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2023 Personal Injury

South Georgia Woman Undergoes Partial Leg Amputation After Dog Attack

A Columbus, Georgia, woman is now recovering after undergoing a partial leg amputation due to an attack by a vicious dog. Kim Golden was conducting a housing inspection as part of her duties for a nonprofit organization when she was attacked by a “pit bull-type” dog. Golden was walking toward the back of the property when the dog came onto the property from a neighboring property and bit her leg, knocking her to the ground. A co-worker and several other individuals eventually got the dog off of her before she was airlifted to an Atlanta hospital where the decision to amputate a portion of her leg was made. 

Dog bites such as these can result in serious and catastrophic injuries, especially to children. if you have suffered an injury due to a dog bite, you should consider speaking to a Tifton personal injury lawyer

Owner Liability for Dog Bites

Injuries caused by dog bites that occur on the dog owner’s property generally fall into the premises liability category of personal injury law, but are subject to unique provisions of law. Traditionally, the common law rule of dog bites was that “every dog got one bite” — i.e., no dog owner could be held liable for injuries caused by the dog unless the owner knew or should have known that the dog had a propensity to bite. Under modern law, Georgia dog owners can be liable for injuries caused by their dogs when: 

  • The dog is considered a vicious or dangerous animal 
  • The injury occurred through “careless management or by allowing the animal to go at liberty”

The threshold for showing that a dog is “vicious” is fairly low in some instances. In jurisdictions that require dogs to be leashed, a plaintiff can demonstrate viciousness by showing that the dog was not leashed at the time the incident occurred. 

Dangerous Dogs 

Georgia law includes special provisions for dogs that have formally been classified as “dangerous.” This includes dogs that: 

  • Cause a substantial puncture of a person’s skin by teeth
  • Aggressively attack in a manner that causes a person to reasonably believe that the dog posed an imminent threat of serious injury
  • Kill pet animals while off the owner’s property 

Dogs may be classified as dangerous when the dog control officer in the relevant jurisdiction receives a report of such behavior and determines that the dog is dangerous or vicious. Owners of dogs that have been classified as dangerous are subject to heightened safety requirements. 

Exceptions to Owner Liability for Dog Bites

As with almost all areas of law, there are exceptions to owner liability for dog bites. Generally, a dog owner is not liable for dog bites in the following situations: 

  • The victim provoked the dog 
  • The victim was abusing the dog
  • The victim was trespassing on the owner’s property 
  • The dog was carrying out official law enforcement duties
  • The dog attacked the victim while the victim was committing or attempting to commit a crime

Hold the Owners of Vicious Dogs Liable With Help From a Tifton Personal Injury Lawyer 

Vicious dogs pose significant risks to their communities. If you have suffered an injury due to a bite from a vicious dog, please contact a Tifton personal injury lawyer at the Hudson Injury Firm by calling 229-396-5848 or using our online form.