Many Atlanta residents think of their dogs as members of their families. Dogs are excellent companions, and many of them sure work hard to earn and keep their reputation as man’s best friend. Nonetheless, sometimes dogs bite. Oftentimes, dog bites are minor, but sometimes they are traumatic and result in severe injuries. Dog owners need to be held accountable for their dog’s actions in these situations, and Georgia state law often provides for that.

Dog bite regulations vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but in general under Georgia law, victims of dog bites or attacks can often recover compensation for their injuries if the dog was in violation of leash laws or if the dog owner is aware of the dog’s dangerous behaviors.

Of 4.7 million dog bites that take place in this country each year, 1 million of those require medical attention, and of course medical care is often expensive. While it is important for dog bite victims to know their rights, it may be even more important to prevent dog bites when you can.

Dogs often bite because they are fearful or because they have been poorly socialized, and most dog bites are preventable, according to a veterinary behaviorist who was quoted in an Ann Arbor newspaper report

Dogs often bite because they are uncomfortable or scared, and often, before they bite they will try to move away. Therefore, it may be wise to leave a dog alone if he or she appears unwilling to socialize, or walks away from you. It is also important to teach kids this.

If a dog growls, makes eye contact or expresses an unfriendly gesture, these are signs that it is in fear or uncomfortable and you should leave it alone. It can also be very wise to teach children never to pet a dog before asking its owner and to let a dog sniff you before petting it.

While these general guidelines can prevent dog bites, the responsibility of a dog’s behavior should rest with its owner, not its victim. Those who have suffered a dog bite or animal attack may wish to discuss the issue with an Atlanta dog attack lawyer to learn whether compensation may be available.

Source: AnnArbor.com, “Dog bites are preventable if you understand the causes of them, and how to stay safe,” Lorrie Shaw, May 25, 2012