How do I find and hire the Best South Atlanta, Jonesboro, or Clayton County Dog Bite Lawyer?

Statistic of dog bites per year in Georgia Make certain that any lawyer or law office you interview for a dog bite claim is familiar with the local ordinances and leash laws (see below), and has experience with investigating, settling and trials of dog bite cases.  Check out the dog bite lawyers with 4 and 5 star reviews, and ask for personal recommendations.  The Millar Law Firm is highly rated and routinely handles Clayton County and Jonesboro dog bite cases.  We are happy to discuss our experience and past results with anyone looking for a dog bite injury case attorney.

We understand that dog bites can, and do, occur in day-to-day life and in almost any situation, including people walking their dogs, guests visiting a home, bites by leashed dogs, professional delivery drivers attacked while working for amazon or UPS or the postal service (and other companies), and many other ways.  Your goal is to hold the dog owner responsible.  But, how do you do this?

How do I Win or recover a settlement in a Jonesboro or South Atlanta Dog Attack Case?

In South Atlanta, including Clayton County and its Cities:  Jonesboro, Forest Park, Riverdale, Ellenwood and other local towns, just like anyplace in the State, you or your attorney can win your dog bite case by proving that the dog’s owner new the dog was “vicious” or “dangerous.”

Win using Georgia’s favorable dog bite laws. See, Dog Bite Law in Georgia.  You win your case by showing that the dog’s owner knew or should have known that the dog had a tendency to bite or attack humans or other animals.  Some people might call this the First or Free Bite Rule – although strictly speaking, a prior bite is not actually required in Georgia to have a case.  Generally speaking, if you were bitten while on the private property of the dog’s owner, you may need to prove the owner or keeper’s knowledge of prior aggression and the owner’s failure to keep the dog controlled, meaning safely confined away from other people.  Failure to do this can be considered careless management or negligence.

However, knowledge that a dog is dangerous can also come from Georgia State law O.C.G.A. 51-2-7.   This law tells us that a dog’s vicious nature is presumed when a dog is roaming free in violation of a local leash law – under this law no prior bite or attack needs to be proven.  An owner whose dog is presumed to be vicious generally loses unless he or she can prove that the victim provoked the attack or some other unfortunate event caused the bite.   You can learn even more about Georgia’s dog bite statute in our legal guides.

Please enjoy these dog bite Safety Tips about how to prevent bites before they happen.  But if you have already been bitten — to help you prove your case — we have included some of the most important Local Ordinances, including Clayton and Henry County Georgia’s Codes and the animal control enforcement rules and laws for most Cities in south-metro Atlanta.   Dog control and confinement laws can vary from County to County and City to City.  We hope you find this a valuable Georgia legal resource.

Safety Tips To Prevent Dog Bites in Jonesboro

Clayton County, GA Animal Control Ordinances (County Leash Laws)

Clayton County has several local laws that relate to controlling dogs:

Sec. 14-114(b). Control of dogs when off owner’s premises.  Clayton County Leash Law.  When a dog is off the premises of the owner, the dog must be on a leash nor more than 6 feet long, and the dog must be under control of a competent person who is at least 14 years old.

Sec. 14-114(a). Confinement of animals, vicious animals, etc..This local law requires dog owners to confine their dog:

(1) within a fence or enclosure high and secure enough to prevent a dog from escaping by jumping or digging, or other means.  A fence or enclosure must be at least twice as tall as the dog, measured from the top of the dog’s head while standing on all four feet, but no more than 6 feet tall.

(2) Dog owners may also confine their dog inside of a house, garage or other building, if there is adequate ventilation and fresh air.

(3) Dog owners may also use a cable line or trolley system, but only one dog or animal may be attached to each cable or trolley system.  A dog may only be attached to the cable or trolley for less than 12 hours per day.  Also, a dog may not be attached between 10 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

City of Jonesboro, GA Animal Control Laws (Jonesboro Leash Laws)

Buildings in Jonesboro, GA

The City of Jonesboro also has its own set of laws about dogs:

Jonesboro Sec. 14-14.  Duty to keep animal under restraint while off property.  The City of Jonesboro, Georgia Leash Law.  A dog owner must keep a dog under control while off-property, meaning on a leash secured by a competent person or secured in an enclosure or a vehicle.

Jonesboro Sec. 14-1.  Definitions:  Animal under restraint means any animal (1) secured by a leash or lead or enclosed by a fence, (2) under the control of a responsible person, or (3) confined in a vehicle.

Jonesboro Sec. 14-4.  Animals at large; Impoundment.  The City requires that every dog owner keep their dog under restraint within the city.  Any dog or other animal not under restraint may be impounded and transported to the county pound.

Jonesboro Sec. 14-12.  Running at large prohibited.  It is unlawful for a dog owner to allow a dog to run unattended on the streets of the city.  (Interestingly, this restriction does not apply to cats).

Jonesboro Sec. 14-13.  Duty to keep animal under restraint while on property.  A dog owner must abide by the rules requiring restraint, so that the dog may not wander off the property limits of the owner.

College Park, Georgia Animal Control Laws (local ordinances)

College Park Sec. 4-9 (a)(1) – (4).  Confinement of dogs:  The College Park, Georgia Leash Law. An owner or keeper (harborer or custodian) of an animal, including a dog must, inside of city of College Park limits, keep or confine the animal on a leash not more than 6 feet long and controlled by a competent person; or keep the dog inside an enclosure or fenced area; or inside a pet carrier or crate; or inside of a house or structure.

College Park Sec. 4-9-(b)(1-4). Tethering of Animals:  It is against the law to anchor or tie, using a tether, any dog or other animal, unless the tethering is temporary and while the dog is supervised by the owner or keeper, who is physically present with the canine.  Tethers may not be around the dog’s neck and must be attached to a properly, and not excessively heavy or confining, fitted harness or collar.

College Park Sec. 4-9-(c)(1). Electronic Confinement of Dogs:  An invisible fence or electronic confinement system may be used if it is kept in working order and the dog has the correct electronic collar.  A dog owner or keeper using an electronic dog control system or “fence” is required to post a sign announcing that the system is in place and being used on the property.

College Park Sec. 4-9-(c)(2). Electronic Fencing or Dangerous, Vicious or Guard Dogs: The City of College Park does not allow Guard dogs or dogs that have been defined as or declared by a court as dangerous, vicious or potentially dangerous dogs.

Forest Park, Georgia Animal Control Ordinances

Forest Park Sec. 11-3-21. – Running at large prohibited; leash required.  The Forest Park, Georgia Leash Law. Owners or persons with custody of a dog or cat inside Forest Park city limits is required to keep the animal confined on the premises of the owner or person responsible to supervise the dog or cat.  Dogs and cats are not permitted to run at large on any streets, alleys, or anywhere else in the City unless supervised and on a leash no more than six (6) feet long.

Forest Park Sec. 11-3-22. – Duty to keep animal under restraint while on property.   Every dog owner or person having an animal in their possession and control must insure that the animal is confined by a fence or enclosure or is on a chain or leash or restrained so that it cannot escape the property of its owner or keeper.

Lake City, Georgia Animal Control Laws

Lake City Sec. 8-27. Confinement; Leash RequiredThe Lake City Leash Law.  A dog’s owner living inside Lake City limits must confine or keep his or her dog  on the property or premises of the owner, but a the owner or a competent person may supervise a dog off the owner’s premises, if on a leash  that is not more than 6 feet long.

Sec. 8-28. – Impoundment of dogs running at large.  In Lake City, a dog is considered to be “at large ” if it is off the owner’s premises and the dog is not on a leash, per section 8-27.  Dogs at large in the city shall be impounded.

Lake City Sec. 8-61. Appointment of Dog or Animal Control Officer.  The municipality of Lake City, Georgia has appointed Clayton County’s animal control officer and animal control Board to enforce the dangerous dog control law

Morrow, Georgia Animal Control City Ordinances

Morrow Sec. 11-3-13. – Control of dogs.  The Morrow, Georgia Leash Law. An owner or  person controlling,or harboring a dog within the city limits shall confine the dog on the owner’s property using an aerial dog run/ trolley system or inside an adequate fence or enclosure or within a house. All dogs off of the property of the owner or keeper must be on a leash not more than six feet in length and under the control of a competent person, also based upon the size of the dog.

Morrow Sec. 11-3-14. – Impoundment.   Dogs or cats running at large, animals whose ownership is unknown, vicious dogs that are not properly confined, dogs or cats that have bitten, animals with expired tags, animals without vaccination or when vaccination is expired, or dogs and cats suspected of having rabies may be impounded.

Morrow Sec. 11-3-15. – Removal of excrement.    Any person owning or having care, charge, control (walking) a dog must remove any excrement (dog poop) left on any sidewalk, gutter, street, or the right-of-way.  This includes along or in front of a residential yard, lot, public park or other area public area.

Morrow Sec. 11-3-8. – Running at large.  It is a violation of law for the an owner or keeper of a dog or other animal to let the animal run at large or roam in the city of Morrow.

Morrow Sec. 11-3-8.1. – Vicious animals; restraint required, evidence of viciousness.  It is unlawful for any person to possess a manifestly vicious animal unless the dog or animal is securely and humanely confined to prevent bites or attacks; and it shall be prima facie evidence (“proof”) of the viciousness of the animal or dog it it, without provocation, bites or attacks a person or animal when it is not on the owner’s premises.

Riverdale, Georgia Animal Control Laws and City Ordinances

Riverdale Sec. 14-3 (a)(b). – Confinement of animals.  A person owning or with custody of a dog or cat shall confine it to the owner’s property or the premises of  a responsible person.   Animals are not allowed to run at large on any street, alley, park, property owned by another,  Owners must keep animals on  a leash not more than six feet in length and  under control of a competent person.  Dog owners must confine a dog while on the owner’s property inside an adequate fence or enclosure that prevents the dog’s escape by jumping, digging or any other way.

Riverdale Sec. 14-3 (d).  (Dogs in Restaurants and stores).    An owner may not allow an animal such as a dog to enter a store, restaurant or place where food is being sold, except legitimate service animals for blind, hearing impaired or handicapped persons and law enforcement purposes.

Clayton County Animal Control Information

If you need to report a dog attack or dog bite in Jonesboro or in Clayton County, Georgia, Animal Control is located behind the Clayton County Police Department at 1396 Government Circle, Jonesboro, GA 30236 and the telephone number is 770-477-3509.  In the event of any dog bite or dog attack, we recommend you make a report with animal control.

An animal control report is essential to investigating and proving your case.  It is also going to be extremely useful in speaking with the insurance company about your dog bite injury claim or lawsuit.

Henry County, Georgia Leash Law

Henry County Sec. 34-1-1 Definitions.  Under-Restraint.  An animal under restraint means it is secured by a leash or lead with a collar, or enclosed inside an enclosure or adequate fence.  A dog or other animal must be in the care of a competent person at least 16 years old and the animal must be obedient to commands and located within the bounds of owned or leased premises.

Stockbridge, Georgia Animal Control Ordinance

Stockbrige Sec. 11.12.010 – Codification of Henry County Animal Control Ordinance.  The City of Stockbridge has adopted Henry County’ Georgia’s animal control laws, and has made them the official animal control ordinances of Stockbridge, GA.

McDonough, Georgia Animal Control Laws and City Ordinance

6.10.020 – Definitions.  Animal Under Restraint.  Means any  dog or other animal shall be secured by a leash or lead with a collar, or enclosed in a fence or enclosure and under the supervision of a competent person at least sixteen years old and obedient to commands.  The dog or other animal shall be kept inside the boundaries of property owned or leased or occupied by the owner or keeper. This definition shall not apply to cats.

McDonough Sec. 6.10.130 – Control of animals; confinement.  An animal or dog owner must maintain their premises so as not to constitute a private nuisance a nuisance to neighbor or the public generally. Pens and  enclosures must be kept and maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.  Dogs and other animals must be kept so as not to disturb other persons by making noise.

How to hold a dog owner responsible for your injuries, medical bills and pain and suffering

Jonesboro GA Dog Bite Claims Information
Holding a dog owner liable to pay your medical bills and for items like your pain and suffering and for scars is important to you and your family.  Making an animal control report, seeking prompt medical care, and investigation are the keys to success.

You, an animal control officer or an attorney must determine who owns a dog.  Then you must investigate to discover if the dog had previously bitten or menaced humans or other animals, or if the dog’s owner was violating one of the Clayton County or City of Jonesboro leash laws.

A claim should be presented to the dog owner’s renters or home owners insurance company, if they have insurance.  Finally, the extent and value of the claim must be determined and requested from the insurance adjuster, usually this is done using a demand package that contains all past and future medical records, bills and future cost estimates.

Each step in the legal process is important and cannot be overlooked.

How The Millar Law Firm takes action in a Jonesboro or Clayton County dog attack case

Outside The Millar Law Firms Jonesboro officeAs soon as you contact our law office, we will begin to investigate your case.  Often we can determine before your first appointment with us whether the dog owner has insurance and whether an animal control report exists.  We will counsel and advise you and answer your questions by telephone, free of charge (our free consultation with an attorney can take place on the phone as soon as you call us, or in-person by appointment).  We will determine which laws apply, and how best to investigate your case – whether it is to prove the dog had prior bite or aggression issues, or if the dog was wandering in violation of a Georgia county or city leash law.  There is no charge for our services unless we later recover money for you.  This means, no charge for your consultation or case investigation.  Our knowledge and experience with dog bite cases is such that we are usually able to determine quickly and efficiently if you have a good case, and what you should do first to maximize your case value.

How much is a Clayton County or Jonesboro dog bite case worth for settlement or trial?

Insurance companies know that Clayton County is an excellent place for injured persons to seek justice.  Jury’s in our county are known for being fair and honorable when it comes to making awards, when it is necessary for a case to be brought court.  Between 2010 and 2015 industry studies have estimated the average settlement value of a dog bite case in Georgia at between $25,000.00 and $35,000.00.  Based on our experience in Clayton County, we believe that our results line up well with these statistics, if not exceed them somewhat.

Of course, the more serious the bite injury the larger the case value.  Our dog bite lawyers have tried and settled cases for amounts up to and exceeding $2,000,000.00.  For example, in 2017 we settled a case for the policy limits of $300,000.00 for a young man who had a finger-tip bitten off while trying to save his dog from another dog’s attack.  In 2015, Bruce Millar obtained a Verdict in the State Court of Gwinnett County for $2,000,000.00 for a school teacher who was bitten on the face by a pit bull and was left with a serious scar.

These are just a few examples of our verdicts and settlements.  Our firm has handled well over 100 Georgia dog bite cases that have settled for policy limits after being carefully and thoroughly investigated and worked up.  In Georgia, homeowner’s insurance policy limits are frequently either $100,000.00 or $300,000.00, although these limits can vary greatly from home to home.

How long will a South Atlanta dog bite case take to settle?

Jonesboro, GA Law Firm BuildingOur Dog Bite Attorneys have usually been able to settle most dog attacks within a short time after the full extent of the injuries are known, and medical care has either been completed, or we have a strong estimate of the future costs.  Cases with larger, catastrophic injuries may take longer, due to our need to employ experts and obtain special, more detailed reports or deposition testimony to establish the full value of a case.  Because a dog bite case is considered a personal injury case, Georgia’s two-year statute of limitation usually means that a case that cannot be (or should not be) settled must be filed within the 2-year anniversary of the dog’s attack.

Examples of Dog Bites and Dog Attacks in Clayton County, Georgia and South Atlanta

What Compensation Can Be Recovered in A Georgia Dog Bite Claim or Case?

Full Justice in a dog attack or mauling case means recovering maximum compensation for your injury.  This means all of the expenses – all of the money you expended or were unable to earn from working – plus a financial award to compensate you for the mental and physical trauma of the vicious attack.   Fair compensation after a dog bite also means dealing with insurance subrogation so that you keep more of your settlement.  If health insurance insurance paid your medical bills, you may want to read about what happens to your settlement when health insurance has paid for your care.

In cases involving an injury caused by a dog, whether it is a bite, severe scratch, or being knocked down, the first source of recovery to look for is homeowners insurance, renter’s insurance, or a business liability insurance policy.  You may be entitled to be compensated for (general damages):  physical pain and suffering, ambulance and EMS care, treatment in the emergency room, rabies injections, stitches, reconstruction surgeries, primary care and plastic surgery, face and head injuries, counseling for emotional distress (PTSD), and significant payment for scars and disfigurement.

Because dog attacks tend to be very frightening and traumatic, your mental and physical pain and suffering deserve significant compensation.

Children and Dog Attacks:  Yes, our Dog Bite Lawyers handle many of these cases.

We are often asked if we handle cases where children have been bitten or attacked.  Yes, unfortunately a large percentage of the case we handle involve children bitten or mauled.  Often these injuries are to the face and head.  When this happens, it can be heartbreaking and especially traumatic because it can mean a life-long scar in a highly visible area.  Children may also develop post-traumatic stress or a fear of dogs and other animals.  Getting the right medical care and money to pay for all necessary procedures and future mental and physical treatment is especially important in these cases.  We are happy to answer any questions you may have about handling a case for a child – even if you are not yet sure about hiring a lawyer.

Dog Bite Lawyers Proving A CaseBecause we specialize in dog bite cases, the insurance companies know The Millar Law Firm.  Adjusters know that our firm will conduct a detailed investigation and file suit if necessary.  While we usually hope to settle a case without filing a lawsuit, because our firm does file and win dog bite lawsuits regularly, our claims are taken seriously.