Dallas Dog Bites: The Basics

We all love Fido. He runs. He jumps. He sits on command. But no one wants to be bitten by Fido. Dog attacks can be extremely dangerous, especially to young children or the elderly. Dallas dog owners are responsible for keeping their animals under control. In many cases, if a dog attacks another person, the owner is legally responsible for that attack. Here's some information on Dallas dog bites.

What Should I Do If I Am Bitten By A Dog?

Get prompt medical treatment. Don't wait. Animal bites are very serious and can result in permanent scaring, nerve damage, and lasting psychological trauma.

Next, get all the records regarding your attack, including animal control records, medical records, police reports, and any other records/reports regarding what happened. Take pictures of any injury. It is easier and more effective to show a picture of an injury than to describe it verbally.

Should I Report a Dog Bite?

Absolutely. Promptly report a dog bite to Dallas Animal Services by calling 311 or the Dallas Police Department. They'll investigate the incident and write a report.

What is the Law in Texas Regarding Dog Bites?

Texas requires dog owners to use reasonable care to prevent the animal from causing injuries. Basically, if the owner's negligence led to the dog attack, or if a "dangerous dog" attacks someone; the owner can be sued and possibly sent to jail.

If you are claiming a person didn't use reasonable care (negligence), you don't have to prove the dog has previously bitten another person. For instance, if a teacher let a stray dog wander into a schoolyard and the dog attacked a child, that alone would probably be negligence.

When Should Dog Owners Realize Their Dogs are "Dangerous?"

If an animal control officer tells you, or your dog makes an unprovoked attack that causes any injury.

For example, if a dog has a history of lunging at people, or often growls and snaps at people who come near, the owner may have reason to expect that it may bite someone, eventually.

Texas "One Bite Rule"

The Lone Star state is one of 16 in the country to stick to what is known legally as the "One Bite Rule." Under this rule, if the owner knows his dog has bitten someone before, even just once, he will be liable for subsequent bites."

Another way to put it -- a dog bite victim can recover compensation from the owner or keeper of a dog if both the following conditions are met:

  1. The dog previously bit a person or acted like it wanted to,
  2. The owner / keeper was aware of the dog's previous conduct.

Many times it's difficult for a victim to know whether the dog that bit them had a history of biting. Check with a local animal control officer to see if there are any prior reports on a particular dog. However, many of these incidents go unreported. Consider talking to neighbors or the area mail carrier to see what their experiences have been with the dog. For tips on proving dog bite claims, click here.

Tips to Prevent Dog Bites

  • Never approach a dog you don't know or a dog that is alone without its owner, especially if the dog is behind a fence, tied with a rope or chain, or in a parked car;
  • Never approach a dog that is eating, sleeping, or guarding something;
  • Never chase or tease dogs. Don't poke, hit, pull, or pinch a dog;
  • Always ask the owner's permission before petting a dog; and
  • Never leave a small child alone with a dog.

Because of the difficult burden of proof in some dog bite cases, it may be a good idea for a victim to consult with a personal injury lawyer early on in the claim process.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.