The owner told police the pit bull attacked the Yorkie on the street and would not let go. No further information was provided about the alleged attack, but police later said the pit bull’s owner would be issued a citation because their dog was considered the aggressor. The man will face charges of violating two county ordinances, one for nuisance animals and another for running at large, or allowing the dog to run free.
Pit bulls can weigh anywhere from 30 to 60 pounds. The Yorkie, named Bejan, weighed only about 9 pounds, the owner wrote in a GoFundMe campaign.
Bejan was taken to an animal hospital in critical condition, according to police. The owner is now trying to raise funds for medical expenses. According to the fundraising page, there is a “high possibility” that Bejan might have one of his legs amputated.
The pit bull was removed by the city’s Public Works Department.
Beyond the citation, no further charges are expected in this case. According to legal expert Jessica Rock, the State Animal Crimes Resource Prosecutor with the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council, police likely evaluated multiple layers of state and local law when deciding if charges were necessary.
The Georgia statute on animal cruelty does not stop people from harming or killing an animal if they reasonably believe they are defending themselves, another person, their property or any livestock or poultry. The law also says the method used against the animal must be as humane as possible under the circumstances.
Rock said that deciding whether to charge the Yorkie owner with animal cruelty would be separate from a decision about charges of firing a gun in public. State law prohibits anyone from discharging a gun within 50 yards of any public highway, street or road “without legal justification.” Atlanta police would have also taken local ordinances into account when deciding if the Yorkie owner should be charged, Rock said.