The Atlanta City Council unanimously approved an amended animal control ordinance on Monday to more effectively control and regulate animals, including vicious and dangerous dogs within the city limits.

“The ordinance ensures that the City of Atlanta is in compliance with more-stringent state laws as it pertains to vicious and dangerous dogs,” said Councilmember Keisha Lance Bottoms, the legislation’s sponsor.

In January, there were two reported dog attacks in Atlanta, including an incident involving three dogs wherein one child was killed and another injured while walking to school. In a separate incident, a 70-year-old man was hospitalized after being attacked by two dogs.

“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.

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
    • Any person who violates the provisions of this article could face a $500 fine for a second conviction, and $750 fine for a third or subsequent conviction.

If the owner of a dangerous or vicious dog continuously fails to comply and his/her dog attacks or bites a human or causes severe injury to or the death of a human, an animal control officer can immediately confiscate the dog and place it in quarantine for a period of time as provided by the health department. Thereafter, the dog may be humanely destroyed.

Fulton County provides animal control services within the city of Atlanta through a contract with an approved animal-control-services vendor under the direction and control of the county.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.