Responsible Dog Ownership Law (Dog Bite Law) - Animal Law Source

Responsible Dog Ownership Law (Dog Bite Law)

In this section you will find printable versions of both the Responsible Dog Ownership Law AKA Dangerous and Vicious Dog Law (Dog Bite Law) and the Responsible Dog Ownership Law Summary written by the founders of Animal Law Source.  Below the printable versions you will find drop down versions of these documents.  Please contact us if you have questions about this law.

Responsible Dog Ownership Law (Dog Bite Law)

Responsible Dog Ownership Law (Printable)


OCGA § 4-8-1: Intent of chapter

OCGA 4-8-1.1: Dumping dead dog on property of another

OCGA § 4-8-2: Dumping dead dog on public property or public right-of-way

OCGA§ 4-8-3: Abandoning dogs

OCGA § 4-8-4: Liability for damage done by dogs

OCGA § 4-8-5: Performing cruel acts on, or harming, maiming or killing dogs

OCGA § 4-8-6: Permitting Female Dog in Heat to Roam Free

OCGA § 4-8-6.1: Removal of Dog Collar; Permission

OCGA § 4-8-7: Violations Relating to Dogs

OCGA § 4-8-20: Short Title

OCGA § 4-8-21: Definitions

OCGA § 4-8-22: Jurisdiction for Enforcement; Designation of Duties of Dog Control Officer; Agreements for Dog Control Services

OCGA § 4-8-23: Classification of vicious or dangerous dog; notice; hearing; judicial review

OCGA § 4-8-24: Impoundment; threat to public safety

OCGA § 4-8-25: Judge authorized to order euthanasia

OCGA § 4-8-26: Euthanasia for causing serious injury on more than one occasion

OCGA § 4-8-27: Issuance of certificate of registration

OCGA § 4-8-28: Duties and prohibitions for owner of a classified dog

OCGA § 4-8-29: Unlawful acts by owner of a dangerous or vicious dog; violations

OCGA § 4-8-30: Confiscation of dangerous or vicious dog; noncompliance with article

OCGA § 4-8-31: Sovereign Immunity

OCGA § 4-8-32: Violation a criminal penalty

OCGA § 4-8-33: Previously Classified


Responsible Dog Ownership Law (Dog Bite Law) Summary


 Responsible Dog Ownership Law Summary (Printable)

The RDOL, O.C.G.A. § 4-8-1 et seq.

Intention Of The RDOL Law: § 4-8-1

Immediate Impound Of A Dog That Poses A Threat To Public Safety

Local Counties Shall Adopt The RDOL As A Minimum Requirement

What You Should Know About Classifications, O.C.G.A. § 4-8-23

When Should The State RDOL Be Used Versus The Local Ordinance?

When Does A Police Officer (Post Certified) Need To Get Involved?

What Do You Do If A Dog Owner Refuses To Give Authorities The Attacking Dog?

Can You Charge A Dog Owner Even If The Dog Was Lawfully On Its Owner's Property Or Restrained By Its Owner Or, In General, Lawfully Allowed To Be Where The Attack Occurs?

Killing A Pet Animal - The Attacking Dog Must Be Off Its Owner's Property When Attack Occurs


Dangerous Dog, § 4-8-21(a)(2),

Vicious Dog, § 4-8-21(a)(6)

Dangerous Dog Requirements, OCGA § 4-8-27

Vicious Dog Requirements, § 4-8-27(c)

Certain Felons Cannot Own A Vicious Dog, § 4-8-27(f)

Registration And Renewals, Dog Control Officer Duties To Verify Compliance

Failing To Renew Within Time Period Constitutes Another Violation



What If Dog Cannot Be Controlled Under The Requirements Set Forth Under Dangerous Or Vicious?


Excuses Commonly Given

Ownership, § 4-8-4

Serious Injury § 4-8-21(a)(5)

Public Threat – Impound Immediately

Refusing To Surrender Dog Is A Violation In Itself

What If You Have A Repeat Offender Who Continues To Violate Requirements Or Allows Their Dog To Roam Free Despite Repeated Warnings?


Impound/Confiscation/Recovery Of Dog*, § 4-8-30

How Long Can Government Hold Dog When Owner Is Known?

How Long Can Government Hold Dog When Owner Is NOT Known?

Can You Forgo Charging A Dog Owner Or Drop Charges If The Dog Is Relinquished Or Euthanized?

Can Owner Be Charged Under This Law Even If The Attack Happened On Owner’s Property?

Government Must Designate A Dog Control Officer, Counties Can Enter Into Agreements For Enforcement

Government Must Appoint Rabies Control Officer

Who Has The Authority To Enforce?

Who Can Determine Whether Dog Will Be Classified?

When Must Hearing Request Be Made?

After Determination Of Classification, Then What?

Who Can Conduct Hearings?

Judicial Review Of Animal Control Board Or Board Of Health Decisions

OCGA § 15-9-30.9.

Costs Must Be Paid Prior To Filing Appeal To Probate Court, Some Indigent Exceptions

Judicial Review Of Probate Court Decisions

Restitution For Victim

What About Classifications Occurring Before July 1,2012 and Pending Proceedings on July 1, 2012?

Defense, § 4-8-21(b)

No Defense If:

Government Immunity

Other Charges To Consider In Addition To A Violation Of This Law

Liability For Damage Caused By Dogs, Civil

Fingerprinting Offenders Under The RDOL

Sentencing Options

Civil Dog Bite Law

SB 290 Summary