(a) It is unlawful for an owner to have or possess within the county a classified dog without a certificate of registration issued in accordance with the provisions of this section. Certificates of registration shall be nontransferable and shall be issued to a person 18 years of age or older. Each classified dog must be separately registered with the County and issued a separate certificate of registration. No more than one certificate of registration shall be issued per domicile, regardless of whether such certificate of registration is for a dangerous dog or a vicious dog.
(b) Subject to the additional requirements of this article, a certificate of registration shall be issued once the animal services officer determines that the following requirements have been met:
(1) The owner has maintained a proper enclosure designed to securely confine the dangerous dog on the owner's property (which shall not include any electronic animal confinement system); and
(2) Clearly visible warning signs have been posted at all entrances to the premises where the dog resides, including a sign issued by the animal services division indicating the dog’s classification number.
(c) Except as otherwise provided in this article, a certificate of registration for a vicious dog shall be issued if the animal services officer determines that the following requirements have been met:
(1) The owner has maintained a proper enclosure designed to securely confine the vicious dog on the owner's property (which shall not include any electronic animal confinement system);
(2) Clearly visible warning signs have been posted at all entrances to the premises where the dog resides;
(3) A microchip containing an identification number and capable of being scanned has been injected under the skin between the shoulder blades of the dog; and
(4) The owner maintains and can provide proof of general or specific liability insurance in the amount of at least $50,000.00 or the maximum amount authorized by state law issued by an insurer authorized to transact business in this state insuring the owner of the vicious dog against liability for any bodily injury or property damage caused by the vicious dog.
(d) The owner of a classified dog shall notify the animal services division, within 24 hours if the dog is on the loose, is unconfined, has attacked a human, has died or been euthanized, or has been sold or relocated. If the dog has been sold or relocated, the owner shall also provide the animal services officer with the name, address, and telephone number of the new owner of the dog and of the effective date of the transfer. Any transferee of a dangerous dog shall be presumed to have notice of the dog’s classification as such. A vicious dog shall not be transferred, sold, or donated to any other person unless it is relinquished to a governmental facility or veterinarian to be euthanized.
(e) The owner of a classified dog shall notify the animal services division if the owner is moving out of the county. The owner of a classified dog who moves to the county from another jurisdiction within the State of Georgia shall register the classified dog with the county within ten days of becoming a resident and notify the animal services division of the jurisdiction from which he or she moved. The owner of a similarly classified dog who is a new resident of the state shall register the dog as required in this section within 30 days after becoming a resident.
(f) Issuance of a certificate of registration or renewal of a certificate of registration by the animal services division in the county does not warrant or guarantee that the requirements specified in this section are maintained by the owner of a classified dog on a continuous basis following the date of the issuance of the initial certificate of registration or following the date of any annual renewal of such certificate.
(g) An animal services officer is authorized to make whatever inquiry is deemed necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of this article. Pursuant to state law, law enforcement agencies, including those of the county and the municipalities within the county, will cooperate with animal services officers in enforcing the provisions of this article.
(h) An annual fee, which may be set from time to time in an amount deemed reasonable by the board of commissioners, in addition to any regular dog licensing fees shall be paid to register classified dogs as required by this article. Certificates of registration shall be renewed on an annual basis. At the time of the annual renewal of a certificate of registration, an animal services officer shall require evidence from the owner or make such investigation as may be necessary to verify that the classified dog is continuing to be confined in a proper enclosure and that the owner is continuing to comply with other provisions of the animal control ordinance. Failure to renew a certificate of registration within ten days of the renewal date or initial classification date shall constitute a violation of this article.
(i) No certificate of registration shall be issued to any person who has been convicted of two or more violations of this article.
(j) No certificate of registration for a vicious dog shall be issued to any person (or to any person residing with such person) who has been convicted (from the time of conviction until two years after completion of his or her sentence) of:
(1) A serious violent felony as defined in O.C.G.A. § 17-10-6.1;
(2) The felony of dogfighting as provided for in O.C.G.A. § 16-12-37 or the felony of aggravated cruelty to animals as provided for in O.C.G.A. § 16-12-4; or
(3) A felony involving trafficking in cocaine, illegal drugs, marijuana, methamphetamine, or ecstasy as provided for in O.C.G.A. § 16-13-31.1.