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Dealing With Dangerous Dogs

July 20, 2012
A Doberman Pinscher stares out from behind fencing.

In response to an alarming series of dog attacks on children and neighborhood residents reported during the last several years, the General Assembly last legislative session passed and Governor Nathan Deal approved House Bill 685, which, with its Responsible Dog Ownership Law, now holds owners more deeply accountable for their dangerous or vicious dogs. 

As of July 1, owners responsible for dangerous dogs - those dogs that puncture a person's skin with a bite but do not cause serious injury, or those dogs that kill another owner's pet - must now: 

  • Apply for a certificate of registration for the dog every year
  • Build a secure enclosure to house the dog
  • Post warning signs at all entrances to indicate that a dangerous dog lives on the property

If a dog inflicts serious injury on a person, a dog control officer will classify that dog as vicious, and owners of vicious dogs must also: 

  • Microchip the pet
  • Maintain at least $50,000 of liability insurance to cover costs in the event that the dog attacks or damages another's property a second time

Any vicious dog responsible for a second offense will be euthanized, and owners who violate registration requirements may be fined and imprisoned for infractions.

To learn more about owner responsibilities for dangerous or vicious dogs, read House Bill 685 in full.