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What are dangerous dogs? What are the owner’s responsibilities?

| Feb 1, 2021 | Dog Bites/Attacks |

Most residents of Houston love dogs. Unfortunately, some dogs are dangerous to people and other animals. Dangerous pets can result in dog bites and attacks on innocent people. In many cases, these attacks result in severe injuries.

Texas does not have a legal code for dog bites. However, it does have a code addressing the legal responsibilities of those who knowingly own dangerous dogs.

What establishes that a dog is dangerous?

Health and Safety Code § 822.042 defines a dangerous dog in three ways.

  • The dog’s owner knows it has attacked before.
  • An animal control officer informs a dog owner that the animal is dangerous.
  • A court in the state finds a dog dangerous and informs its owner.

These definitions mention the owner each time. What this suggests is that dog bite victims may not have legal recourse if the dog owner does not know the animal is dangerous.

What are the owner’s responsibilities for a dangerous dog?

Once a dog is deemed dangerous according to state law, the owner must ensure the public’s safety. A dog owner’s legal responsibilities in this goal include the following.

  • Register the dog with the local animal control authority.
  • Restrain and control the dog at all times.
  • Obtain liability insurance or show that they can pay (at least $100,000) for injury to a person.
  • Adhere to local restrictions, regulations and requirements for owning dangerous dogs.

Compliance with these responsibilities can go a long way in keeping other residents safe from dog bites or attacks.

As previously stated, the owner’s knowledge that a dog is dangerous plays a role in seeking a remedy for dog bite injuries. In most instances, pet owners know their dog’s behavior patterns and propensity for attacks. As such, many victims successfully acquire compensation for their injuries in a legal environment. For example, you can get compensation to cover the medical bills and out-of-pocket costs associated with your harm by pursuing an injury claim.