Gwinnett County, Ga. - A local woman in Gwinnett County was arrested this past week after neighbors videoed her abusing her dog on the balcony of her apartment.
The video shows the woman yelling at the dog, striking the dog, and repeatedly throwing the dog into a wall. The dog has survived and is now in the custody of Animal Control.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will focus on the law behind cruelty to dogs in today's post.
Cruelty to Dogs in Georgia
Cruelty to Dogs in Georgia is defined by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. §4-8-5 as:
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, by law, there are two exceptions to this rule: (1) 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 (2) 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.
A person convicted of violating O.C.G.A. §4-8-5 is guilty of a misdemeanor, and can face up to 12 months in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
In Georgia any criminal act that is not considered a felony is a misdemeanor. There are different levels of misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are punished by a fine up to $1,000 or by jail time not to exceed 12 months or both. If convicted of a misdemeanor and required to serve time, it will be served in a county or city jail. Prison terms are reserved for people who will be spending more than one year in confinement.
Even though misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, they can still have a very serious impact on your life.