HEPHZIBAH, RICHMOND CO GA - ANDREZ GUZMAN, 3, IS RECOVERING AT HOME AFTER A NEIGHBOR'S PIT BULL MAULED HIM - NOW HIS CASE GOES BEFORE A JUDGE
VIDEO UPDATE: The case against the owner of a pit bull who attacked a three-year-old has been postponed to January. An incident report shows the pit bull and her four puppies were all involved in the attack and were quarantined after the incident by Augusta Animal Control. According to Sherri Guzman, the boy's mother, the dogs in question have been put down.
Guzman says she does not currently plan on pressing any charges against the dog's owner, but says that could change based on a judge's ruling.
Three-year-old Andrez Guzman is recovering at home from multiple surgeries after the pit bull wandered into the back yard and attacked him.
"We could've easily lost him," Guzman says. "It's hard to see him not looking like quite himself but obviously I take that over not having him at all."
But she says the damage, both mentally and physically, is severe and life-lasting.
"The surgeon told us that most likely he'll have some permanent nerve damage on the right side of his face," Guzman says. "There was a lot of damage [on the right side] area and he may not be able to control [his] right eyebrow."
The fight is now set to move to a Richmond County courtroom and Guzman says she wants results.
"You know, we don't want to hurt our neighbor, obviously," Guzman says. "But there have been consequences because of her lack of supervision over her animals."
But according to statute O.C.G.A. 51-2-7, the case is far from decided.
Georgia's a "negligent" dog bite state. That means in order to hold the dog owner liable for damages, the injured party must prove the owner knew the dog might be dangerous and didn't take action to prevent any injuries. They also have to show the owner was careless with the animal or "let it go at liberty," meaning they did not provide any restraint to the animal.
If the owner has no prior warning the dog is dangerous, it might not be enough to prove liablity. But if the owner failed to follow any county ordinance by keeping the dog on a leash, that might be enough to show the owner had some knowledge their dog might be dangerous to others.
The injured party must also prove they did not provoke the dog into attacking. Other states only require the victim to prove the injury based on only one ground, whereas Georgia's state bite laws require the victims to prove multiple grounds.
The dog's owner previously told News 12 NBC 26 she did not consider the dog to be dangerous and was heartbroken to see the dog attack the child. She also said the dog got loose from her control the day of the attack and was not on a leash.
At the end of the day, Guzman says she only has one goal.
"We could get our bills paid and still maintain a good relationship with our neighbor," Guzman says. "That would be our goal as an outcome for this."
Guzman says she does not currently plan on pressing any charges against the dog's owner, but says that could change based on a judge's ruling Thursday morning. The owner and Guzman are scheduled to be at the Richmond County Judicial Center Thursday morning.
We'll provide more details about the judge's ruling once we get that information.