Dog Breaks Free of Leash, Bites Child
A dog owner may be on the hook after his dog broke free of the leash and bit a 9-year-old boy in the arm, sending him to the hospital. The nine-year-old was playing football outside in Hewitt, Texas. According to the police report, the dog chased the boy after it got loose. The boy’s father ran after the dog, trying to pull it off of his son. The boy was then taken to the Hillcrest hospital with what police described as a significant bite.
According to the dog’s owner, the children were playing in his own and a neighbor’s yard. His daughter was walking the 25-pound dog, but the dog managed to break free. The dog’s owner says he was in his house at the time of the incident. He says that the dog was off of the child by the time his father had gotten into the back of the yard. He says the father proceeded to punch the dog and slammed it on the ground, choking it until its tongue was hanging out of its mouth. The owner described his daughter screaming because she thought the boy’s father was going to kill the dog.
The dog’s owner then went to the boy’s father’s house to see how his son was doing, but the boy’s father was extremely upset and tried to fight the dog owner. Another neighbor had to restrain the two from fighting one another. The dog’s owner also alleges that the boy’s father has an unruly pit bull.
What a mess. Who is liable?
Texas Dog Bite Laws
Texas is a negligence state when it comes to dog bite cases. In order to prove that the dog’s owner is liable for an injury, you must be able to show that the dog owner failed to use ordinary care in restraining the dog. In this case, it could be argued that the dog owner failed to use ordinary care when he allowed his daughter to walk the dog or that the leash used to restrain the dog was inadequate to the purpose.
While some states use a one-bite rule to determine if the dog is dangerous, Texas allows a broader scope for negligence claims. That does not, however, mean that the dog owner is automatically liable if your dog bites someone else. It does, however, mean that the bite victim would not have to prove that the dog had already attacked someone to win a judgment.
This case may further be complicated by the fact that the boy was on the dog owner’s property when the bite occurred. Dog owners have broad leeway when it comes to bites that occur on their property. So long as the bite victim wasn’t invited or otherwise authorized to be on the property, the dog owner has a viable defense to the dog bite claim.
Talk to a Houston Dog Bite Lawyer Today
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, the owner may be liable for your injuries. The Houston dog bite attorneys at Livingston & Flowers, P.L.L.C. can help you file your claim. Talk to us today for a free consultation.