dog bites 2

dog bites 1If you have been attacked by a dog or another animal, it is always important to identify the animal that bit you. If you have been attacked by a dog or other animal that is owned by another individual, you may be entitled to compensation. Dog bite laws are different in Alabama and Georgia and can often differ from city to city as well. 

In Alabama dog bites are governed by statute, more specifically, Alabama Code §3-6-1. The code states that dog owners can be held liable for providing damages if their pet has bitten or seriously injured another person. Unlike many other states, however, the law does not hold pet owners "strictly liable" – meaning that the attack must have taken place under a specific set of circumstances for the victim to be able to pursue compensation. First, it must be proven that the dog had acted out violently without provocation. If it is discovered that the victim had goaded or irritated the animal before they were subsequently injured, their claim may be denied for that reason alone.  Secondly, the attack must have taken place on either public property or the pet owner's property – the only exception being that the dog had chased the victim off of the owner's property. If the dog bite occurs away from the owners’ premises, then the case may be governed by rules of common law negligence.  In cases where the dog bite statutes do not apply, the victim of a bite may need to show that the dog owner knew the dog was dangerous or had previously bitten others in order for the victim to be entitled to damages for their injuries.  Certain municipalities in Alabama may also have additional statutes which create liability, such as “rabid dog laws” or “leash laws.”

In Georgia, the law allows victims of a dog or animal bite to recover on one of two grounds. The first ground is the "one bite rule.” Unfortunately, this requires the victim to show that the animal was dangerous or vicious, that the dog owner had knowledge of this propensity, and the owner either carelessly managed the animal or allowed it to go at liberty. The second is the "ordinance rule.” It requires proof that the animal was not at heel or on a leash, as required by local ordinance, and the dog owner either carelessly managed the animal or allowed it to go at liberty. This rule will vary depend upon local county or municipality laws and whether or not a “leash law” exists.


Capps, Gil, Boothe, & Parker LLC


111 Adris Place
Dothan, AL 36305