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Georgia Journal of Science

Abstract

American courts of law have ruled in cases which required interpretation of statutory laws concerning animals. Confronted with ambiguous wording, the presiding judge or judges may need to analyze such statutes to determine whether a particular type of animal is encompassed or excluded by the law. While such a function may sit uncomfortably with courts lacking zoological knowledge, a thoughtful analysis using readily available literature may be helpful to define both the legal and scientific scope of animal related statutes. This article considers a Georgia law listing species of wild animals considered "dangerous as a matter of law" as a case study in which a statute is examined both legally and scientifically to attempt resolution of a structural ambigu­ity.

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