2022 Georgia Code
Title 4 - Animals
Chapter 8 - Dogs
Article 2 - Responsible Dog Ownership
§ 4-8-23. [Effective July 1, 2023] Investigations by Dog Control Officer; Notice to Owner; Hearings; Determinations by Hearing Authority; Judicial Review
- For purposes of this Code section, the term:
- “Animal shelter” shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 4-14-2.
- “Authority” means an animal control board or local board of health, as determined by the governing authority of a local government.
- “Mail” means to send by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery to the recipient’s last known address.
- 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.
- 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 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 seven days after the date shown on the notice; provided, however, that if an authority has not been established for the jurisdiction, the owner shall be informed of the right to request a hearing from the probate court for such jurisdiction where the dog was found or confiscated within seven days after the date shown on the notice. The notice shall 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. If an owner cannot be located within ten days of a dog control officer’s determination that a dog is subject to classification as a dangerous dog or vicious dog, such dog may be released to an animal shelter or humanely euthanized, as determined by the dog control officer.
- When a hearing is requested by a dog owner in accordance with subsection (c) of this Code section, such hearing shall be scheduled within 30 days after the request is received; provided, however, that such hearing may be continued by the authority or probate court for good cause shown. At least ten days prior to the hearing, the authority or probate court 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 or probate court 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.
- Within ten days after the hearing, the authority or probate court 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 Code Section 4-8-26, the notice shall specify the date by which the euthanasia shall occur.
- Judicial review of the authority’s final decision may be had in accordance with Code Section 15-9-30.9. Judicial review of a probate court’s final decision shall be in accordance with Code Section 5-3-4 and costs shall be paid as provided in Code Section 5-3-16.
History. Code 1981, § 4-8-23 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 1290, § 4/HB 685; Ga. L. 2014, p. 371, § 2/SB 290; Ga. L. 2022, p. 767, § 2-2/HB 916.
Delayed effective date.
Subsection (f), as set out above, becomes effective July 1, 2023. For version of subsection (f) in effect until July 1, 2023, see the preceding version of this Code section.
The 2022 amendment, effective July 1, 2023, substituted “Code Section 5-3-4” for “Code Section 5-3-2” and “Code Section 5-3-16” for “Code Section 5-3-22” in subsection (f). For applicability, see Editor’s notes.
Ga. L. 2022, p. 767, § 3-1/HB 916, not codified by the General Assembly, makes this Code section applicable to petitions for review filed in superior or state court on or after July 1, 2023.