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Georgia Dog Bite Legal Questions Answered: My neighbor is claiming my child provoked her dog to bite. Can I still take legal action?

Published February 12, 2018 by Bruce Millar

Georgia Dog Bite Legal Questions Answered:   What is the law in Georgia if a person (or a child) provokes a dog to bite? Failure to keep a dog secure can be considered negligence on the part of the owner, but if a victim was partially responsible for provoking the dog this factor could reduce, or even eliminate, the amount of compensation paid for a claim, or whether there is a claim at all.  O.C.G.A. 51-2-7

In any dog bite claim or case, it is often necessary to first determine whether the dog owner was negligent. When a chain or leash breaks, this can be considered careless handling of a dog. If the dog’s owner knew the animal was vicious or if there are ordinances prohibiting the dog from running free, the dog’s owner may be liable for an attack, even if the animal broke a chain or leash to get to the victim or escaped from the owner’s yard.

One defense that dog owners frequently raise is provocation.  Under Georgia’s Dog Bite Statute, O.C.G.A. 51-2-7, if the victim is determined to have provoked the bite or attack, a dog owner may have a complete defense.  Therefore, it is important to determine exactly what happened.  This is where eyewitness testimony and prompt investigation can make the difference between winning and losing a case.  Keep in mind that many dog owners also falsely claim that the bite was provoked.  Therefore, careful and thorough investigation of any dog attack is advised.


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