A two-year-old boy was rushed to the hospital after being bitten in the face by a dog while at his grandmother's home in Stafford, Texas earlier this afternoon.
The incident occurred around 1:30pm as the grandmother was babysitting her grandson. According to Stafford police, the dog suddenly attacked the toddler while he was playing. The boy was airlifted to Hermann Hospital with severe facial injuries, though he was reported as conscious and alert.
The City of Stafford Animal Control Officer arrived at the scene to control the dog and remove it from the property, but the dog reportedly died as it was being placed in the animal control vehicle. The dog's remains will be tested for the possibility of rabies, due to the nature of the attack and the dog's sudden death.
Dog attacks like the one discussed above have the potential to cause debilitating injuries and lifelong emotional and physical scars. Some dog attacks are even fatal. Children are at a particularly high risk when attacked by dogs because of their small stature, which often places their faces, heads and necks within easy biting distance. They are also more likely to be knocked to the ground by a dog.
Another important issue to consider is that many dog attacks occur with animals owned by friends, family members, neighbors and even victims themselves. We need to remember that dogs are animals and may act on instinct, causing harm when we never thought they would. The risk of aggressive behavior may be greater in certain breeds or when dogs are abused or raised in environments where such behavior is demanded or encouraged. Taking care around any dog, familiar or unfamiliar, may spare you and your children from injury.
Rights of Dog Bite Victims in Texas
Every state has its own interpretation and implementation of dog bite laws, and Texas is one of the less favorable states in terms of victims' rights. Some states allow dog owners to be held strictly liable for injuries inflicted by their dogs, regardless of particular negligence or wrongdoing. In Texas, an owner of a dog may only be held legally responsible if the animal previously bit someone or acted in such a manner as to indicate it would attack, and the owner knew of such a history or behavior. There is no specific statue applying to dog attacks in Texas; case law therefore dictates how these matters are handled.
A victim of a dog attack in Texas may also be able to seek financial compensation if the owner of the dog was negligent, even if the dog had no history of violence. An example may be a dog that is not on a leash, in violation of leash laws in the area. If that dog then attacked someone, the owner could be held liable because he or she was negligent in handling the dog.
Texas law imposes harsh criminal penalties on owners of vicious dogs. Texas Health and Safety Code § 822.005 dictates that a person who, with criminal negligence, fails to secure a dog and the dog attacks another person without provocation, causing serious bodily injury to that person, may face third degree felony charges. This applies to attacks that occur somewhere other than the dog owner's property. This section also permits the destruction of the dog.
If you would like to learn more about dog bites and how these apply to personal injury and wrongful death actions, a Houston personal injury lawyer at The Daspit Law Firm may be able to help. We are here to protect victims' rights to the fullest extent of the law.