Keep Your Kids Safe from Dangerous Dogs this Summer
Now that school is out for the summer, parents need to be more aware than ever of dangerous dogs. Kids are more likely to be exposed to dogs, either playing in their neighborhoods or in public places like the park, now that they are spending a lot more time outdoors in the summer months.
Children are more at risk for dog attacks than any other age group. This is partly because children are more likely to approach strange dogs, and they are less likely to notice the warning signs of an aggressive dog. But dog attacks can result in serious injuries and death. If your child is injured due to a vicious dog in Georgia, you may be able to pursue a negligence claim against the dog’s owner to become reimbursed for medical expenses as well as the pain and suffering your child had to endure.
Dog owners have certain responsibilities when it comes to keeping others safe. In Georgia, it is illegal for dogs to roam loose. Dog owners must keep their animals secure and locked up. Recently, the Georgia legislature passed a law to further ensure that dog owners keep their pets secured. The Responsible Dog Owner Act declares that a dangerous or a vicious dog cannot be off of its property without its owner present. A dog owner can face criminal penalties for breaking this law.
The law specifies that a dangerous dog is one that has attacked a human before, and causes some injury such as a bite that punctures the skin. A vicious dog means the animal has attacked a human before and caused serious injury and even death. This is because a dog that has attacked once already is much more likely to do so again. By making it a criminal penalty to let dogs loose who are already predisposed to attack, lawmakers hope owners of dangerous dogs will take extra care to ensure their pets are well-secured, and not a danger to anyone.
One of the most important parts of the law states that anyone in possession of a vicious dog must carry an insurance policy of at least $50,000. By requiring owners of dogs predisposed to attack to carry high insurance policies, lawmakers in Georgia have ensured there is a way people injured in a dog attack may receive compensation for any injuries sustained. Now that it is a criminal penalty for dangerous dogs to be off of an owners’ property, an insurance company may even have to award punitive damages to an injured party if they are hurt as the result of a vicious dog roaming free.
Despite lawmakers best efforts, children get attacked by dogs every day. The kind of medical treatment required to treat serious injuries from dog attacks can be painful and very expensive. If your child has been attacked by a dangerous dog, you should contact an attorney right away to see if you have a valid negligence claim against the dog’s owner. Of course, it would be even better if your child never got hurt in the first place. Talk to your children about dangerous dogs. Make sure they know the warning signs an animal gives off if it is frightened or aggressive, and teach your children never to approach strange animals.