As Atlanta dog bite attorneys we know that dogs make great friends and pets, but that sometimes there is a dangerous side to some animals. This is why Georgia, and many other states have legislation about dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs (see postings about the law here and here. But dogs and other animals can be dangerous for health reasons, as well, and rabies is the obvious example.
Earlier this month a white poodle mix dog, possibly part Bichon Frise, bit two people in Bibb County. The two were bitten over the July 4th holiday weekend. The dog first bit a person who was considering keeping it as a pet, according to news reports (http://www.newscentralga.com/news/local/Authorities-seek-potentially-rabid-dog-that-bit-two-people–162154515.html). Over the course of a few days, the dog then bit a neighbor’s child. The family decided not to keep the dog after these incidents, so they returned the dog to the person who gave it to them. That person gave the dog to another woman in a Wal-Mart parking lot on Zebulon Road sometime between July 7 and July 10. The identity of the woman is not known, but she said if she decided not to keep the dog she would take it to a Jones County animal shelter.
The Macon Bibb County Health Department Environmental Health Section and the Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare offices are trying to locate the dog because they believe it might have rabies. The Georgia Rabies Manuel requires that dogs, cats, and ferrets be quarantined for ten days following a bite, regardless of whether the animal has a current rabies vaccination or not. If the animal is still alive at the end of ten days then the person bitten would not need preventative shots and treatment for rabies. This quarantine is supposed to protect the health of the bitten person.
In this case, the dog is not quarantined because authorities do not know where the dog is. According to Donna Cadwell, an official with the Macon Bibb County Health Department, if the dog cannot be found, the health authorities will have to treat the situation as if the dog does have rabies and proceed with the treatment for the two bitten individuals. They will both need post-exposure rabies vaccinations to prevent the disease. The vaccine would have to be administered before any severe symptoms occur in the two. Once a person has rabies, it attacks the central nervous system- there is no treatment and it is usually fatal. In the US, 97% of human rabies cases come from dog bites.
If someone in your family has been bitten by a dog, the Atlanta dog bite lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, PC can assist in determining whether you have a case and how to move forward. Georgia’s laws are in place to protect Georgians from dangerous animals and their negligent owners. Call us today at 404-814-8949, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation.
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(Photo courtesy of GreenColander)