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My dog supposedly bit someone in January. I am just hearing from the party involved about medical bills. What are my options?

Calhoun, GA |

An officer came to my house in early January to report that my beagle had supposedly bit a child on another property. I was not given any other information about the incident other than my dog had been pinpointed out. I gave my information to the officer to give to the party involved while expressing my concern for the child. Today, February 6th, I had a call from the party involved saying they had received their medical bill and would like to talk to me. Other than the call today, I have not heard anything from the party involved. I am curious as to what I should consider if I am liable for any bills, and what I should do to protect myself from further prosecution or liability? Thank you for any information you can reply with.

Attorney Answers 5

  1. Contact your homeowners insurance carrier and tell them what happened. They'll investigate and protect your interests.

    Call for a free consultation at 727-937-1400 or visit us on the Web at

  2. I agree that you need to contact your homeowner's insurance company. If you rent and have renter's insurance, you should contact your renter's insurance company. Your insurance company will help you with any civil claims brought by the "victim." If you do not have insurance, you need to contact a personal injury lawyer on your own.

    There are other possible issues: a citation for a dog bite and dog at large; and a possible designation of your dog as dangerous. You need to contact an attorney who is familiar with these types of proceedings. See if you can find an animal lawyer in Georgia. The Georgia Bar Association ought to be able to assist you.

    This is not to be construed as legal advice. I do not have an attorney client relationship with you.

  3. Nowhere do you say whether or not you believe your dog was involved. Whether you believe your dog was involved or not, I suggest you speak with an attorney regarding your options. This could easily devolve into a very expensive and ugly mess and you should not try and handle it yourself. Your local and state bar associations can give you a referral.

    If we do not have a signed fee agreement I am not your attorney and this is not legal advice.

  4. Report to your homeowner's insurance to resolve. 1/3 of all homeowner claims pay for dog bites.

    Only 29% Contingency Fee! Phone: 215-510-6755

  5. In Georgia, we still have the one free bite rule. Unless they can prove that your dog has bitten people before or is a dangerous breed (pitbull, yes; beagle, not so much) you are not liable. Your homeowners insurance should be alerted if they take action against you. As a practical matter, they may be content with you paying the medical bill and you may well want to do that from a compassionate standpoint as well.

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