Should Georgia Owners of Vicious Dog Breeds Be Required to Carry Insurance?
A vicious pit bull mauling in San Diego, CA last year has refocused national attention on the issues of ownership of dangerous dog breeds and the prevention of vicious maulings. According to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, two joggers were attacked by a pack of pit bulls with one of the joggers being repeatedly attacked; he reportedly had large chunks of flesh torn from his legs.
The jogger reported that the dogs caused him to fall and repeatedly bit him causing him to bleed from his chest, legs and feet. The jogger reportedly explained after the vicious mauling that he was sure he was going to die. Unfortunately, this incident is anything but an isolated event despite increased research and media reports regarding the propensity of certain breeds of dogs to engage in vicious attacks and potentially fatal maulings. While a dog owner may be liable for injuries or fatalities caused by one’s dog, this is little comfort for victims who suffer permanent injury or the loss a loved one during a vicious dog attack.
One issue a lot of people don't realize is that many dangerous breeds of dogs are owned by those who do not own a home. When this is the case, one's ability to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit may have little value because the dog owner may not have homeowner’s insurance or assets against which you may enforce a personal injury judgment. It is tragic that many people who suffer serious or even permanent injuries, including disfigurement, have no recourse to recover compensation for their injuries. While some counties in Georgia have ordinances that impose a fine for failing to properly maintain a dog on a leash or in an enclosure, the penalties and enforcement may not be stringent enough to deter owning a dangerous breed of dog like a pit bull or Rottweiler.
A tragic example of a vicious attack by a pit bull occurred closer to home last year when a pit bull that was ironically named Rambo attacked and permanently disfigured an eight-year-old boy in Douglas County, GA. The case provides a particularly enlightening example of the type of irresponsible vicious dog ownership that can result in catastrophic injuries during brutal dog maulings. When the pit bull attacked the eight-year-old boy, the dog bit him in the face and knocked him to the ground, the catastrophic injuries and disfigurement suffered by the boy was so severe that it was estimated that the boy would need twelve surgeries. While these surgeries were hoped to substantially repair the physical damage, they cannot address the enormous emotional trauma that the boy would be expected to suffer in the aftermath of such a vicious dog attack or the permanent scars.
This pit bull attack is even more appalling because of the documented irresponsibility of Rambo's owner and the ineffectiveness of applicable leash laws. Rambo's owner had been cited on 10 prior occasions for allowing the vicious pit bull to roam the neighborhood at large. This lack of supervision and control by the dog's owner was all the more outrageous because Rambo had apparently attacked someone on a previous occasion. The problem is that the fines associated with violation of the leash law did not deter this irresponsible dog owner from letting his dangerous dog roam the neighborhood unrestrained.
While the wisdom of permitting continued ownership of pit bulls is debatable, those who choose to own this type of vicious breed of dog should be required to carry insurance to cover potential injuries caused to innocent victims. This mandatory insurance requirement might provide a means for seriously injured victims to obtain compensation for their medical expenses, lost future income, disability, disfigurement, pain and suffering and property damage. While the owner of a pit bull or other dangerous dog breed would be forced to absorb the cost of the premiums, this is a fair assignment of financial responsibility given the potential danger posed by ownership of dangerous dog breeds.
If you or a close family member is injured or someone close to you dies because of a vicious dog attack, our experienced Atlanta dog attack attorneys at Montlick and Associates diligently pursue the best possible outcome for their clients. Our Georgia dog bite 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 Service.