Abilene Dog Bite Lawyer | Abilene Dog Mauling Lawsuit | Abilene Dog Attack Attorney
Taylor County Dog Bite Accident Attorney
Dangerous Dog Facts:
- An estimated 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year;
- Approximately 334,000 people are admitted to US emergency rooms annually with dog bite-associated injuries, and another 466,000 are seen in other medical settings;
- An unknown number of other people who have been bitten do not sustain injuries deemed serious enough to require medical attention;
- Almost half of all persons bitten are children younger than 12 years old; and
- People more than 70 years old comprise 10% of those bitten and 20% of those killed.
According to Zoonosis Control Division of the Texas Department of Health, domesticated dogs comprise most the dog bites in any given year. Even more shocking, Texas was the leader in dog bite fatalities in 2007, with seven fatalities stemming from dog bites that year alone. There is a regional Zoonosis office in Abilene located at Texas Department of State Health Services, Zoonosis Control, 4601 S. First Street, Suite L, Abilene, Texas 79605, (325) 795-5857 for all of your needs and questions.
Responsible Dog Ownership in Abilene Definitely Can Reduce Abilene Dog Bites
As so many things in life, dog bites can be reduced by what happens in the home. A dog is not always the one to blame in the instance of a dog attack or dog bite injury. Many owners use their dogs for illegal dog fights and these dogs are victimized every bit as much as the victims of their attacks, and they too are often severely injured or even killed in dog fighting rings as they fight for their lives. Negligent and abusive dog owners should be held liable for their actions. A decision to be a responsible dog is a personal decision and one that requires responsibility. There are many places in and around Abilene, Texas to have your dog trained for obedience. Dog owners are also able to take their dog to an area designated for dogs to play. Dog parks are there so that the owner can take their dog to an area where they can run around and play in an fenced-in and safe place. Dog parks are a responsible place to take your pet to ensure that when they are running off their leash that they will not run away from you and/or cause harm to a person or another animal. Some Dog Training Facilities and Dog Park locations in the General Abilene Area include:
Big Country Kennel and Outfitters
3450 East Highway 180
Albanie, Texas 76430
Southern Hills Kennel
3303 South Beltway
Abilene, Texas 79606
3501 Catclaw Drive
Abilene, Texas 79606
A-Plus Canine College
Abilene KOA Dog Park
4851 West Stamford Street
Abilene, Texas 79603
Camp Barkeley Dog Park
2070 Zoo Lane
Abilene, TX 79602
Dogs should be trained and any sense of aggressive behavior exhibited by a dog should be immediately attended to by the pet owner in order to avoid a future incident. What it boils down to is that if you or a loved one have been bitten, attacked, maimed, or killed by a dog or other animal, you should be entitled to some degree of compensation from the animal’s owner or handler. Contact one of the experienced Abilene dog bite lawyers above for a consultation regarding your claim.
Texas’s “One Bite” Rule & Dog Bite Claims Based on Negligence
Texas follows the arcane “one bite rule.” This means that a pet owner is liable when:
- the owner knew that the dog had bitten someone before or had a “dangerous propensity” for biting;
- the bite was caused by the negligence of the person handling the dog;
- the bite was caused by a violation of a leash law, prohibition against dogs trespassing or running at large, or a similar animal control law; or,
- the bite injury was caused intentionally by the owner or person handling the dog.
When it cannot be proved that the dog’s owner or handler knew of the dog’s propensity to bite, negligence can form the basis of a claim. An example of a negligence-based claim could occur when the owner of a dog whose breed is notorious for its violent propensities — such as a pit bull, Rottweiler, or German Shepherd — allows their dog to run loose in a children’s park or other public area without supervision. The dog’s owner will be held liable based on negligence if the dog bites a child in the park.
However, a person does not have to be the dog’s owner to be held liable for a bite victim’s injuries. A child bitten at a day care facility for dogs could, through the child’s parents, make a claim against the pet care center, even though the dog was owned by a third party who was absent at the time of the bite. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite, you should contact an Abilene dog bite attorney to pursue your personal injury claims. Even if the dog has no prior history of aggression and has never bitten anyone before, Texas’s “one bite rule” may allow an Abilene dog bite injury lawyer to fight your claim successfully, and you deserve compensation for your injuries.
Abilene Negligence Per Se Dog Bite Lawyer
When a statute or ordinance is violated and the violation leads to an injury, this is called negligence per se.
Negligence per se is frequently found in cases of dog bites, dog maulings, and dog attacks, often resulting from a violation of:
- leash laws;
- dog trespass laws; or,
- no “free-run” laws.
Usually, these types of dog control laws and ordinances are only found in large Texas cities; however, Abilene has an ordinance requiring that dogs be "restrained" at all times. Furthermore, Abilene requires that all dogs over four months of age be licensed with the city officials. If you or a loved one has been bitten or mauled by a dog running loose in violation of the law of Abilene or Taylor County, you should contact a local Abilene dog bite attorney immediately.
Lillian’s Law (H.B. 1355)
The so-called “Lillian Stiles Law,” sponsored by Senator Eliot Shapleigh and passed in 2007, increases the jail time for owners who fail to secure their dogs in a reasonable manner, resulting in serious bodily injury or death to another. Under the law, a dog owner will be charged with a third-degree felony if their dog causes serious bodily injury to a victim during an unprovoked attack. A third-degree felony is punishable by 2-10 years of prison time as well as a potential fine of up to $10,000. If the victim dies from an unprovoked dog attack, H.B. 1355 would impose a charge of second-degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Click here for more information on the passage of Lillian’s Law,
Texas still allows a dog to be chained up, which is not only bad policy, but also dangerous to children and others who are routinely attacked by dogs that have been chained. Lillian’s law helps protect Abilene residents from dogs that attack when not reasonably secured and allows Abilene dog bite lawyers to sue the dog owners despite lack of previous history of aggression or any provocation from the injury victim. Call an Abilene dog bite lawyer today.
Some of Texas' Laws on Dog Bites
Some of the laws are found in the Texas Health & Safety Code, Title 10, Chapter 822 Regulation of Animals:
- Subchapter A General Provisions; Dogs That Attack Persons or Are a Danger to Persons;
Subchapter D Dangerous Dogs;
- 822.041. Definitions;
- 822.042. Requirements for Owner of Dangerous Dog;
- 822.0421. Determination That Dog is Dangerous;
- 822.0422. Reporting of Incident in Certain Counties and Municipalities;
- 822.0423. Hearing;
- 822.043. Registration;
- 822.044. Attack by Dangerous Dog;
- 822.045. Violations;
- 822.046. Defense; and
- 822.047. Local Regulation of Dangerous Dogs
Taylor County Dangerous Dog Laws
(a) Nuisance declared. It is hereby declared to be a public nuisance that an owner harbors, keeps or maintains a dangerous dog in the city unless the owner complies with the requirements of this section, and State statutes regulating dangerous dogs. If the city ordinances are more restrictive or require more than the statutes of the State of Texas, then the City of Taylor ordinances apply.
(b) Requirements for owner of dangerous dog.
(1) Not later than the 30th day after a person learns that the person is the owner of a dangerous dog, the person shall:
a. Register the dangerous dog with the animal control officer;
b. Restrain the dangerous dog at all times on a leash in the immediate control of a person or in a secure enclosure:
c. Obtain liability insurance coverage with a policy that has no deductible of at least one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00), to cover damages resulting from an attack by the dangerous dog causing injury to a person.
d. Any dog declared a dangerous dog by the animal control officer must remain in custody of the City of Taylor, at the owner's expense, until it meets the requirements for the owner of a dangerous dog in the City of Taylor and the State of Texas.
(2) For purposes of this section, a person learns that the person is the owner of a dangerous dog when:
a. The owner knows of an attack described in the definition of "dangerous dog"; or
b. The owner is informed by the animal control officer that the dog is a dangerous dog.
(3) If a person reports an incident described in the definition of "dangerous dog", the animal control officer may investigate the incident. If, after receiving sworn statements of any witnesses, the animal control officer determines the dog is a dangerous dog, it shall notify the owner of that fact.
(4) The owner, not later than the thirtieth day after the date the owner is notified that a dog owned by the owner is a dangerous dog, may appeal the determination of the animal control officer to the municipal court. An owner may appeal a decision of the municipal court in the same manner as appeal for other civil cases.
The determination of the animal control officer is final if the owner does not timely appeal.
(5) The animal control officer shall provide notice of the date, time and location of the hearing to the owner of the dangerous dog and to any complainant, either in person or by certified mail, return receipt requested. At the hearing, all interested persons shall be given the opportunity to be heard.
(6) Upon recommendation of the city prosecutor, the municipal court judge may declare that a dangerous dog is unfit to reside within the city limits of Taylor even if the owner meets the requirements for a dangerous dog. Before the Judge can order the dangerous dog removed from the city limits of Taylor a hearing must be held at the Taylor Municipal Court during which the owner is given the opportunity to present evidence that the dangerous dog should be allowed to remain within the city limits of Taylor if the owner meets the other requirements of a dangerous dog.
(1) The animal control officer shall annually register a dangerous dog if the owner:
1. Proof of liability insurance with a policy that has no deductible in an amount of at least one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00), to cover damages resulting from an attack by the dangerous dog causing bodily injury to a person.
2. Proof of current rabies vaccination of the dangerous dog.
3. Proof of a secure enclosure in which the dangerous dog will be kept.
b. Pays an annual registration fee established by resolution of the city council from time to time.
c. Provides two (2) color identification photographs of at least three (3) inches by three (3) inches of each dangerous dog with one (1) photograph showing the frontal view and the other photograph showing the side view of each dog.
d. Provides the name, general description, including sex, weight, color, predominate breed, height and length and any other discernible features of the dangerous dog.
(2) The animal control officer shall provide to the owner registering a dangerous dog, a registration tag which shall be placed and maintained on the dog's collar at all times.
(3) If the owner of a dangerous dog sells or moves the dog to a new address, the owner, not later than the fourteenth day after the date of sale or move, shall notify the animal control officer. If the dangerous dog has been sold or given away, the former owner shall provide the animal control officer with the name, address and telephone number of the new owner. If the new owner resides in the city or if the animal is kept in the city, the animal control officer shall notify the new owner in person or by certified mail, return receipt requested, that a determination has been made that the dog is dangerous and provide the new owner with a copy of the requirements for the owner of a dangerous dog. It shall be unlawful for the new owner to fail to comply with such requirements.
(4) The owner of a registered dangerous dog shall notify the animal control officer or Taylor Police Department immediately if the dangerous dog is running at large, has bitten or attacked a human being or another animal, has died, or has been sold or given away.
(d) Attack by dangerous dog.
(1) A person commits an offense if the person is the owner of a dangerous dog and the dog makes an unprovoked attack on a person or another animal outside the dog's enclosure and causes bodily injury to a person or another animal.
(2) An offense under this subsection is a class C misdemeanor, unless the attack causes serious bodily injury or death to a person in which event the offense is a class A misdemeanor.
(3) If a person is found guilty of an offense under this section, the court which hears the case may order the dangerous animal destroyed by a licensed veterinarian or a person authorized by state law.
(4) In addition to criminal prosecution, a person who commits an offense under this subsection is liable for a civil penalty not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00). The city attorney may file suit in a court of competent jurisdiction to collect the penalty, which shall be retained by the city.
(e) Violations. A person who owns or keeps custody or control of a dangerous dog commits an offense if the person fails to comply with any requirements for ownership of a dangerous dog. If the owner of any dog determined to be dangerous under this section fails or refuses to comply with requirements of this section, the dog shall be seized by the animal control officer and humanely destroyed.
(1) It is a defense to prosecution under section 4-23(d) or (e) that the person is a veterinarian, a peace officer, a person employed by a recognized animal shelter or a person employed by the state or political subdivision of the state to deal with stray animals, and has temporary ownership, custody and control of the dangerous dog in connection with that position.
(2) It is a defense to prosecution under section 4-23(d) or (e) that the person is an employee of the institutional division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice or a law enforcement agency and trains or uses dogs for law enforcement or correction purposes.
(3) It is a defense to prosecution under section 4-23(d) or (e) that the person is a dog trainer or an employee of a guard dog company under the Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies Act, V.T.C.S. art. 4413(29bb), as amended.
(Ord. No. 2009-7, § 18, 2-12-09)
Sec. 6-60. Authorization.
The general laws of the state, except as specifically provided through proper ordinances and regulations of the city, shall control the handling of dangerous dogs. There is adopted as part of this chapter all of the provisions of Title 10, Chapter 822, Subchapter D of the Texas Health and Safety Code insofar as applicable.
(Ord. No. 40-2001, pt. 1(Exh. A), 12-20-01)
Sec. 6-61. Definitions.
For the purposes of this article, the following words and/or phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by the statute except as provided below:
“Dangerous dog” as de fined in § 822.041 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, is amended to include the additional definition of:
(C) makes an unprovoked attack on a domestic animal that causes serious bodily injury or death 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.
(Ord. No. 40-2001, pt. 1(Exh. A), 12-20-01)
Sec. 6-62. Seizure.
(a) If a person reports an incident described by § 822.041(2) of the Texas Health and Safety Code as codified and amended by section 6-61 of the Abilene City Code, the animal control department shall seize and impound the dog pending investigation of the incident.
(b) The animal control department shall release the dog to the owner if the animal control department has not made a determination that the dog is a dangerous dog before the 6th working day after the seizure and impoundment of the dog, and if all fees have been paid as required under subsection (d). Release of the dog does not prohibit the animal control department from receiving more information and subsequently declaring the dog a dangerous animal.
(c) If the animal control department determines the dog is a dangerous dog, it shall continue to impound the dog until the owner complies with § 822.042 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, or until such time as the dog may legally be destroyed.
(d) The owner shall pay any cost or fee assessed by the animal control department related to the seizure, acceptance, impoundment, or destruction of the dog. In the event that the dog is returned to the owner, all fees must be paid prior to release of the dog.
(Ord. No. 23-2002, pt. 1(Exh. A), 5-23-02)
Secs. 6-63–6-68. Reserved.
Family Bystander Mental Anguish Claims
Texas recognizes the right of bystanders to recover damages for mental anguish caused by witnessing an accident, with the following limitations: the bystander must be a parent or child of the victim and the victim must have been killed or severely injured in the animal attack or mauling. Therefore, if you have witnessed a close family member mauled or bitten by a dog, you may want to pursue legal action on behalf of the injury victim as well as your own claims for witnessing such a horrific event. Contact an Abilene dog bite lawyer today to discuss bystander and mental anguish claims.
Negligence Based on Failure to Stop an Attack
A Texas dog owner owes a duty to attempt to stop his dog from attacking a person after the attack has begun. This is a civil duty, meaning that the Abilene dog bite victim can sue for monetary damages if the dog owner does not attempt to stop the attack.
If you or a loved one have been bitten or mauled by a dangerous dog in Abilene or Taylor County, TX, please contact one of the experienced Abilene dog bite injury lawyers listed on this page.
What Should You Do if You Have Been Bitten by a Dog?
- Make every attempt to keep the animal in sight, find its owner, and obtain the owner’s contact information, preferably verified by their photo ID.
- Immediately wash the wound out with soap and warm water.
- Make sure that you are up to date on your tetanus shots.
- Seek the help of a physician or visit a local hospital.
- Report the bite to the Abilene Planning and Development Services Department (contact information below).
- Seek the help of an Abilene dog bite attorney, if necessary, and maintain copies of all medical records and other relevant evidence.
For more information on dog bites and their victims, visit DogsBite.org
Dog Bite Reporting:
If you would like to report an Abilene area or Taylor County dog bite or ask other questions pertaining to veterinary public health, do not hesitate to contact the Abilene Planning and Development Services Department office at:
A variety of animal training classes and services are offered by the Abilene SPCA. The Abilene SPCA may be reached at:
Contact one of the experienced Abilene dog bite lawyers above for a consultation regarding your claim.
Personal Injury Attorneys Serve Abilene and Surrounding Cities
Serving clients throughout Central Texas, including Abilene, Albany, Anson, Avoca, Baird, Belle Plain, Big Spring, Breckenridge, Buffalo Gap, Clyde, Colorado City, Dyess AFB, Eastland, Eula, Goldsboro, Hamlin, Haskell, Hawley, Hawley - Noodle, Impact, Lawn, Lueders, Maryneal, McCaulley, Merkel, Moran, Nolan, Novice, Nugent, Ovalo, Potosi, Roby, Rotan, Roscoe, Snyder, Stamford, Sweetwater, Trent, Tuscola, Tye, Winters, Wylie and other communities in Taylor County and Jones County.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, please contact one of the experienced Taylor County dog bite lawyers listed on this page.