Stephen Hasner | Georgia Law | May 28, 2020
NOTE: WE ONLY HANDLE CASES INVOLVING ACCIDENTS AND INJURIES. THIS ARTICLE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. INFORMATION FOUND IN THE ARTICLE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE FORMAL LEGAL ADVICE AND DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY/CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. WE CANNOT HELP YOU BEYOND THE INFORMATION PROVIDED BELOW IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN GETTING A PET TIGER.
Some states allow individuals to own a pet tiger if they meet the state requirements for the care and housing of the tiger. Georgia is not one of those states. By law, wild animals or exotic animals, including tigers, are not permitted to be kept as pets in Georgia.
According to the USDA, most people do not have the knowledge or experience to handle or care for a tiger or other exotic cat. Furthermore, most people do not have the specialized equipment and knowledge required to provide for the tiger’s wellbeing. A lack of experience can cause a tiger to suffer needlessly.
The fact is that tigers are not domesticated pets. They are wild animals, which can attack and kill without warning. Regardless of how long a person may have had a pet tiger, that animal remains a wild animal that could severely injure the owner or another person.
Am I Responsible if My Pet Injures Another Person?
If Georgia laws allowed pet tigers, the owners would be liable for any injuries or damages caused by the tiger. The same applies to owners of dogs and other allowed pets in Georgia. If your dog bites or attacks another person, you could be held liable for that person’s damages and losses.
Some states have a one-bite rule for dog attacks. An owner is not strictly liable for a dog bite if the dog has never attacked or bitten anyone before the incident.
Georgia does not have a one-bite rule. However, it does have a modified one-bite rule that applies in dog attack and dog bite cases.
In most cases, a dog owner is liable for damages caused when the dog bites or attacks another person if the dog is allowed to roam free when there is a city ordinance or law requiring dogs to be leashed or contained. A dog owner can be held liable even if the dog has never attacked or bitten another person if the owner breaks leash laws.
Dog owners can also liable for dog bites if the owner was negligent. Liability for dog owners who have a dangerous dog is stricter. Declaring a dog as a dangerous dog requires a dog control officer to investigate a complaint alleging that a dog meets the definition of a dangerous dog.
It is likely the same principles would extend to tiger bite cases.
What to do if an Animal Bites You or Your Child
Animal bites can cause severe injuries and complications, including infections. Therefore, if an animal bites you, seek immediate medical attention. Injuries from animal attacks include, but are not limited to:
- Puncture wounds and lacerations
- Fractures and broken bones
- Facial injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Damage to nerves, muscles, and tendons
- Brain injuries
Documenting your animal bite injuries is essential for an injury claim. Medical records are essential. Also, take photographs of the injuries after the incident and throughout your recovery.
As soon as possible, report the injury to the animal’s owner and the Fulton County Animal Services office. You can also report the attack to your local animal services office or the police department. A written record of the attack can be helpful when filing a claim.
Document your damages and financial losses caused by the attack. Financial losses associated with an animal bite claim may include:
- Loss of income
- Medical expenses
- Personal care
- Travel expenses for medical treatment
- Counseling and therapy costs
Additionally, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. Keeping a journal detailing your physical pain and emotional suffering can be useful. Make sure to note how the animal bite injuries impacted your daily life and your relationship with friends and family members.
Do I Need an Animal Bite Injury Attorney to File a Claim?
Contacting a personal injury lawyer can also be very helpful. Georgia’s animal bite laws are complex. Proving that an animal owner or other party is liable for your injuries can be challenging.
An attorney investigates the incident to determine whether the pet owner violated any local or state laws, such as leash laws. Your attorney also works with you to locate any potential witnesses to the attack. Witness testimony can help build a case for negligence and liability against the owner.
Other parties may have some liability for your injury claim. Your attorney searches for all potential defendants to increase the chance that you receive full compensation for all damages. Lastly, your attorney handles all aspects of your animal bite injury claim so that you can focus on your recovery.