There are more than 4 million dog bites in the United States each year.
If your dog bites a person or another domestic animal, local ordinances require you to take certain steps, often within 24 hours of the incident. A case of severe injury will require emergency care and the hospital must call the police. This is when you call one of Chalaki Law’ Dog Bite Lawyers. In Texas, in cases where the bite victim does not go to the emergency room, the victim must go to a police station to report the bite in person. The police report is automatically sent to Animal Control. An officer from Animal Control may visit the dog’s home to explain the owner’s responsibility and ask questions about the circumstances. Even if Animal Control does not come out, Texas law mandates the owner to take the dog to a veterinarian within 24 hours to begin a 10-day observation for rabies. The veterinarian will examine the dog and fax a report to Animal Control.
If the dog’s rabies vaccine is current, in most instances the dog can be confined at home and brought back to the veterinarian on the 10th day. The veterinarian must again file a report with Animal Care and Control certifying the completion of the observation period. That is the best case scenario (although that statement does not address the emotional trauma).
If the rabies vaccine is not current, the dog must be confined under a veterinarian’s care, at the owner’s expense, for the 10-day observation period. A dog that has caused severe injury or death cannot return home and will be impounded while a “dangerous animal” investigation is completed. The owner is required to pay all costs incurred by Animal Control for housing, care and treatment.
Most city Municipal Codes defines a “dangerous animal” as “one which bites, inflicts injury on, kills or otherwise attacks a human being or domestic animal without provocation or which, on more than one occasion and without provocation, chases or approaches a person in an apparent attitude of attack outside of its owner’s property”. The investigation may include interviewing the victim, the owner, and witnesses and observing the dog and the scene of the bite. A dog declared to be a “dangerous animal” can be euthanized. If the dog is spared, the owner may be ordered to securely confine the dog while on the owner’s property, post warning signs, and muzzle the dog at all times when off the property.
Texas Dog Bite Lawyer
Texas does not have a statute that covers civil liability for dog bites. Rather, in Marshall v. Ranne, 511 SW 2d 255 (Tex. S.C. 1974) the Texas Supreme Court adopted the view of dog bite law contained in the Restatement of Torts section 509. That means Texas is a “negligence” or “one bite rule” state when it comes to dog bites. In order to recover damages for a dog bite, the injured person must show that:
- the dog’s owner knew the dog had bitten someone before or had acted aggressively in the past, or
- the dog’s owner was negligent in controlling the dog or preventing the bite from occurring, and that negligence caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
For instance, suppose you are walking you own dog around the block and a neighbor’s dog bites you. To recover damages under Texas law, you will have to show either that your neighbor knew his dog was aggressive or a “biter”, or you will have to show that the neighbor’s negligence in failing to restrain or watch the dog led to the bite.
Defenses to Dog Bite Liability in Texas
A dog owner in Texas typically has two defenses against a dog bite claim: lack of knowledge and trespassing.
Because Texas dog bite law requires that an owner knows a dog has bitten before or has shown aggressive tendencies, an owner may not be liable for a dog bite if the owner can show he or she had no knowledge of the dog’s propensities, and that the owner did not otherwise act negligently.
For instance, if a previously calm and friendly dog suddenly bites a passing pedestrian, the owner may be able to escape liability by showing the dog had not shown signs of being aggressive before, and that walking the dog on the leash amounted to reasonable care.
Texas’s dog bite laws also do not apply to trespassers. If a person is bitten while unlawfully on the private property of another, the dog’s owner may not be liable for the bite.
Have you or a loved one been injured by a dog bite? The lawyers at Chalaki Law, P.C., can provide you with the type of high-quality legal representation you need to ensure that you recover all of the compensation to which you are entitled.
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Call Chalaki Law’s Dog Bite Lawyers today at 972-793-8500