A Note about Enforcement: Local , County and state police are generally mandated to enforce all laws, including animal cruelty, even if these laws are not included in a state’s penal code—contact them if you witness animal cruelty, including neglect, or have information regarding an incident of animal cruelty in your area. Please be aware that local law enforcement may have a limited familiarity with animal cruelty issues, so it can be extremely helpful if you are able to cite the specific section of law and provide police with a summary of it to assist them in their investigation.
|GA – Alligators – Article 7. Feeding of Wild Alligators||GA ST § 27-3-170||This Georgia law makes it illegal to willfully feed or bait any wild alligator not in captivity. Violation is a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $200 or confinement up to 30 days, or both.|
|GA – Assistance Animal – Georgia’s Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws||GA ST § 30-4-2 to 4; GA ST § 40-6-94; GA ST § 16-12-120; GA ST § 16-11-107.1||The following statutes comprise the state’s relevant assistance animal and guide dog laws.
|GA – Bite – § 51-2-6. Dogs, liability of owner or keeper for injuries to livestock||GA ST § 51-2-6 to 7||This Georgia statute represents the state’s relevant dog bite strict liability law. While the law imposes strict liability for injury to a person, the dog (or other animal) must first be considered “vicious” or “dangerous,” which can be as simple as showing the animal was required to be leashed per city ordinance. Second, the animal must be at large by the careless management of the owner. Finally, the person injured must not have provoked the animal into attacking him or her.|
|GA – Cruelty – Chapter 11. Animal Protection||GA ST § 4-11-1 to 4-11-18||The Georgia Animal Protection Act was passed in 2000 and provides for jail up to one year for general cruelty convictions and up to five years for an aggravated cruelty conviction. The judge is also allowed to order psychological counseling. The law also encompasses licensing provisions for kennels and impoundment provisions.|
|GA – Cruelty – Cruelty to Animals||GA ST § 16-12-4; GA ST § 16-6-6||This comprises Georgia’s anti-cruelty provisions. Under the statute, “animal” does not include any fish or any pest that might be exterminated or removed. A person commits the offense of cruelty to animals when he or she causes death or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering to any animal by an act, an omission, or willful neglect. Any person convicted of a violation of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, but subsequent convictions incur enhanced penalties. A person commits the offense of aggravated cruelty to animals when he or she knowingly and maliciously causes death or physical harm to an animal by rendering a part of such animal’s body useless or by seriously disfiguring such animal.|
|GA – Dangerous Dog Ordinances – Chapter 8. Dogs||GA ST § 4-8-29||This Georgia statute states the standards and requirements for the control of dangerous dogs and vicious dogs; this statute also proscribes penalties for violations of these standards and requirements. For instance, a violation of this article is a misdemeanor of high and aggravated nature; repeated violations of this article is a felony.|
|GA – Deer Hunting – CHAPTER 5. WILD ANIMALS||GA ST 27-5-12||Under this Georgia statute, it is unlawful to shoot, kill, or wound any wild animal held under a wild animal license or permit or any farmed deer for enjoyment, gain, amusement, or sport.|
|GA – Dog – Consolidated Dog Laws||GA ST § 4-8-1 to 45; GA ST § 4-14-1 to 4-15-1; GA ST § 27-3-16 to 18||These Georgia statutes comprise the state’s dog laws and the “Responsible Dog Ownership Law.”. Among the provisions of the Responsible Dog Ownership Law include a requirement for registration of dangerous dogs as well as the necessity of such owner to carry at least $50,000 in liability insurance. Owners of these dogs who do not comply with these and other provisions may have their dogs confiscated and destroyed. Any person who violates this article is guilty of a misdemeanor.|
|GA – Dogfighting – Article 2. Gambling and Related Offenses.||GA ST § 16-12-37||Georgia’s dogfighting statute states that any person who owns, possesses, trains, transports, or sells any dog with the intent that such dog shall be engaged in fighting with another dog, wagers money or anything of value on the result of such dogfighting, knowingly permits dogfighting on his or her premises, knowingly promotes or advertises an exhibition of fighting commits the offense of dogfighting. Violation of the law is a felony, with a mandatory fine of $5,000.00 or a mandatory fine of $5,000.00 in addition to imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than five years. On a second or subsequent conviction, such person shall be punished by imprisonment of not less than one nor more than ten years, a fine of not less than $15,000.00, or both such fine and imprisonment. Any person who is knowingly present only as a spectator at any place for the fighting of dogs shall, upon a first conviction thereof, be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.
|GA – Ecoterrorism – Article 2. Georgia Farm Animal, Crop, and Research Facilities Protection Act||GA ST § 4-11-30 to 35||This article is known as the Georgia Farm Animal, Crop, and Research Facilities Protection Act. A person commits an offense if, without the consent of the owner, the person acquires or otherwise exercises control over an animal facility, an animal from an animal facility, or other property from an animal facility with the intent to deprive the owner of such facility, animal, or property and to disrupt or damage the enterprise conducted at the animal facility. Other prohibited actions also include gaining entry where a person knows entry is forbidden. In the definition of “consent,” the act states that the term does not include assent that is induced by force, threat, false pretenses or fraud. It also excludes assent given by a person that the actor knows is not authorized by the owner, or given by a person who the actor knows is unable to make reasonable decisions (e.g., because of youth, intoxication, or mental disease or defect). Violations that involve exercising control over a facility are felonies; those that involve illegal entry or damage less than $500 are misdemeanors.|
|GA – Endangered – Article 5. Protection of Endangered Wildlife||GA ST §§ 27-3-130 to 133||These statutes provide for the definition of “protected” species and outline the duties of the board responsible for enforcing Georgia’s endangered species law. Included in the Board’s duties are inventorying and designating listed species and promulgating regulations. Violation of these regulations results in a misdemeanor.|
|GA – Equine Liability Act – Chapter 12. Injuries from Equine or Llama Activities.||GA ST §§ 4-12-1 to 5||This act stipulates that an equine sponsor or professional, or a llama sponsor or professional, or any other person, including corporations, are immune from liability for the death or injury of a participant, which resulted from the inherent risks of equine or llama activities. However, there are exceptions to this rule: A person will be held liable for injuries if they display a willful and wanton or intentional disregard for the safety of the participant and if they fail to make reasonable and prudent efforts in ensuring the safety of the participant.|
|GA – Exotic pets, wildlife – Chapter 5. Wild Animals||GA ST § 27-5-1 to 12||These Georgia wildlife provisions embody the General Assembly’s finding that it is in the public interest to ensure the public health, safety, and welfare by strictly regulating in this state the importation, transportation, sale, transfer, and possession of certain wild animals. Animals such as kangaroos, certain non-human primates, wolves, bears, big cats, hippopotamus, and crocodile, among others, are considered to be inherently dangerous to human beings and are subject to the license or permit and insurance requirements outlined in the laws. The section also details specifications for the humane handling, care, confinement and transportation of certain wild animals.|
|GA – Fur – Article 2. Trapping, Trappers, and Fur Dealers||GA ST § 27-3-60 to 73||Under these GA statutes, trappers and fur-dealers must be licensed. Trapping of fur-bearing animals is allowed during open trapping season. Traps must be inspected at least once every 24 hours. Trappers must dispatch fur-bearing animals caught in a trap and release domestic animals. It is legal to set traps to protect livestock and domestic animals from predators, but unlawful to trap upon the right of way of any public road or upon another’s land. A violation of these statutes is a misdemeanor.|
|GA – Horse Meat – Article 4. Advertisement and Sale of Meat Generally.||Ga. Code Ann., § 26-2-150 – 161||As stated in the legislative intent, the General Assembly declares that purchasers and consumers have a right to expect and demand honesty and fair practices in the sale of meat for human consumption. It is the purpose of this Code to ensure that honest, fair, and ethical practices are followed in the advertising and sale of meat for human consumption. With regard to horsemeat, the Code prohibits the slaughter a horse in this state for the purpose of selling or offering for sale for human consumption or for other than human consumption the horse meat derived from such slaughtered animal unless certain conditions are met. Further, no horse meat shall be sold or offered for sale in this state for human consumption unless at the place of sale there shall be posted in a conspicuous location a sign bearing the words “HORSE MEAT FOR SALE.”|
|GA – Horses – Chapter 13. Humane Care for Equines.||GA ST § 4-13-1 to 4-13-10||This section comprises Georgia’s Humane Care for Equines Act. The act states that it is unlawful for the owner of any equine to fail to provide adequate food and water to such equine; to fail to provide humane care for such equine; or to unnecessarily overload, overdrive, torment, or beat any equine or to cause the death of any equine in a cruel or inhumane manner. The Act also outlines procedures for the care impounded of equines as well as disposal procedures, which includes auction and euthanasia, when the owner cannot be found or refuses to enter into a consent order. Violation of this chapter results a misdemeanor.|
|GA – Hunting – Article 6. Interference with Lawful Taking.||GA ST § 27-3-150 to 152||These Georgia laws comprise the state’s hunter harassment provisions. Under the section, it is unlawful for any person to interfere with the lawful taking of wildlife by another person by intentionally preventing or attempting to prevent such person from such lawful taking of wildlife; engage in activity tending to disturb wildlife for the purpose of intentionally preventing the lawful taking of such wildlife; or fail to obey an order of a law enforcement officer to desist from prohibited conduct. The section also allows the superior court of a county to enjoin prohibited conduct and imposes civil liability on violators.|
|GA – Hunting – Chapter 3. Wildlife Generally||GA ST § 27-3-22||Georgia is unique as it prohibits the killing, possession, sale, and transporting of eagles and other migratory birds except for the transportation of feathers into the state of non-migratory birds for millinery purposes (the making of hats or headdresses). For discussion of federal Eagle Act, see Detailed Discussion.
|GA – Hunting – § 27-3-12. Use of drugs, poisons, chemicals, smoke, gas, explosives, recorded sounds or calls and electronic communication equipment prohibited; misdemeanor violation; penalties||Ga. Code Ann., § 27-3-12||This Georgia law prohibits computer assisted remote hunting or providing or operating a facility that allows others to engage in computer assisted remote hunting if the wild animal or wildlife being hunted or shot is located in this state. The law also makes it unlawful to hunt hunt any wild animal, game animal, or game bird by means of drugs, poisons, chemicals, smoke, gas, explosives, recorded calls or sounds, or recorded and electronically imitated or amplified sounds or calls. Violation is a misdemeanor (high) with a fine of $1,000 to $5,000 and/or a term of imprisonment up to 12 months.|
|GA – Hunting, Canned – Article 4. Shooting Preserves.||GA ST § 27-3-110 to 114||Under the Georgia canned hunting statute, it is unlawful for any person to release pen raised game birds, unless the person has first obtained a license. It it unlawful to hunt pen raised game birds on a shooting preserve except between October 1 and March 31, and except from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. It is unlawful for any person to propagate, possess, or release on any shooting preserve any bird or animal (with exceptions) unless the person has received prior written approval from the department. Licensees must maintain a complete record of all birds propagated, released, or taken on the preserve.|
|GA – Initiatives and Referendums – 2006 Amendment 2: Proposing an amendment to the Constitution so as to provide that the tradition of fishing and hunting||2006 Georgia Amendment 2 (ballot initiative)||This Georgia constitutional amendment was presented to voters on the 2006 ballot. The measure preserves the state’s tradition of hunting and fishing for the public good. Amendment 2 passed by a margin of 81 to 19%.|
|GA – Ordinances – Jurisdiction and duties of local governments||GA ST § 4-8-22||This Georgia statute provides authority for local governing units to enforce this article. This statute further establishes that the local government shall designate an individual as a dog control officer to aid in the administration and enforcement of the provisions of this article; the dog control officer does not have the authority to make arrests unless the person is a law enforcement officer. Additionally, this article also allows local governments to make arrangements with each other for consolidation of dog control services.|
|GA – Rabies – Chapter 19. Control of Rabies||GA ST § 31-19-1 to 10||This GA statute pertains to the control of rabies. Any person bitten by an animal suspected of being rabid must notify the county board of health. The owner of any animal which has bitten any person or animal, or exhibits signs of rabies, must notify the county board of health. The owner must also confine the animal. A violation is a misdemeanor.|
|GA – Trust for the care of an animal; creation; termination – Chapter 12. Trusts||GA ST § 53-12-28||This Georgia law enacted in 2010 provides that a trust may be created to provide for the care of an animal that is alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust shall terminate upon the death of such animal or, if the trust was created to provide for the care of more than one animal alive during the settlor’s lifetime, upon the death of the last surviving animal.|
|GA – Veterinary – Veterinary Practice Code||GA ST § 43-50-1 to 91||These are the state’s veterinary practice laws. Among the provisions include licensing requirements, laws concerning the state veterinary board, veterinary records laws, and the laws governing disciplinary actions for impaired or incompetent practitioners. The chapter was recently amended in 2006.
|GA – Veterinary Liens – Article 8. Liens. Part 9. Veterinarians and Boarders of Animals.||Ga. Code Ann., § 44-14-490||This section of Georgia laws deals with veterinary liens. Every licensed veterinarian in Georgia has a lien on each animal or pet treated, boarded, or cared for by him or her while in his or her custody and under contract with the owner of the animal or pet for the payment of charges for the treatment, board, or care of the animal or pet. The veterinarian has the right to retain the animal or pet until the charges are paid. There is a ten-day hold period after demand for payment (made in person or by registered or certified mail) until the pet is deemed abandoned and may be disposed of by the veterinary facility.|
|GA – Wildlife rehabilitation – Chapter 2. Licenses, Permits, and Stamps Generally||GA ST § 27-2-22||This Georgia law makes it unlawful for any person to keep sick or injured wildlife without first obtain a wildlife rehabilitation permit from the state department.|
|GA – Wildlife, transportation – Article 3. Transportation||GA ST § 27-3-90 to 94||This GA statute pertains to transporting wildlife. It is unlawful to transport any wildlife taken in this state without a license or permit. It is unlawful to transport wildlife by a carrier unless the person files with the carrier a written statement giving his name and address and the number of wildlife to be transported and specifying that he lawfully took the wildlife. It is unlawful to transport any wildlife (or parts) for propagation or scientific purposes without a valid scientific collecting permit.|