The Atlanta City Council unanimously approved changes to its animal control ordinance Monday, including harsher punishments for owners of “vicious and dangerous dogs.”
The amended ordinance ensures Atlanta is in compliance with more-stringent state laws regarding dangerous dogs, according to a news release.
City Councilmember Keisha Lance Bottoms sponsored the legislation, which comes after numerous dog attacks this year, including an attack that killed six-year-old Logan Braatz.
“While this change in the law is likely to have little solace to the victims and their families, it is my hope that our update of our laws will help prevent an attack within our communities from happening again,” Bottoms said in the statement.
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Registration will be required for animals who are reported and determined to be dangerous or vicious. A spokesman said the legislation was written in a way to not classify a particular breed.
Anyone who violates the ordinance, which also applies to all domesticated animals, could face a $500 fine for a second conviction, and a $750 fine for a third or subsequent conviction. First-time offenders receive a warning.
If the owner doesn’t comply and his or her dog causes severe injury to or the death of a person, an animal control officer can immediately place the dog in quarantine. After that, the dog may be “humanely destroyed.”
Fulton County provides animal control services in Atlanta through a contract with an approved animal-control-services vendor.
Read the full ordinance, beginning on page 3,486, here.
According to the news release:
The revised provisions relating to dangerous and vicious dogs will:
- Provide public safety and administrative procedures for the identification of dangerous and vicious dogs
- Require registration for the possession of certain dogs
- Require certain safety and indemnity measures as a condition of owning a dog classified as vicious or dangerous
- Provide for euthanasia of dogs in certain instances
- Provide for tougher criminal offenses and punishment
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