Texas state law and dog bites

Texas takes dog attacks seriously. Victims can receive monetary awards to cover costs associated with a dog bite injury.

A man from Texas recently experienced just how quickly a peaceful afternoon can turn tragic. The man was taking his dog out one afternoon, skateboarding with his leashed Siberian husky. While enjoying their afternoon exercise, a neighboring dog escaped from his yard and attacked the husky. The dog that escaped, a pit bull, reportedly began attacking the husky. During the attack, the pit bull grabbed the husky by the neck and flipped him onto his back. The owner of the husky repeatedly attempted to separate the dogs. The pit bull owner came out of her home briefly, but returned inside.

The husky owner was left with a difficult decision. It was clear no one was going to offer any assistance. His own beloved pet was in distress and the pit bull was clearly winning the fight. The husky owner was a licensed concealed handgun carrier. He removed his weapon and fired at the pit bull once. The bullet struck, the pit bull released the husky and ran off. The pit bull later died from the injuries sustained by the gunshot.

This case led to a number of questions about dog bite injuries and Texas state law. Questions like was the owner justified in shooting the pit bull? What if the pit bull had bit the husky owner?

Question #1: Was the husky owner justified in shooting the pit bull?

In this case, covered by a local CBS affiliate, the owner was a licensed concealed handgun carrier. He was in a dangerous situation. The pit bull had shown aggression not just to his pet, but to the owner himself when the husky owner attempted to stop the attack. As such, the owner was likely justified in responsibly using his weapon. Texas state law specifically allows for any person witnessing an attack of one dog attacking another animal to kill the attacking dog. In these situations, the law states that the person who kills the dog is "not liable for damages to the owner, keeper, or person in control of the dog."

Question #2: What if the dog had bitten the owner?

The Texas Department of State Health Services Zoonosis Control division notes that any attack incident that results in a bite must be handled by the Local Rabies Control Authority. This individual is responsible for conducting an investigation and enforces both state and local rabies laws. In the case of a dog bite, the dog is put in quarantine or euthanized. In this instance, if the pit bull had bitten the husky owner, it is likely that testing for rabies would commence.

The owner of the animal that bites is responsible for the costs associated with the injury. This includes the expense of quarantine.

What if I am the victim of a dog attack in Texas?

Those who are victims of a dog attack in Texas are wise to seek legal counsel. Victims may be eligible for compensation to help cover any monetary losses connected with the attack as well as awards for suffering. Contact an experienced dog bites and animal attack attorney to discuss your options.