Cruelty to Dogs

Have you Been Charged with Cruelty to Dogs in Georgia?

Americans love our pets and treat them like family. We get very upset when people abuse their animals. Georgia law criminalizes cruelty to animals, but in addition to criminal punishments, the stigma of cruelty to dogs conviction can be overwhelming. If you or a loved one have been charged with this crime, you need legal representation. The team of Georgia Animal Attorneys at Lawson and Berry are here to help.

Georgia Law O.C.G.A. §4-8-5 reads as follows:

No person shall perform a cruel act on any dog; nor shall any person harm, maim, or kill any dog, or attempt to do so.

However, there are two exceptions to this rule:

  • People are allowed to harm, maim, or kill any dog to defend themselves, their property, or another from injury or damage being caused by the dog; and
  • People are allowed to kill any dog causing injury or damage to any livestock, poultry, or pet animal.

With regard to the killing, Georgia law states that the method used for killing the dog must be as humane as is possible under the circumstances. If a person humanely kills a dog under one of these conditions, then they will not be criminally liable for the death of the dog.

Penalty for Cruelty to Dogs in Georgia

A person violates O.C.G.A. §4-8-5 will be guilty of a misdemeanor. Furthermore, the suspect will face less than one year in jail and fines of no more than $1,000.


Defense of Others or Property: If you killed the dog in order to protect your property, yourself, or another from being injured by the dog, then that is an appropriate defense. However, the killing must have been as humane as possible under the circumstances.

Defense of Livestock or Pet Animal: If a dog was attacking your livestock, poultry, or pets, then you have the right to defend your property and can legally kill the dog.

What are Not Defenses

There was not a real threat to property or themselves. If the dog appeared friendly and was not trying to harm anyone or your property, then you do not have the right to hurt or kill the animal.

The dog did not die. Even cruel acts that can harm a dog fall under the statute. The dog does not have to die for a person to be convicted of cruelty to dogs.

Contact Us

Although a misdemeanor conviction may seem inconsequential, spending time in jail or paying fines will have an impact on your life. It is still important that you retain representation to help you fight the charges and try to either get the jail time or fine lowered. If you have any questions feel free to contact our offices. The Attorneys at Lawson and Berry are here for you.

Contact Us Today for Immediate Help

The time is now to start preparing your defense! Many times people lose the opportunity to put on their best defense because they wait. The importance of hiring a lawyer from the very beginning cannot be overstated! Waiting allows for witnesses to leave the area, evidence to be lost, and memories to fade. All of these have a direct effect on the successful on your case. The time to begin your case and start prepping your defense is now! Contact us today to put on your best Georgia criminal defense!