Most of these dogs are not wild dogs, but dogs with owners. The problem is that their owners allowed them to run loose.
Like many cities, Houston and Dallas have “leash laws” which stress that that all dogs — again, all dogs, down to the tiniest chihuahua — must be restrained or leashed if not kept behind a fence or inside a building. Yet many people disobey this law, allowing their dogs to run loose while often insisting “He hasn’t bitten anyone.”
But such municipal laws are not discretionary. They do not allow dog owners to decide for themselves that their dogs won’t attack and to let their dogs run freely. Dogs must not run loose — period.
After all, there’s always a first time for a dog bite, and sometimes that first time even can be fatal.
In Dallas recently, a woman was attacked by two pit bulls, a breed which regularly kills — and not just injures — human beings. Tamika Batts, 39, who lives in Oak Cliff, southwest of downtown, was bitten on her arms, legs and face, then was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Dallas Police later issued two citations to the dogs’ owners, and animal control officers impounded the dogs for a 10-day period.
Others have fared even worse. Dogs have killed Americans for many years, and pit bulls often are the breed.
In 2015, 34 Americans were killed by dogs, and 28 of those fatal victims — more than 80 per cent — were attacked by pit bulls.
In 2014, even more Americans — 42– died from dog attacks by various breeds.
According to DogsBite.org, between 2005 and 2015 dogs killed 360 Americans. Pit bulls accounted for 232 of those deaths, or 64 per cent — almost two-thirds. Next most lethal were rottweilers, accounting for 12 per cent of total deaths from dog attacks.
The two breeds together thus caused 76 per cent, or more than three-fourths, of all deaths from dog attacks.
No one is saying all such dogs can be killers. However, it is clear that certain breeds are more dangerous than others, which is why some places in America have laws specific to pit bulls.
However, most leash laws apply to all dogs, because many different breeds can attack.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 4.7 million persons are bitten by dogs yearly in America, and around 2 million of them are children. Of those millions of victims, almost 900,000 must receive medical attention, and thousands require reconstructive surgery. Dog attacks also can leave emotional and psychological scars, not just physical ones.
This onslaught of dog attacks is extremely costly to Americans. Dog bites run up a bill of about $1 billion annually for medical costs, lost time at work and other losses.
In Houston, the Municipal Code states that all dogs cannot be “at large” outside the direct physical control of their owners. That is, all dogs must be leashed, or they must be fenced in without access to public areas. An exception is an authorized no-leash zone such as a dog park.
Unleashed dogs who injure persons — children, the elderly and postal carriers often are the victims — may be impounded. Also, their owners may be liable for injuries or deaths in the attack. Fines start at $100 — and can go up.
The Dallas City Code, Chapter 7, is similar. Dogs must be restrained by their owners at all times. Lawbreakers can be fined up to $225 by Dallas Police.
San Antonio also forbids dogs running loose. And “He won’t hurt anyone” is not an acceptable assertion to disobey such laws.
Besides, why take the chance? In Texas, dog owners even have been imprisoned after their dogs attacked.
Sadly, insurance companies have done a poor job of compensating victims of dog bites. Only 2 per cent of victims in recent years have received payments from insurance for their dog bite losses.
Clearly, Americans must fight back, and they can do so with a dog bite lawyer from Jim Adler & Associates. Notify our law firm today about your dog bite attack, and let us help you claim the payments — and justice — you legally deserve.