.
  • Any animal a person takes off of their property must be restrained by a leash or under the control of a competent person.
  • A leash must be attached to a properly fitting collar or harness and not directly wrapped around the animal’s neck.
  • A dog’s leash cannot be more than 6 feet in length.
  • If you do not have an enclosed yard, a dog must be kept on a leash even on the property when they are outside of the home.

Many jurisdictions in GA have similar animal restraint laws in place.

Should you contact an attorney?

According to data available from the Insurance Information Institute, the average cost of a dog bite claim is approximately $40,000. If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to an unrestrained dog, you may need to seek assistance from an attorney. Georgia operates under a negligence system concerning liability and dog bite cases. This means that the dog’s owner generally must have known that the dog might be dangerous or vicious in order for them to be held liable for a dog bite. However, failing to keep an animal properly restrained when a leash ordinance is in place is typically enough to show the dog owner’s negligence.

An Atlanta personal injury attorney will be able to help you gather the evidence needed to prove liability in your case so you or a loved one can obtain the compensation you need for your injuries. This can include coverage of medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering damages, and more.

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