If you are injured by a dangerous dog, the last thing you should worry about is what happens to dogs that bite you? But, it is a common question asked by dog bite victims. Having them as pets doesn’t take away their animal instincts, and at times, they lash out. Most pet animal bites result from dogs. Indeed, the American Veterinary Medical Association estimates some 4.5 million dog bites happen in the US every year. Although the majority of these cases do not require medical attention, it is insanely expensive for the few cases where it’s required.
Whenever there is a dog bite case, the owner may be concerned about the harsh consequences on the dog. For this reason, dog owners tend to file lawsuits over the bite to save the dog of the consequences. The owner is usually to blame for any bite incidences, and even if the pet is convicted in a dog bite lawsuit, it will not face any repercussions, but the owner. usually, different states have different laws regarding the matter.
In Texas, several laws alongside one-bite-rule apply regarding dog bites.
a. Negligent handling
This is also known as the negligence rule. It means that for a bitten person to recover damages or compensation, they have to prove negligence on the part of the dog owner.
To prove a dog owner’s negligence, a dog bite victim needs to show a lack of typical care or lack of the care that a reasonable dog owner would have practiced in a similar situation. If the dog owner has failed to show reasonable handling of the dog, the victim can initiate a negligence lawsuit. An example of reasonable care would be not to allow children near a dog that is likely to attack. A reasonable person should also not let stray dogs near children in the backyard.
Generally, there are four things that a plaintiff needs to prove to win a dog bite lawsuit in Texas. These are:
- Prove that the dog is under the defendants’ ownership
- Prove that the defendant was expected to practice prudent care to bar the animal from biting people
- Prove that the defendant failed to fulfill the above responsibility
- Prove that indeed, the defendants’ negligence led to the plaintiff’s injury
b. Strict liability
If the dog has a history of vicious, mischievous, or dangerous behaviors, the dog owner may face a strict liability rule. In this rule, the injury is considered to have happened due to the dog’s known nature.
In a case where the dog has bitten somebody before, the dog is considered dangerous regardless of the extent of the injury. In this case, the plaintiff would not have to prove negligence on the dog owner’s side. The plaintiff would thus be able to recover damages by just proving that the dog was known to be injurious.
In a strict liability rule lawsuit, the plaintiff is required to prove just two things, namely:
- The dog has previously bitten a person, or behave in a manner suggestive of the same
- The owner was knowledgeable of the dog’s behavior
c. Negligence per se
This doctrine applies in dog bite cases where the owner had violated an animal control law (s). One such law requires dogs to be on leash or strap. In this case, the plaintiff would have to prove that the statute was violated and that the injury was a result of the violation.
d. Landlord liability
This statute applies to Texas landowners and landlords. Landlords are required to rid their premises of a dog know to be dangerous. The landlord is also required to keep the premises safe to keep the dog out.
There are certain laws regarding the handling of dogs in the cities. For example, whereas Texas doesn’t have statewide laws requiring leashing of dogs, in Houston, (and a few other cities), dog owners are required either leash, muzzle, or restrain their dogs in public places. If a dog owner violates this law and a dog bite occurs, as a result, the dog owner can be sued.
Are the dogs put down?
In the event of a dog bite, and the dog is convicted, it may face several outcomes. The owner may be required to train the dog to correct its behavior. The dog can also be taken away from the owner if its aggression continues.
If unfortunately, the dog’s vaccination records against rabies are not available, the dog can be:
- Quarantined and put under observation for at least 10 days to establish rabies status.
- Humanely euthanized and its body checked for rabies.
Texas residents are also allowed to shoot a dog that’s about to attack, is attacking, or has recently attacked their livestock.
Does the victim have a say in the matter?
Yes. A victim has the option of pressing charges on a dog owner whose dog has injured the victim. The victim should, however, substantiate the claims.
Barrier placement is one of the most effective ways of preventing stray dogs from biting people. These barriers should be put in common areas. They include doors, gates, or any other barrier that can keep a dangerous dog away from people.
If you have any further inquiries, or have been a victim of a dog bite incident, contact personal injury lawyer Jerome Fjeld, PLLC today.