I ran across this editorial on an Albany Georgia television site about dog bites and vicious dog attacks. The author tackled a difficult issue: what controls should there be on the ownership of certain breeds of dogs including Pitt Bulls, Dobermans and some strains of German Shepherd. As a dog bite lawyer, I have litigated enough cases to know that some of those breeds can be very aggressive to humans and can cause serious injuries when they are. According to the article, there are a number of States that are considering a ban on certain breeds.
The most interesting proposal on the piece is the bond proposal and I will tell you why it is meritorious. I have a client that was in his own yard when he was attacked by the neighbor down the road’s unrestrained Pit Bull. The County where the attack occurred had leash laws and the owner was clearly in the wrong. The problem is, the owner had allegedly allowed their homeowner’s insurance to lapse. We are now litigating that issue in Court but it appears that there will be no insurance to cover the matter. It is frustrating to watch someone’s life turned on its ear because another Georgian ignored the leash laws.
In the case I mentioned, my client broke his ankle fleeing the dog and has over $40,000.00 in medical bills in addition to lost income from work. I agree with the editorial on this point. If you want to own an aggressive breed, you should be required to purchase liability insurance to protect the innocent victim that may one day suffer from an attack by that dog. This is not a problem limited to Albany Georgia either. A quick perusal of the newspaper will demonstrate that there are dog bite attacks in Roswell Georgia, Alpharetta Georgia, Decatur Georgia and throughout Clayton County over the last month alone.
The dogs are not going anywhere and Georgia will never enact an outright ban. What we can strive for though is a policy of requiring insurance coverage for the owners of aggressive breeds including Pitt Bulls and their ilk. Without some protection, the public will continue to pay the price for lack of controls over financial responsibility for dog attacks.