Galveston Dog Bite Lawyer | Galveston Dog Mauling Lawsuit | Galveston Dog Attack Attorney
Galveston 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 Galveston located at Texas Department of State Health Services, Zoonosis Control, 5425 Polk Avenue, Suite J, Houston, Texas 77023, (713) 767-3300 for all of your needs and questions.
Responsible Dog Ownership in Galveston Definitely Can Reduce Galveston 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 Galveston, 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 Galveston Area include:
923 Avenue F
Galveston, TX 77550
6102 Avenue J
Galveston, TX 77551
Bay Area Park
7500 Bay Area Boulevard
Pasadena, TX 77058
Pecan Acres Pet Care
100 Forest Oaks Lane
Lake Jackson, TX 77566
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 Galveston 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 Galveston 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 Galveston dog bite injury lawyer to fight your claim successfully, and you deserve compensation for your injuries.
Galveston 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, Galveston has an ordinance requiring that dogs be "restrained" at all times. Furthermore, Galveston 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 Galveston or Galveston County, you should contact a local Galveston 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 Galveston residents from dogs that attack when not reasonably secured and allows Galveston dog bite lawyers to sue the dog owners despite lack of previous history of aggression or any provocation from the injury victim. Call a Galveston 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
Galveston County Dangerous Dog Laws
(a) Purpose and scope.
(1) The purpose of this section is to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of the city by providing for the disposition of dogs determined to be dangerous.
(2) The administrative procedures of this section shall apply to any dog required to be restrained in accordance with this section which, while running at large or while restrained in a public place, has bitten or attacked a person or, while running at large or while restrained in a public place, has bitten or attacked another animal.
Words or terms used in this section shall have the following meanings, unless the context shall indicate another or different meaning or intent.
Bodily injury means physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.
Leash shall mean secured on the owner's property by a leash, or other humane restraint, no longer than four (4) feet in length, held by a person of sufficient strength to restrain the animal, and muzzled by a muzzling device sufficient to prevent the animal from biting any person or any other animal.
Menacing means the showing by a dog of a disposition, determination, or intent to attack or inflict injury or harm to a person or another domestic animal, such as any one, or a combination, of the following or similar acts: biting, snarling, charging aggressively toward a person or another animal, growling with curled lips, popping of teeth, or barking with raised hackles.
Register means to fully comply with and maintain all conditions of registration (subsection (e)) and applicable orders, including the following:
(1) Provide the animal control authority with the name, address and telephone number of the person owning or harboring a dangerous dog;
(2) Provide the animal control authority with the name, general description and two color photographs, one depicting a frontal view and one depicting a side view of the dangerous dog;
(3) Agree to inspections by animal control officers of the dangerous dog and the premises on which the dangerous dog is kept at any reasonable time to insure compliance with the provisions of this article; and
(4) Payment of any cost or fee assessed by the animal control authority related to the registration, seizure, acceptance, impoundment, or destruction of the dog.
Secure enclosure means a house, building, structure, or pen which is:
(2) Capable of preventing the entry of the general public, including children;
(3) Capable of preventing the escape or release of a dog;
(4) Clearly marked as containing a dangerous dog;
(5) Dimensions suitable for the humane welfare of the dog, including cleanliness, water, and food;
(6) Enclosed such that a dangerous dog cannot climb, dig, jump or otherwise escape of its own volition; and
(7) Constructed to provide protection from the elements for the dangerous dog.
Serious bodily injury means an injury characterized by sever bite wounds or severe ripping and tearing of muscle that would cause a reasonably prudent person to seek treatment from a medical professional and would require hospitalization without regard to whether the person actually sought medical treatment. An offense involving serious bodily injury is a class A misdemeanor with criminal jurisdiction for its enforcement in the Galveston County Courts.
Sign(s) shall mean a sign, at least eight (8) inches by twelve (12) inches, of a permanent nature stating "BEWARE OF DANGEROUS DOG" in red lettering on a white background. The lettering shall be no less than two (2) inches in height and made of a reflective material that is visible in low-light situations or at night. In addition, the sign shall include a symbol warning, understandable by small children, of the presence of a dangerous dog.
Unprovoked or without provocation means the dog was not hit, kicked, or struck by the person or animal with any object or part of the attacked person's or animal's body nor was any part of the dog's body pulled, pinched or squeezed by the person or animal.
(c) Requirements for a dangerous dog.
(1) Not later than the 30th day after the person learns that the person is the owner of a dangerous dog, the person shall:
a. Register the dangerous dog with the animal control authority for the area in which the dog is kept;
b. Restrain the dangerous dog at all times on a leash in the immediate control of a person or in a secure enclosure;
c. Obtain 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 control authority for the area in which the dog is kept;
d. Conspicuously display signs, approved by the animal control authority at the property lines located on the front and rear of the property and on the secure enclosure of the dangerous dog;
e. Post written notice to all persons residing within two hundred (200) feet of the owner's house of the presence of the dangerous dog; and
f. The animal control official may require a secure bottom to the structure or pen if the need is demonstrated.
(2) The owner of the dangerous dog who does not comply with subsection (1) shall immediately deliver the dog to the animal control authority.
(3) If, on application of any person, the municipal court finds, after notice and hearing as provided by subsection (h), that the owner of the dog has failed to comply with subsections (c)(1) or (c)(2), the court shall order the animal control authority to seize the dog and shall issue a warrant authorizing the seizure. The animal control authority shall seize the dog or order its seizure and shall provide for the impoundment of the dog in secure and humane conditions.
(4) The owner shall pay any cost or fee assessed by the city and or animal shelter.
(5) The court shall order the animal control authority to humanely destroy the dog if the owner has not complied with subsection (c)(1) before the 11th day after the date on which the dog is seized or delivered to the animal control authority. The court shall order the authority to return the dog to the owner if the owner complies with subsection (c)(1) before the 11th day after the date on which the dog is seized or delivered to the animal control authority.
(6) The court may order the humane destruction of a dog if the owner of the dog has not been located before the 15th day after the seizure and impoundment of the dog.
(7) For purposes of this section, a person learns that the person is the owner of a dangerous dog when:
a. The owner knows of a dangerous dog attack described in subsection 7-1(f);
b. The owner receives notice that the Galveston Municipal Court has found that the dog is a dangerous dog under subsection (h); or
c. The owner is informed by the animal control authority that the dog has been determined to be a dangerous dog under subsection (d).
(d) Reporting of incident.
(1)Animal control authority.
a.If a person reports a dangerous dog incident, the animal control authority may investigate the incident. The animal control authority may adopt appropriate forms to aid in the enforcement of this section. If, after receiving the sworn statements of any witnesses, the animal control authority determines the dog is a dangerous dog, it shall notify the owner of the determination.
b.An owner, not later than the 15th day after the date the owner is notified that a dog owned by the owner is a dangerous dog, may appeal the determination of the animal control authority to the Galveston Municipal Court. An owner may appeal the decision of the Galveston Municipal Court in the same manner as appeal for other cases from the municipal court.
(2) Municipal court.
a. A person may also report a dangerous dog incident to the municipal court. The owner of the dog shall deliver the dog to the animal control authority not later than the fifth day after the date on which the owner receives notice that the report has been filed. The animal control authority may otherwise provide for the impoundment of the dog in secure and humane conditions until the court orders the disposition of the dog.
b. If the owner fails to deliver the dog as required by subsection (d)(2)a., the court shall order the animal control authority to seize the dog and shall issue a warrant authorizing the seizure. The authority shall seize the dog or order its seizure and shall provide for the impoundment of the dog in secure and humane conditions until the court orders the disposition of the dog. The owner shall pay any cost incurred in seizing the dog.
c.The court shall determine, after notice and hearing as provided in subsection (h), whether the dog is a dangerous dog.
d.The court, after determining that the dog is a dangerous dog, may order the animal control authority to continue to impound the dangerous dog in secure and humane conditions until the court orders disposition of the dog under subsection (c) and the dog is returned to the owner or destroyed.
e.The owner shall pay a cost or fee assessed under subsection (c)(4).
(1) The animal control authority shall annually register a dangerous dog if the owner:
a. Presents proof of:
1. liability insurance or financial responsibility as required by subsection (c);
2. Current rabies vaccination of the dangerous dog;
3. The secure enclosure in which the dangerous dog will be kept;
b. Pays an annual registration fee of fifty dollars ($50.00).
(2) The animal control authority shall provide to the owner registering a dangerous dog a registration tag. The owner must place the tag on the dog's collar and commits an offense if the tag and collar are not securely attached to the dog.
(3) If the owner of a registered dangerous dog sells or moves the dog to a new address, the owner, prior to the sale or move, shall notify the animal control authority for the city or the area in which the new address is located. On presentation by the current owner of the dangerous dog's prior registration tag, compliance with registration and dangerous dog requirements, 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. Any dangerous dog moved into the city must be registered and meet the dangerous dog requirements prior to locating the dangerous dog in the city.
(4)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 domesticated animals.
(5) The owner of a registered dangerous dog shall notify the animal control authority if the dangerous dog dies during the term of the registration.
(f) Making a false complaint.
It shall be a class C misdemeanor for any person to file or sign a written complaint required by this section when the person knows that the complaint contains false information.
(1) Any owner of any dog, which is subject to an investigation under this section, shall immediately notify the animal control authority if such dog escapes or becomes or appears to become sick or dies. In case of death of the dog under investigation, the person shall immediately surrender the carcass to the animal control authority for diagnostic purposes.
(2) It shall be unlawful for any person to refuse or fail to impound a dog subject to this section, or harbor, hide or secret a dog subject to this section, for the purpose of preventing its impoundment.
(3) It shall be unlawful for any person to transport, or secure the transport, of a dog subject to this section to any location outside the incorporated limits of the city if the person has knowledge that the dog is the subject of an investigation under this article. Nothing in this section shall preclude an animal control officer from immediately impounding a dog that poses an immediate threat to the health and safety of the citizens of the city.
(1) The jurisdiction for the hearing of a dangerous dog determination under subsection (d) or subsection (c)(3) shall be the Galveston Municipal Court, which shall set a time for a hearing to determine whether the dog is a dangerous dog or whether the owner of the dog has complied with subsection (c).
(2) The owner of a dog subject to a dangerous animal determination hearing under this section, or the person from whom the dog was seized, and the person who made the complaint shall be notified, in writing, of the date, time and location of the hearing within five (5) days after the impoundment of the dog.
(3) The determination hearing shall be held not later than the 10th day after impoundment of the dog.
(4) The municipal judge shall consider evidence provided by any interested party, including the city attorney, in making its determination.
(5) If the municipal judge determines that the dog, which is the subject of the hearing, is a danger to the community, the municipal judge shall issue an order as to the disposition of the dangerous dog and any conditions that may be placed upon the owner for the continued maintenance of the dangerous dog.
(6) Nothing in this section precludes the owner of a dangerous dog, which is the subject of the hearing from waiving its right to a determination hearing. If a person waives the right to a hearing, the dog will be deemed to be dangerous and the owner shall immediately comply with any conditions imposed or authorize the destruction of the dangerous dog. If the dangerous dog is ordered destroyed and is impounded at the animal shelter, the owner shall release the dangerous dog to the animal shelter for destruction. If the dangerous dog is ordered destroyed and impounded at a veterinary clinic, the owner shall have the dangerous dog destroyed by the licensed veterinarian immediately and provide documentation of the destruction to the animal control authority.
(i) Violations and penalties.
(1) The owner of a dangerous dog commits an offense if the dangerous dog makes an unprovoked attack or a menacing act on a person outside the dog's enclosure or the dangerous dog made an unprovoked attack, or menacing act on an animal outside the dog's enclosure.
(2) The owner of a dog commits an offense if the owner fails to comply with any provision or any determination or order issued pursuant to this section.
(3) It shall be unlawful for any person to interfere with an animal control officer in the performance of the duties of the animal control officer.
(4) An offense under this section is a class C misdemeanor, unless the attack causes serious bodily injury or death, in which event the offense is a class A misdemeanor.
(5) An offense under this section is a class B misdemeanor if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has previously been convicted under this section.
(6) If a person is found guilty of an offense under this section, the court may order the dangerous dog destroyed by a person listed in the V.T.C.A., Texas Health and Safety Code § 822.004 or as amended.
(7) In addition to criminal prosecution, a person who commits an offense under this section is liable for a civil penalty not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00). An attorney for the city may file suit in a court of competent jurisdiction to collect the penalty. Penalties collected under this subsection shall be retained by the city.
(8) It is a defense to prosecution for an attack by a dangerous dog or for complying with the requirements of a dangerous dog if the person is:
a. A veterinarian, a peace officer, a person employed by a recognized animal shelter, or a 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 in connection with that position;
b. An employee of the institutional division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice or a law enforcement agency and trains or uses dogs for law enforcement or corrections purpose; or
c. A dog trainer or an employee of a guard dog company under V.T.C.A., Texas Occupations Code, ch. 1702, as amended.
(Ord. No. 07-031, § 2, 4-26-07)
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 Galveston 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 Galveston 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 Galveston or Galveston County, TX, please contact one of the experienced Galveston 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 Galveston Planning and Development Services Department (contact information below).
- Seek the help of a Galveston 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 Galveston area or Galveston County dog bite or ask other questions pertaining to veterinary public health, do not hesitate to contact the Galveston Planning and Development Services Department office at:
If you live within Galveston city limits call: (409) 765-3702
A variety of animal training classes and services are offered by the Galveston SPCA. The Galveston SPCA may be reached at:
Contact one of the experienced Galveston dog bite lawyers above for a consultation regarding your claim.
Personal Injury Attorneys Serve Galveston and Surrounding Cities
Serving clients throughout Southeastern Texas, including Algoa, Alta Loma, Alvin, Bacliff, Bayou Vista, Caplen, Crystal Beach, Dickinson, Friendswood, Galveston, Hillcrest, Hitchcock, Houston, Jamaica Beach, La Marque, League City, Missouri City, Nassau Bay, Pelican Island, Port Bolivar, San Leon, Santa Fe, Seabrook, South Houston, Texas City, Tiki Island, Webster and other communities in Galveston County.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, please contact one of the experienced Galveston County dog bite lawyers listed on this page.