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Atlanta Injury Lawyer > Georgia Leash Laws

Georgia Leash Laws

Leash laws play a key role in Georgia dog bite cases. Specifically, Georgia dog bite law requires that dog bite victims have to prove the animal that bit them was “vicious” or “dangerous” as defined in the law. However, if the bite happened while the dog was off-leash or not at heel in violation of a local leash law, then it’s not necessary to prove the animal was vicious or dangerous. Local leash laws, in turn, apply to dangerous or vicious dogs and rely on the 2012 Georgia Dog Ownership Law to define whether animals are dangerous or vicious along with other leash law requirements.

As the law firm that handles more dog bite cases than any other law firm in Atlanta, the attorneys at Zagoria Law are well-versed in the Georgia Responsible Dog Ownership Law as well as local leash laws in Fulton, De Kalb, Gwinnett and the other counties of metro Atlanta. Learn more about the importance of Georgia leash laws below, and call Zagoria Law at 404-653-0023 for a free consultation if you or a family member suffered a serious or fatal injury from a vicious or dangerous dog attack in Atlanta.

Georgia’s Responsible Dog Ownership Law

This law, found in sections 4-8-20 through 4-8-33 of the Georgia Code, applies to dangerous or vicious dogs. The requirements for a dangerous dog apply when the dog is off the owner’s premises, while the law for a vicious dog is stricter and applies when the dog is on the owner’s property as well.

If a dog is considered dangerous, then when out in public it must be kept on a leash and kept under the immediate physical control of a person who is capable of preventing the dog from engaging with any other animal or human when necessary. The leash can’t be any longer than six feet. Keeping the animal in a closed and locked cage or crate would also be acceptable instead of using a leash. This law does not apply to “working dogs” that are working or training as hunting dogs, herding dogs, or predator control dogs.

A vicious dog must be securely confined in an enclosure when on the owner’s property or inside a securely locked and enclosed pen, fence or suitable structure which would prevent the dog from leaving the property unless the dog is muzzled and restrained in the same manner as a dangerous dog described above. Also, a vicious dog can’t be left unattended with minors.

What is the difference between a dangerous dog and a vicious dog? According to the Responsible Dog Ownership Law, a dangerous dog is one that does one of these three things:

  1. causes a substantial puncture of a person’s skin by its teeth without causing serious injury but causing something more than a nip, scratch or abrasion
  2. aggressively attacks in a manner that causes a person to reasonably believe that the dog posed an imminent threat of serious injury (but simply barking, growling, or showing teeth is not enough)
  3. kills a pet animal while off the owner’s property

A vicious dog, meanwhile, is defined as one that inflicts serious injury on a person or causes serious injury to a person resulting from reasonable attempts to escape from the dog’s attack.

Atlanta Leash Laws

The City of Atlanta requires that all dogs must be on a leash when in parks, trails or public spaces in the city that are not designated as dog parks. Other laws and ordinances applicable to Atlanta can be found in various county codes.

Fulton County Leash Laws

An owner of a dangerous or vicious dog cannot permit the animal to run at large or run loose on the owner’s premises in such a manner as to endanger the life or limb of any person lawfully entering the premises. The owner also has a duty to ensure the dog is kept under restraint and must take reasonable care and precaution to prevent the dog from leaving the property while unattended. The dog should be kept humanely and securely on the premises either inside or outside and in a locked enclosure to keep kids from getting in and keep the dog from escaping.

Fulton County ordinances follow the Responsible Dog Ownership Law by stating a dog shall not be on any street or public place unless securely restrained by a leash not more than six feet in length and humanely muzzled when appropriate. If outside an enclosure while on the owner’s property, the dog must be attended by the owner or a custodian and restrained by a secure collar, muzzled when appropriate, and on a leash of sufficient strength to prevent escape. A warning sign (e.g., Beware of Dog) should also be conspicuously posted on the property.

DeKalb County Leash Laws

DeKalb County requires dog owners to take all necessary steps and precautions to protect other people, property, and other animals from injury or damage resulting from their animal’s behavior, including chasing or biting. Owners should ensure their animal is kept under restraint and prevented from leaving the property while unattended. Owners also have a duty to keep their pets under restraint and control at all times while off their property, except for county parks specifically designated as off-leash areas. It is unlawful to allow dogs to run at large unattended.

Gwinnett County Leash Laws

Gwinnett’s County strict leash laws require owners to maintain a million-dollar insurance policy to cover personal injury claims inflicted by a vicious dog. If the dog is maintained out-of-doors on the property, there must be a fence plus a second perimeter. If outside of that enclosure but still on the property, the dog must be attended and restrained by a secure collar and leash of sufficient strength to prevent escape. The leash can be no longer than ten feet, and the animal must be kept at least 15 feet from the property boundaries. A vicious and dangerous dog is not allowed off the property except to go to the vet and even then must be muzzled and restrained on a leash no longer than six feet.

Get Experienced and Dedicated Help After a Dog Bite Injury in Atlanta

Leash laws can play an important role in any Atlanta dog bite case, but they are only one aspect of the case out of many facts that must be proven to hold the owner liable to the victim for the injuries caused. At Zagoria Law, we’ll take on the difficult task of winning your case while you focus on getting better and putting your life back together after a serious dog bite and the pain, misery and disruption it can cause. For help after a dog bite injury in Atlanta, call Zagoria Law at 404-65-0023 for a free consultation. There’s no fee unless we win.


Atlanta dog bite injury lawyer David Zagoria discusses Georgia leash laws like the Responsible Dog Ownership Law & local ordinances in Fulton, DeKalb & Gwinnett

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