Understanding dog bite law:
Dog bites law seen in the news:
Dog attacks are serious personal injury cases. In most states, if you are attacked by a dog you can do whatever is necessary to protect yourself. Anyone who owns a dog knows that dogs are not naturally malicious or violent, but sometimes they are afraid or misdirect their protective instincts and this can lead to violent outbursts.
If you or someone you know has experienced an attack by a dog, you need to know what to do directly after a dog bit and when it’s time to seek compensation from the owner for injuries you incurred. Dog bite situations can be very hard to handle due to the emotional attachments owners have with their pets.
July 10, 2019
July 1, 2019 Travis County Judge Julie Kocurek sentenced the neighbor of a boy who was attacked by dogs to three years in prison. Hector Guzman faces three years in prison for negligently failing to secure three dogs that left a boy seriously injured.
The lead prosecutor of the case said “the defendant’s disregard of his dogs’ escalating behavior led to this preventable situation. The child who was mauled will have obstacles ahead of him relating to this incident, but he is bright, full of energy, and is surrounded by the endless love and support of his family.”
The dogs were found to have an aggressive history prior to the incident in a different county. Investigators found that the behavior escalated prior to moving to Del Valle.
The boy, now nine years old, will continue to need medical care for the injuries to his arm and back.
UPDATE: The dog, described as a pit bull terrier mix has been euthanized following the incident. The dog had been held on at 10-day rabies quarantine since the attack, but was put down by a veterinarian in Manor following the expiration of the quarantine.
The owner of the dog voluntarily surrendered the dog to authorities immediately following the attack on 7-year-old Brison.
A 7-year-old child was playing in a yard when a neighbor’s dog, described as a pit bull mix, ran out of a house. The owner says that the leash broke. Read the entire story from KXAN.
Camera footage captured the entire incident. In video the footage, Brison can be seen running away from the dog, who tackles and attacks Brison on the neighborhood street where he lives. Neighbors rushed to assist Brison and move the dog off of him.
Manor Police issued several citations to the family of the dog. At present, the dog owner faces $400 in fines. The owner of the dog has surrendered the dog who will be put to sleep. Manor police said that it is possible that the dog’s owner could be charged with a third degree felony for an attack by dog.
According to the family of Brison Aldrige, the dog was known to be aggressive and she didn’t allow her children to go inside the home.
The family of 7-year-old Brison Aldrige is still friends with the children who live in the home where the dog came from. Brison’s mom, Shauna, says that she wants to prevent this happening to any other family.
Georgetown Girl Attacked by Dog Has No Opportunity for Legal Action Due to Ordinance
A first grader and her sister have stopped playing outside after one was attacked by a neighborhood dog on Christmas day.
The family says that Whitney Bond and her sister followed their father when he went to say hello to a neighbor in the Georgetown Rancho Sienna neighborhood.
When they were playing with the neighbor’s daughter, Whitney was attacked by the neighbors dog. They say it growled, jumped up and attacked her. Whitney suffered a concussion, injuries to her face, and mouth, and had to get several internal and external stitches.
Whitney wasn’t able to eat for days and continues to have nightmares. Unfortunately, nothing will happen to the dog that attacked her.
Because of an ordinance in Georgetown, authorities cannot remove the dog. They say that if the attack had happened on public property, they would be able to remove the dog from the area that Whitney’s family say is heavily populated area full of children.
Read on to see how dog bite ordinances in place can help or deter dog bite victims from seeking legal action.
Dog Bite Laws in Austin
Austin’s Animal Protection division serves the community when dangerous and vicious dogs bite. They handle all cases involving dangerous and vicious dogs. If someone is bitten by an animal, call 9-1-1 if they need emergency care. You can call 3-1-1 if emergency care isn’t required. For all unincorporated areas of Travis County, citizens can call 512-974-0617.
It’s part of the city’s “vicious dog” ordinance for animal bites to be reported to Animal protection. All animal bites must be reported to Animal Protection. If medical attention is received, download the city’s Animal Bite Report and fax it to 512-978-0617.
Owners of dogs that have bitten are required to submit record of a current rabies vaccination certificate to Animal Protection. If the dog does not have current vaccination records, the dog must be placed in a quarantine by a vet.
Dangerous and Vicious Dogs in Austin: Owner Responsibilities
Dogs that have been declared vicious are recorded and displayed in an online database. You can view a current list of dangerous and vicious dogs in the Austin area at austintexas.gov. It’s a good idea to take a look at the list to see if any of the dangerous dogs live in your neighborhood.
Texas’ One Bite Rule
Texas doesn’t officially have a law that’s called the “one bite rule.” But in order for a dog bite case to proceed in Texas, the plaintiff must prove that the owner knew that the animal was capable of attacking someone. That’s why some people say that dogs in Texas get “one free bite.”
In Austin, a the Dangerous and Vicious Dog List shows which dogs have acted aggressively. Most often, dogs on this list have bitten someone once, and then that dog was reported to Animal Control. There is a distinction between “dangerous dog” and “vicious dog.”
- Makes an unprovoked attack on a person that causes bodily injury, and occurs in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its’ own: or
- commits unprovoked acts in a place other than an enclosure which the dog was being kept and that reasonably certain to prevent the dogs from leaving the enclosure on its’ own and those acts cause a person to reasonably believe that the dog will attack and cause bodily injury to a person.
- An owner or handler shall take reasonable measures to protect the public from accidental contact with a dog that, by nature or by training, is dangerous to people or other animals.
- on at least three separate occasions bitten or scratched a person in the city;
- on at least one occasion bitten or scratched a person to an extent that the attending physician has presented an affidavit to the health authority stating that the person’s life may have been endangered by the dog; or
- on at least one occasion killed another dog, cat, or other domestic pet, fowl, or livestock; or seriously injured another animal to an extent that the injured animal’s life was seriously endangered or taken by the dog.
Austin, TX – A former University of Texas at Austin running back, Cedric Benson, is in the middle of lawsuit over an alleged attack by his two Rottweilers. According to court records, a woman and her dog were attacked.
According to KXAN news, on September 28 the charges were filed in Travis County. According to court documents, the plaintiff in the case is asking for more than $200,000 but not more than $1,000,000. The dog bite victim has suffered medical costs, lost earning capacity, physical impairment, pain, disfigurement, and mental anguish.
The incident occurred on July 18 when the victim was walking her Maltese in a northwest Austin neighborhood past Benson’s home. One of the Rottweillers knocked down the victim, Lynn Comegys, and then another Rottweiler attacked her and the Maltese.
The victim’s attorney filed a dangerous dog complaint with the city, however Benson did not appear at the Sept. 20 hearing. Benson’s attorney stated that he reached out to the victim two days following the incident offering to pay for medical and veterinary costs.
This is not Benson’s first violent dog attack case. Benson was sued in 2011 after one of his dogs bit a woman in the breast while visiting his home in Cincinnati in October 2009.
Read more about the case form the Chicago Tribune. In 2011, Benson completed a five day jail term for a misdemeanor assault conviction. In 2014, Benson was arrested for verbally assaulting a woman in downtown Austin.
- Get medical attention if you need it. After a dog bit or attack, you need to make sure the injury or wound does not escalate in severity or into infection. Go straight to the doctor. Make sure you doctor acknowledges the dog was the cause of injury in any reports or billing paperwork she or he files.
- Get the owners information. If you are able, taking the name, address, and phone number of the owner is important. This might seem awkward for some people who do not like confrontation or who do not think they are going to ask for money, but be prepared in case you change your mind.
- Note any witnesses and get their information If you are able, after the accident take down any names and information of people who witnessed the incident.
- Report incident to your local animal control authority. This is important so that your community can keep records on dangerous dogs. If the dog did not have tags, then animal control will quarantine the dog and make sure he or she is not rabid. If the dog has an owner, tags, and up-to-date rabies shots, this will not be an issue.
There are around 4.5 million dog bites each year and 800,000 of those require medical attention. The owner will be liable for a dog bit in three cases:
- the owner knew that his dog was dangers our had a tendency to harm others—this has to be proved by the victim or lawyer
- a state statute mandates that owners are responsible for any injuries their dog created
- the owner acted unreasonably careless or reckless (negligence) and this behavior caused the injury
If you have been the victim of a dog bit and you think any of these criteria apply to your incident of injury or pain and suffering, then contact a lawyer to see your options for reimbursement. You can also follow the next step to further investigate the liability of the owner.
Check Your Local Animal Control Department
Go to your local animal control department and check for any previous cases of the dog attacking or biting someone. If the dog has a prior record, further investigation may be needed. If the owner had been warned to keep his dog away from others before, he will be held liable for any damages caused by the dog. Many local animal control departments record the dogs as “dangerous” when he or she has a prior record. If the dog has posed a danger before, then report anything you are worried about to animal control.
Contact Us For Any Questions
If you have suffered from from a dog bite and are uncertain if you deserve compensation or not, you need to talk to someone understands the ins and outs of these cases. Contact us for more information regarding your dog bite injury.