§ 3-4-54. Procedures for classifying vicious dogs and dangerous dogs; notice; hearing  


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  • (a) Upon receiving a report of a dog believed to be subject to classification as a dangerous dog or vicious dog within a dog control officer's jurisdiction, the dog control officer shall make such investigations as necessary to determine whether such dog is subject to classification as a dangerous dog or vicious dog.

    (b) If the dog control officer believes that a dog subject to classification as a dangerous dog or vicious dog poses a threat to public safety, the dog may be immediately impounded and the dog owner shall be responsible for all costs resulting from such impoundment.

    (c) When a dog control officer determines that a dog is subject to classification as a dangerous dog or vicious dog, the dog control officer shall mail a dated notice to the dog's owner within seventy-two (72) hours. Such notice shall include a summary of the dog control officer's determination and shall state that the owner has a right to request a hearing from the authority on the dog control officer's determination within fifteen (15) days after the date shown on the notice. The notice shall also provide a form for requesting the hearing and shall state that if a hearing is not requested within the allotted time, the dog control officer's determination shall become effective for all purposes under this article.

    (d) When a hearing is requested by a dog owner in accordance with subsection (b) of this section, such hearing shall be scheduled within thirty (30) days after the request is received; provided, however, that such hearing may be continued by the authority for good cause shown. At least ten (10) days prior to the hearing, the authority conducting the hearing shall mail to the dog owner written notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing. At the hearing, the dog owner shall be given the opportunity to testify and present evidence and the authority conducting the hearing shall receive other evidence and testimony as may be reasonably necessary to sustain, modify, or overrule the dog control officer's determination.

    (e) Within ten (10) days after the hearing, the authority which conducted the hearing shall mail written notice to the dog owner of its determination on the matter. If such determination is that the dog is a dangerous dog or a vicious dog, the notice of classification shall specify the date upon which that determination shall be effective. If the determination is that the dog is to be euthanized pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 4-8-26, the notice shall specify the date by which the euthanasia shall occur.

    (f) Judicial review of the authority's final decision may be had in accordance with O.C.G.A. 131, § 50-13-19.

    (g) The judge in any superior court of competent jurisdiction within this state may order the euthanasia of a dog if the court finds, after notice and opportunity for a hearing as provided by this article, that the dog has seriously injured a human or presents a danger to humans not suitable for control under this article and:

    (1) The owner or custodian of the dog has been convicted of a violation of any state criminal law and the crime was related to such dog; or

    (2) Any local government authority has filed with the court a civil action requesting euthanasia of the dog.

    (h) A dog that is found, after notice and opportunity for a hearing as provided by this article, to have caused a serious injury to a human on more than one (1) occasion shall be euthanized; provided, however, that no injury occurring before July 1, 2012, shall count for purposes of this subsection.

(Ord. No. 12-12, § II, 7-16-12)