Nobody likes to think about man’s best friend as dangerous. But dogs can be aggressive, and there are a lot of irresponsible pet owners out there. The aftermath of a dog attack can negatively impact someone’s life. Not only can dog bites hurt, but they can also become infected and spread diseases. Nearly one in five people who are bitten by a dog require medical attention. The owner of the aggressive dog is legally responsible to compensate the victim for mounting medical bills, pain and suffering, and the mental anguish and fear of another dog attack.
Brad Parker says, “Texas is one of the states that has the ‘first bite is free’ rule. What that means is that if you are a victim of a dog bite, you must show that the dog owner knew or should have known that his dog was aggressive or dangerous or had at least shown aggressive tendencies in the past.”
According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention, here are some tips on how to protect yourself and your family from dog bites:
- Learn the Signals to Watch Out For
Any dog can bite, especially when scared, nervous, eating, or when playing or protecting toys or puppies. Dogs may also bite when they aren’t feeling well and want to be left alone. Don’t approach a dog that seems angry, scared, or sick. Responsible pet ownership, including socializing your dog, avoiding rough play, and using a leash in public, can help prevent dog bites.
- Children are at the Biggest Risk
Children are the most common victims of dog bites. Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities with familiar dogs. Always supervise kids around dogs, even familiar pets. Teaching kids how to interact properly with dogs can help keep them safe.
- Beware of Unfamiliar Dogs
- Stay still and be calm.
- Avoid direct eye contact with the dog.
- Do not panic, make loud noises, or run.
- Say “no” or “go home” in a firm, deep voice and stand with the side of your body facing the dog.
- Slowly raise your hands to your neck with your elbows in and wait for the dog to pass or slowly back away.
Brad says, “If someone is the victim of a dog attack, the first person they should contact are medical professionals and have the wounds treated to whatever extent is necessary. Additionally, the victim or victim’s advocate will want to contact the dog owner to find out if the animal has been properly vaccinated.”
Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 822
A dangerous dog is defined as:
(A) 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
(B) commits unprovoked acts 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 and those acts cause a person to reasonably believe that the dog will attack and cause bodily injury to that person.
Not later than the 30th day after a person learns that the person is the owner of a dangerous dog, the person shall:
(1) register the dangerous dog with the animal control authority for the area in which the dog is kept;
(2) restrain the dangerous dog at all times on a leash in the immediate control of a person or in a secure enclosure;
(3) obtain liability insurance coverage or show financial responsibility in an amount of at least $100,000 to cover damages resulting from an attack by the dangerous dog causing bodily injury to a person and provide proof of the required liability insurance coverage or financial responsibility to the animal control authority for the area in which the dog is kept; and
(4) comply with an applicable municipal or county regulation, requirement, or restriction on dangerous dogs.
Furthermore, many cities, towns, and municipalities have their own dog laws. If these codes are violated, then the owner or handler may be held accountable through a lawsuit for injuries that result from the attack.
Most Dangerous Dog Breeds
Research from DogsBite.org shows that during the 16-year period from 2005 to 2020, canines killed 568 Americans. Pit bulls and Rottweilers accounted for 76% (431) of these deaths. During the 20-year government study period of 1979 to 1998, 238 dog bite-related fatalities with breed information was studied. The combination of pit bulls and Rottweilers accounted for 50% (120) of these deaths.
If you or someone you love has been bitten and severely injured by a dog, Parker Law Firm can help get you the compensation you deserve. Give our office a call or fill out our contact form for a free consultation.