Fort Worth Dog Bite Lawyer | Fort Worth Dog Mauling Lawsuit | Fort Worth Dog Attack Attorney
Tarrant 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 Fort Worth located at Texas Department of State Health Services, Zoonosis Control, 1301 South Bowen Road, Suite 200, Arlington, Texas 76013 - (817) 264-4920 for all of your needs and questions.
Responsible Dog Ownership in Fort Worth Definitely Can Reduce Fort Worth 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 Fort Worth, 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 Fort Worth Area include:
Bill Whatley's Dog Training
Man's Best Friend
5615 Rufe Snow Drive
North Richland Hills, TX 76180
Metro Animals Depot and Daycare for Dogs
5729 Camp Bowie Boulevard
Fort Worth, TX 76107
DogSmith-N Tarrant County
Fort Woof Dog Park
Fort Worth, Texas
Tails 'N Trails Dog Park
950 Southeast Green Oaks Boulevard
Arlington, TX 76018
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 Fort Worth 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 a Fort Worth 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 a Fort Worth dog bite injury lawyer to fight your claim successfully, and you deserve compensation for your injuries.
Fort Worth 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, Fort Worth has an ordinance requiring that dogs be "restrained" at all times. Furthermore, Fort Worth 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 Fort Worth or Tarrant County, you should contact a local Fort Worth 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 Fort Worth residents from dogs that attack when not reasonably secured and allows Fort Worth dog bite lawyers to sue the dog owners despite lack of previous history of aggression or any provocation from the injury victim. Call a Fort Worth 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
DIVISION 2. - DANGEROUS DOGS
Sec. 6-20.1. - Nuisance declared.
It is hereby declared to be a public nuisance that an owner or other person harbors, keeps, or maintains a dangerous dog in the city unless the owner complies with the requirements of this article and state statutes regulating dangerous dogs. It is hereby declared to be a public nuisance that an owner or other person harbors, keeps, or maintains in the city or brings to the city a dog that has been declared dangerous outside of the city under one (1) or more of the following:
(i) Chapter 822 of the Texas Health and Safety Code;
(ii) a local law or ordinance adopted in accordance with Chapter 822; or
(iii) a statute or ordinance that is substantially similar to Chapter 822 and that was adopted by a political subdivision outside of the State of Texas.
(Ord. No. 17831, § 1, 10-98-07; Ord. No. 18751-08-2009, § 4, 8-11-09)
Sec. 6-20.2. - Dangerous dog incident.
A dangerous dog incident means an incident in which the dog:
(1) Makes an unprovoked attack on a person or other animal that causes bodily injury and occurs in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog is being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own; or
(2) 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.
(Ord. No. 17831, § 1, 10-98-07)
Sec. 6-20.3. - Dangerous dog investigation.
The animal care and control authority or his or her designee may investigate all reports of dangerous dog incidents. The animal care and control authority may accept sworn statements from all victims and witnesses to the attack.
(Ord. No. 17831, § 1, 10-98-07)
Sec. 6-20.4. - Reporting of incident.
(a) A person may report an incident described in section 6-20.2 of the City Code to the animal care and control authority.
(b) The animal care and control authority shall provide a sworn report describing the dangerous dog incident to the city prosecutor's office.
(c) The city prosecutor's office shall evaluate the case and determine whether to file a dangerous dog incident report with the municipal court (court). If such a report is filed, the court shall order the animal care and control authority or his designee to seize the dog and the court shall issue a warrant authorizing the seizure. The animal care and control authority shall seize the dog and shall provide for the impoundment of the dog in secure and humane conditions until the court determines one (1) of the following:
(1) That the dog is not a dangerous dog pursuant to section 6-20.5 of the Code;
(2) That the dog is a dangerous dog and the court or animal care and control authority finds the owner has complied with the ownership of a dangerous dog pursuant to section 6-20.7; or
(3) That the dog should be humanely destroyed or is deceased.
(d) The animal care and control authority shall furnish written notice to the owner of the dog identified in the report to inform the owner that a dangerous dog report has been filed with the court. Notice shall be by hand delivery to the owner of the dog. If the owner cannot be located, notice shall be delivered to any adult at the dog owner's last known physical address or to any adult at the residence where the dog is believed to be kept, if at a location different than the owner's physical address. The notice shall also include a statement that the owner will be notified by the court of the date and time for a hearing pursuant to section 6-20.5
(e) If the court determines the dog to be a dangerous dog, the owner shall pay all costs and or fees assessed by the municipality related to the seizure and impoundment of the dog, including, but not limited to, boarding fees, microchip procedure, city license and rabies vaccination, and the cost of euthanasia of the dog if ordered by the court.
(Ord. No. 17831, § 1, 10-98-07)
Sec. 6-20.5. - Hearing for dangerous dog determination.
(a) The court, on receiving a report of an incident under section 6-20.4 shall set a time for a hearing to determine whether the dog is a dangerous dog. The hearing must be held not later than the tenth day after the date on which the dog is seized or delivered.
(b) The court shall give written notice of the time and place of the hearing to:
(1) The owner of the dog or the person from whom the dog was seized;
(2) The person who made the complaint; and
(3) Any witnesses.
(c) Any interested party, including the city attorney, is entitled to present evidence at the hearing.
(d) The court shall issue its ruling within twenty-four (24) hours from the conclusion of the hearing.
(e) Appeals from convictions under this statute shall be handled like other appeals from convictions in municipal court.
(Ord. No. 17831, § 1, 10-98-07)
Sec. 6-20.6. - Failure to surrender dog.
It shall be a separate violation of this division for any person to refuse or fail to surrender a dog subject to this article, or harbor, hide or secret, transport or secure the transport of a dog subject to this article, for the purpose of preventing its impoundment.
(Ord. No. 17831, § 1, 10-98-07)
Sec. 6-20.7. - Requirements for owners of a dangerous dog.
(a) Not later than the fifteenth 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 and pay an annual registration fee of (i) fifty dollars ($50.00) if the animal was declared dangerous as the result of an incident that occurred before September 1, 2009, or (ii) five hundred dollars ($500.00) if the animal was declared dangerous as the result of an incident that occurred on or after September 1, 2009;
(2) Restrain the dangerous dog at all times on a leash in the immediate control of a person or in a secure enclosure as defined in section 6-1 with the requirement that the enclosure be posted with signs on all sides in four-inch letters warning of the presence of dangerous dogs and shall include a symbol of dangerous dogs understandable by young children;
(3) Obtain and maintain liability insurance coverage or show financial responsibility 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 and provide proof of the required liability insurance coverage or financial responsibility to the animal care and control authority.
(4) Secure the dangerous dog with a muzzle in a manner that will not cause injury to the dog nor interfere with its vision or respiration but shall prevent it from biting any person or animal when the dangerous dog is taken off the property of the owner for any reason;
(5) Provide the dangerous dog with a fluorescent yellow collar to be worn by the dog at all times and to be visible at fifty (50) feet in normal day light so that the dog can be identified;
(6) Spay or neuter the dangerous dog; and
(7) The animal care and control authority shall implant a microchip identification device on the dog immediately after the court has ruled in a hearing pursuant to section 6-20.5 that such dog is dangerous. The dog's microchip shall be registered with a national registry. The cost of the service shall be at the owner's expense.
(b) The court, after determining that the dog is a dangerous dog, shall order the animal care and control authority to continue to impound the dangerous dog in secure and humane conditions until such time as:
(1) The court orders disposition of the dog and the dog is returned to the owner,
(2) The court orders disposition of the dog and the dog is thereby humanely destroyed, or
(3) The dog is deceased.
(c) The court shall order the animal care and control authority to humanely destroy the dog if the court determines after notice and hearing that the owner has not complied with subsection (a). The court shall order the authority to return the dog to the owner if the owner has fully complied with subsection (a) either after a hearing or without a hearing based on the recommendation of the animal care and control authority that the owner has complied with subsection (a).
(d) The owner may appeal the decision of the court by following the appropriate procedures for appeal of a decision of municipal court. During the appeal period, the dog shall remain in the custody, care and control of the animal care and control authority. If the appeal is ultimately unsuccessful, the owner of the dog shall be responsible for the dog's impoundment fees during the period the case was being appealed.
(e) Animal care and control may, at their option, request the owner of a dangerous dog to show proof, on a quarterly basis, of compliance with this division. If animal care and control determines that the owner of a dangerous dog has failed to comply with any requirement listed in subsection (a) above, animal care and control Authority shall issue notice of non-compliance to the owner of the dangerous dog and said owner shall deliver the dog immediately to the animal care and control authority.
(f) If animal care and control is not in receipt of the dog within forty-eight (48) hours after delivery of the notice, then the court shall order the animal care and control authority or his designee to seize the dog and the court shall issue a warrant authorizing the seizure. The animal care and control authority shall seize the dog and shall provide for the impoundment of the dog in secure and humane conditions. After the expiration of three (3) days, if the owner of the dangerous dog has not sufficiently presented proof to the animal care and control authority that he or she is in compliance with subsection (a), the animal care and control authority shall refer the case to the municipal court for notice and hearing.
(g) Upon proof to the court of the dangerous dog owner's non-compliance, the court shall enter, no later than the day of the hearing, a final order for the humane destruction of the dog.
(h) The owner shall pay all costs and or fees assessed by the municipality related to the seizure and impoundment of the dog, including, but not limited to, boarding fees, microchip procedure, city license and rabies vaccination, and the cost of euthanasia of the dog if ordered by the court.
(Ord. No. 17831, § 1, 10-98-07; Ord. No. 18751-08-2009, § 5, 8-11-09)
Sec. 6-20.8. - Dangerous dog registration.
(a) The owner of a dangerous dog shall notify the animal care and control authority within twenty-four (24) hours if the dangerous dog is at large, unconfined, has attacked a human being or another animal, has died, or has been sold or given away.
(b) If an owner of a registered dangerous dog sells or moves the dog to a new address, that owner, not later than the fourteenth day after the date of the sale or move, shall notify the animal control authority for the area in which the new address is located. Upon selling or moving the registered dangerous dog, that owner must notify the new owner or person who has care and control of the dog that he or she is keeping or owning a dog that has been declared dangerous. On presentation by the new owner of the dangerous dog's prior registration tag and payment of a fee of twenty-five dollars ($25.00), the animal control authority shall issue a new registration tag to be placed on the dangerous dog's collar.
(c) The owner of a registered dangerous dog shall notify the office in which the dangerous dog was registered of any attacks the dangerous dog makes on people or other animals.
(Ord. No. 17831, § 1, 10-98-07)
Sec. 6-20.9. - Defenses.
(a) It is a defense to prosecution under this division that the person is a veterinarian, a peace officer, a person employed by a recognized animal shelter or person employed by the state or a political subdivision of the state to deal with stray animals and has temporary ownership, custody or control of the dog; provided, however, that for any person to claim a defense under this section, that person must be acting within the course and scope of his or her official duties with regard to the dangerous dog.
(b) It is a defense to prosecution under this division that the person is an employee of the institutional division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice or of a law enforcement agency and trains or uses dogs for law enforcement or corrections purposes; provided, however, that for any person to claim a defense under this section, that person must be acting within the course and scope of his or her official duties with regard to the dangerous dog.
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under this division that the dog at issue is a trained guard dog in the performance of official duties while confined or under the control of its handler.
(Ord. No. 17831, § 1, 10-98-07)
Sec. 6-20.10 - Violations.
(a) A person who owns or keeps custody or control of a dangerous dog commits an offense if the person fails to comply with any section of this division;
(b) An offense under this section is punishable by a fine not to exceed two thousand dollars ($2,000.00).
(Ord. No. 17831, § 1, 10-98-07)
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 a Fort Worth 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 Fort Worth 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 Fort Worth or Tarrant County, TX, please contact one of the experienced Fort Worth 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 Fort Worth Planning and Development Services Department (contact information below).
- Seek the help of a Fort Worth 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 a Fort Worth area or Tarrant County dog bite or ask other questions pertaining to veterinary public health, do not hesitate to contact the Fort Worth Planning and Development Services Department office at:
A variety of animal training classes and services are offered by the Fort Worth Humane Society. The Fort Worth Humane Society may be reached at:
Contact one of the experienced Fort Worth dog bite lawyers above for a consultation regarding your claim.
Personal Injury Attorneys Serve Fort Worth and Surrounding Cities
Serving clients throughout Central Texas, including Arlington, Avondale, Azle, Bedford, Benbrook, Blue Mound, Boyd, Burleson, Colleyville, Coppell, Crowley, Dalworthington Gardens, Duncanville, Edgecliff Village, Euless, Everman, Forest Hill, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Grapevine, Haltom City, Haslet, Hurst, Irving, Keller, Kennedale, Lake Worth, Lakeside, Mansfield, Midlothian, North Richland Hills, Pantego, Pecan Acres, Pelican Bay, Rendon, Reno, Rhome, Richland Hills, River Oaks, Saginaw, Sanctuary, Sansom Park, Southlake, Watauga, Weatherford, Westlake, Westover Hills, White Settlement, Willow Park, areas in the vicinity of Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport, and other communities in Denton County, Johnson County, Parker County, Tarrant County, and Wise County.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, please contact one of the experienced Tarrant County dog bite lawyers listed on this page.