Dog Bites on the Rise in Georgia

Dog Bite Bacterias

Earlier this year, a five year old girl and six-year old boy were attacked and critically injured by three pitbulls in Atlanta, GA who managed to escape through an opening in their owner’s fence. Tragically, the six year old boy succumbed to his injuries.

Dog Bites and Attacks in Georgia

Unfortunately, dog bites and attacks are steadily increasing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States.  Dog bites can cause injuries that place you at a risk for infection or even death.

Preventing Dog Bites

People that live and work in close proximity with dogs should take precautions to protect themselves from being bitten.  The CDC has provided the following basic safety tips:

Do:

  • Remain motionless (still) if an unfamiliar dog approaches you.
  • Curl into a ball-like position, tucking your head, and using your hands to protect your ears and neck, if you are knocked down by a dog.
  • Immediately contact  your local Animal Control if you see stray dogs

Don’t:

  • Approach a stray or unfamiliar dog
  • Panic or make loud noises
  • Run
  • Approach or disrupt a dog while it is eating, sleeping, or caring for puppies
  • Let small children play with a dog unsupervised
  • Pet a dog without letting it smell you first

What to do if an unfamiliar dog approaches you:

  • Remain calm and still
  • Do not panic or make loud noises
  • Avoid direct eye contact with the unfamiliar dog
  • Stand with the side of your body facing the dog.  Facing it directly may indicate a threat to the dog.
  • Wait for the dog to pass or back away slowly

What if you are bitten or attacked by a dog?

  • Create a barrier between you and the dog with items of clothing or bags
  • Immediately wash and disinfect the wounds with soap and water
  • Immediately seek medical attention
  • Contact your local animal control agency or police department to report the incident
  • Get the appropriate testing for infections

Can I get a disease if I am bitten by a dog?

In addition to the injury, germs can be spread from the dog to the bite victim.  According to the CDC, on average, 18% of dog bites become infected.   In fact, the following diseases can result from dog bites:

  • Rabies:  can affect the brain and is almost always fatal.  It is commonly spread through the bite and saliva of an infected animal
  • Capnoctyophaga: Bacteria that lives in the mouths of humans, dogs, and cats.  It can be spread through bites, scratches, or close contact from a dog.
  • Pasteurella: A type of bacteria seen in over 50% of infected dog bite wounds.  It commonly causes painful, red infection at the site of the bite.  Some symptoms are swollen glands, swelling of the joints, and difficulty moving.
  • MRSA: A type of staph infection that is resistant to a certain group of antibiotics.  It can spread to the bloodstream or lungs and cause life-threatening infections.
  • Tetanus: A toxin produced by a type of bacteria which can cause rigid paralysis and could be a problem in deep bite wounds.

Georgia’s Dog Bite Law:

In Georgia, a dog is generally entitled to “one bite” before it is classified as a dangerous or vicious animal.  If a dog has not bitten before, there may be others ways to establish that the dog was vicious and dangerous in terms of liability.  For example, showing that a dog that was unleashed in violation of a local leash law at the time of the bite may be enough to overcome Georgia’s “one-bite” rule.

I was bitten by a dog and incurred medical expenses.  Can I recover from the dog owner?

In Georgia, an injured party may seek compensation for both financial loss incurred and for pain and suffering.  However, Millar & Mixon has successfully recovered thousands of dollars for clients who sustained injuries from a dog bite.  If you or a loved one has been bitten, contact us today for a free consultation with one of our compassionate and experienced team members.

Want More Information about GA Dog Bites? Use these resources:

Dog Bite Lawyer Georgia 

Dog Owner Responsibility in Georgia 

Preventing Dog Bite Injuries in Georgia 

Why do dog’s bite? Dog Bite Injury Lawyer

Georgia Dog Bite FAQs