DeKalb County Reportedly Considering Repealing Ban on Pit Bulls


October 23, 2011

There is wide disagreement regarding whether pit bulls are inherently dangerous and unsafe animals, or whether they are simple scapegoats for irresponsible dog owners. What is not deniable is that during a five year period from 2004-2009 someone was killed in a pit bull attack approximately every 22 days according to Dogbite.org.

Despite laws regulating pit bulls in over five hundred cities, pit bull attacks accounted for almost half of all dog attack fatalities in 2009. Although the reasons that pit bulls are far more likely than other breeds to be involved in Georgia dog attacks is a point of contention, it is clear that pit bulls continue to pose a threat of disfigurement, catastrophic injury and wrongful death.

Nonetheless, the laws regarding pit bull restrictions are unsettled in Georgia. While Georgia attempted to make pit bulls illegal on a statewide basis as recently as 2005, the proposed legislation failed. DeKalb County, which is currently the only county in Georgia that prohibits pit bulls, is considering repealing its decades old ban on pit bulls according to an article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this weekend. The repeal would be part of a broader overhaul of DeKalb County’s animal services department.

Those supporting the repeal argue that there are other dangerous dogs so the approach to preventing Georgia dog attacks should focus on specific unsafe dogs and dog owner’s who do not properly train, control and supervise their dog. This is particularly the case with dog owners that know their dog has a vicious propensity based on past behavior. It is also argued that many pit bulls that cause the DeKalb County euthanasia rate to rise pass a temperament test to be adopted but cannot be adopted out because it is believed that that they are a pit bull.

While Georgia pit bull attacks may be a function of owners who fail to take adequate precautions to protect others from vicious dogs including owners who train their dog to be aggressive, there are inherent traits that make pit bulls more likely to maul or attack a victim. Pit bulls have specific genetic traits that distinguish them including tenacity (refusal to give up without a fight), unpredictable aggressiveness, extreme tolerance for pain as well as a distinctive bite and shake style of attack. While it is true that training and other environmental factors can have a significant impact on the viciousness of a pit bull, courts have recognized these inherent characteristics of pit bulls. Pit bull attacks have been compared in uniqueness to shark attacks based on forensic medical studies.

Another characteristic of pit bull attacks that distinguishes them from other dog attacks is a high propensity to attack their owner and other family members. A study by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) found that out of 143 pit bull attacks, 19 (13.3%) involved attacks on the owners whereas only 3 (2.2%) involved the owner when compared to a similar number of the dog attacks involving other breeds. This phenomenon known as the Pit Disloyalty Phenomenon (PDP) was recognized over two decades ago by HSUS publication.

It is unclear at this point whether the law banning ownership of pit bulls in DeKalb County will be repealed, but there is little question that pit bull attacks cause horrific and debilitating injuries and wrongful death. If you or someone you love is the victim of a Georgia pit bull attack, contact the experienced attorneys at Montlick and Associates. We have been representing Georgia dog attack victims for over 27 years.

Our Georgia dog attack lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

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