FREE Consultation
Marietta, GA |

A Landlord’s Liability for Dog Attacks in Georgia

Under what circumstances could a landlord be liable if a tenant’s dog attacks someone?

A major dog bite liability case is now before the Georgia Supreme Court.  Georgia’s dog bite laws are known to be rather complex. The current case involving an attack by two loose dogs is of importance to both dog owners and dog bite victims.  Per Georgia law, dog owners can be liable if their dog bites someone under both statutory and common or judge made law. To recover under Georgia’s dog bite statute, the victim must prove that the dog attacked, the dog was vicious, the owner did not properly restrain the dog, and the attack was not provoked.  At times, injured plaintiffs may wish to pursue an action against the landlord to secure a stronger recovery, but this complicates the action further. Our Marietta, Georgia dog bite attorneys explore the dog bite case currently before the Georgia Supreme Court and what it could mean for you below.

Can a Broken Latch Render a Landlord Liable?

Plaintiff Maria Matta-Troncoso was walking her two small dogs near her home in the city of Stockbridge when she was attacked by two pit bulls.  As she held one of the small dogs in an attempt to protect it, the pit bulls knocked her down and attacked. Police arrived on the scene and had to shoot both dogs to end the attack.  Matta-Troncoso was so badly injured in the attack that she had to be airlifted to an Atlanta hospital. She underwent several surgeries that left her with a disfigured face from the attack.  

Matta-Troncoso first sued the owners of the pit bulls for their failure to properly secure the dogs, who had broken out of their yard two blocks away due to a broken latch on the fence.  She later sued the landlord, claiming that he breached his duty to keep his leased home in good condition and his negligence caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

Evidence presented during oral arguments substantiates that the landlord knew of the broken latch, though he claims to have been unaware his tenants had two pit bulls.  Per Georgia law, a landlord could potentially be liable when a tenant’s dog attacks if he knew the dog was vicious and failed to keep the premises safe. The question of landlord liability for a tenant’s dog’s actions is a complex one and anyone injured in a dog attack should consult with a personal liability lawyer as soon as possible.

Posted in: Personal Injury