An eight-year-old girl has suffered critical injuries in an attack involving two dogs outside her home in DeKalb County.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Erin Ingraham was playing outside her home on Tuesday afternoon when she was approached by two Staffordshire Terriers. The dogs attacked her, and officers who responded to the scene had to use batons to pry the animals off the little child. The two dogs then attacked the officer, upon which the dog was shot and killed. The second dog ran away from the scene and was later captured by animal control officers.
The owner of the dog has been located and is likely to face charges. Erin suffered serious injuries that required vascular and plastic surgery. This has been a horrific attack by any standards, and we wish Erin a speedy and complete recovery. Unfortunately, it looks like Erin has a long recuperation period ahead of her. The next few weeks, or even months, are not going to be easy.
According to other reports, residents in the same neighborhood had been afraid for their safety from the aggressive behavior of the two dogs for a while now. One neighbor says that the dog attacked her cat as well as another person. In fact, the neighbors aren’t even surprised that such a savage attack occurred.
Georgia‘s dog bite laws may not be as tough on owners of dogs involved in attacks, as in many other states where such attacks come under strict liability statutes. In Georgia, a dog in an attack must have a previous known history of aggressiveness or viciousness for the owner to be held liable. That doesn’t mean that the dog must have been involved in a prior injury or attack. If the dog had been aggressive or displayed vicious tendencies in the past, and if the owner was aware of these, there could be grounds for recovery.