Odessa Dog Bite Lawyer | Odessa Dog Mauling Lawsuit | Odessa Dog Attack Attorney
Ector 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 Midland located at Texas Department of State Health Services, Zoonosis Control, 2301 North Big Spring Street, Suite 300, Midland, Texas 79705, (432) 571-4118 for all of your needs and questions.
Responsible Dog Ownership in Odessa Definitely Can Reduce Odessa 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 Odessa, 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 Odessa Area include:
Petsmart - Midland
4206 N Loop 250 West
Midland, TX 79707
Caralot Kennel and Training Center
311 East County Road 119
Midlalnd, TX 79706
Midessa Oilpatch RV Park
4220 S County Road 1290
Odessa, TX 79765
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 Odessa 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 an Odessa 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 an Odessa dog bite injury lawyer to fight your claim successfully, and you deserve compensation for your injuries.
Odessa 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, Odessa has an ordinance requiring that dogs be "restrained" at all times. Furthermore, Odessa 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 Odessa or Ector County, you should contact a local Odessa 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 Odessa residents from dogs that attack when not reasonably secured and allows Odessa dog bite lawyers to sue the dog owners despite lack of previous history of aggression or any provocation from the injury victim. Call an Odessa 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
Sec. 2-2-1 Compliant; procedure for ordering destruction of animal
(a) The animal control officer may receive a complaint concerning an animal which, while straying, has bitten a human being. A complainant must file with the animal control officer a written, sworn complaint which contains the following information:
(1) Name, address, and telephone number of the complainant and any other witnesses to the incident;
(2) Date, time, and location of the incident;
(3) Description of the animal;
(4) Name, address, and telephone number of the animal owner;
(5) A statement that the animal, while straying, bit the complainant;
(6) A statement that the animal has exhibited vicious propensities in past conduct; and
(7) Other facts or circumstances of the incident.
(b) After a sworn complaint is filed with the animal control officer, he shall set a time and place for a hearing. The animal control officer shall give notice of the hearing to the animal’s owner by personal service or certified mail, return receipt requested, at least ten (10) days prior to the hearing date. The notice must include a copy of the sworn complaint. After the owner of the animal receives notice, the animal control officer shall impound the animal specified in the complaint.
(c) The animal control panel, as described in subsection (d), shall determine at the hearing if the animal specified in the complaint should be destroyed for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare of the community. The animal control panel shall receive testimony at the hearing concerning the incident under investigation. To order destruction of the animal for the public health, safety and welfare, the animal control panel must find all the following facts to be true:
(1) The animal, while straying, bit the complainant;
(2) The animal has exhibited vicious propensities in past conduct;
(3) The impounded animal is the same animal which committed the acts in subsections (1) and (2) of this subsection; and
(4) Destruction of the animal is necessary to preserve the public health, safety and welfare of the community. If the animal control officer orders destruction of the animal and the owner is not present at the hearing, he/she shall notify the owner of the decision by personal service or certified mail, return receipt requested. If the animal control officer does not order destruction of the animal, he/she shall return the animal to the owner upon the payment of all fees.
(d) The animal control panel shall consist of the animal control officer and a veterinarian and a member of an animal welfare organization, both of whom shall be appointed by the animal control officer.
(Ordinance 97-13, sec. 2, adopted 4/8/97; 1957 Code, sec. 4-18)
Sec. 2-2-2 Appeal of destruction order
An owner of an animal may appeal a destruction order to a court of competent jurisdiction within five (5) days of the decision. If the animal control officer receives written notice of the appeal within five (5) days of the decision, he shall suspend the destruction order pending final determination of the court. (Ordinance 97-13, sec. 2, adopted 4/8/97; 1957 Code, sec. 4-19)
Sec. 2-2-3 Failure to release animal to enforcement officer
A person commits an offense if he knowingly possesses and fails to release to the animal control officer, or any peace officer under his/her direction, an animal that has been charged by sworn complaint as provided in section 2-2-1 of this chapter. (Ordinance 97-13, sec. 2, adopted 4/8/97; 1957 Code, sec. 4-20)
Sec. 2-2-4 Keeping vicious animal
(a) Notwithstanding any provisions of this chapter, and as authorized by section 822.047, Health and Safety Code of Texas, it shall be an offense for any person to keep or maintain any vicious animal within the city.
(b) For purposes of this section, the term “vicious animal” shall mean and include any animal, wild or domestic, which demonstrates a propensity toward the unprovoked biting or attacking of animals or humans, or which demonstrates a disposition towards savagery or ferociousness toward animals or humans, or which represents a physical threat to animals or humans.
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the person is 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.
(Ordinance 97-13, sec. 2, adopted 4/8/97; 1957 Code, sec. 4-21)
Sec. 2-3-1 Maximum number
(a) It shall be unlawful, except as provided in subsection (b) below, for any person to keep, possess, or maintain dogs and/or cats in a total number exceeding four (4) per premises.
(b) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to the following:
(1) Zoos, stock shows, fairs, circuses and parades;
(2) Public school projects, when conducted upon school property and under faculty supervision;
(3) Facilities owned and used by a licensed veterinarian in connection with his practice of veterinary medicine;
(4) Business establishments which sell dogs and/or cats commercially;
(5) The newborn offspring of dogs or cats before such time as said offspring is weaned.
(c) In connection with all the above-described exceptions, the premises and facilities used for keeping animals authorized to be kept under any of the provisions of this section must be kept in such manner as to prevent the emission of odor or noise offensive to persons of ordinary sensibilities in the neighborhood. Also, any premises and facilities used for the keeping of animals authorized to be kept under any provision of this section must be approved for such purpose by the Odessa-Ector County health department.
(Ordinance 97-13, sec. 2, adopted 4/8/97; 1957 Code, sec. 4-27)
Sec. 2-3-2 Rabies vaccination required
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to maintain or keep a dog more than four (4) months of age and older on any premises within the city unless such dog wears a collar or harness securely attached to its body to which shall be securely attached a tag issued for such dog by a veterinarian licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the state, which tag shall show that the dog has been vaccinated against rabies within the current calendar year.
(b) The provisions of this section for wearing a collar or harness with tags shall not apply to cats, but the owners of cats more than four (4) months of age and older shall have in their possession a current rabies vaccination certificate and shall be required to show such certificate upon the demand of any animal control officer or deputy, or any city police officer.
(c) Any exemptions established by state law or approved by the state board of health shall be applicable to the requirements of this section.
(Ordinance 97-13, sec. 2, adopted 4/8/97; 1957 Code, sec. 4-22)
State law reference–Rabies vaccinations, V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code, sec. 826.021 et seq.; confidentiality of certain information in rabies vaccination certificate, V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code, sec. 826.0211.
Sec. 2-3-3 Licensing; vaccination-license certificate and tag
(a) The owner of each dog or cat more than four (4) months of age and older which is maintained or kept within the city shall obtain an annual vaccination-license certificate and tag from a veterinarian who has obtained authority from the animal control officer to issue them or from an employee at the shelter upon presentation of a certificate of current vaccination.
(b) (1) Upon application by a veterinarian, the animal control officer shall furnish said veterinarian with a supply of prenumbered vaccination-license certificates and corresponding tags which comply with rules adopted by the state board of health and which shall be a joint tag showing both current vaccination and licensing for the county and the city. The veterinarian shall be authorized to issue certificates and tags for animals at the time of vaccination.
(2) A copy of each rabies vaccination-license certificate and all money collected for license fees, with the exception of a reasonable fee for clerical expenses to be retained by the veterinarian, which amount shall be set by agreement with the city and approved by the city council, shall be transmitted to the animal control officer before the tenth day of the month following the month during which said licensing occurred. The veterinarian shall be held financially responsible for all certificates and tags supplied.
(3) The animal control officer is authorized not to supply additional certificates and tags to any veterinarian who fails to account for all those previously furnished to him by the shelter.
(c) The annual fee for a vaccination-license certificate and tag shall be six dollars ($6.00). Two dollars ($2.00) will be retained by the veterinarian for clerical expenses as set out in subsection (b) above. The remaining four dollars ($4.00) will go to the city’s general fund. A city license can also be purchased directly at the animal shelter for four dollars ($4.00) upon presentation of a certificate of current vaccination. If originals are lost or destroyed, the owner may obtain a duplicate by paying a fee of two dollars ($2.00).
(d) Upon the payment of the vaccination-license certificate fee, a vaccination-license certificate and metallic tag shall be issued for each dog or cat so licensed. The tag shall have stamped thereon the year for which it is issued and the number corresponding with the number of the vaccination-license certificate.
(e) No person shall use a certificate or tag for any animal other than the one for which it was issued. Any person who counterfeits or attempts to counterfeit an official tag, or remove such tag from any dog or cat, for the purpose of willful and malicious mischief, or places a tag upon a dog or cat unless the tag was issued to that dog or cat, is guilty of a class C misdemeanor, [punishable by] a fine of up to five hundred dollars ($500.00).
(f) Fee-exempt certificates may be issued for the following:
(1) Dogs owned or controlled by law enforcement and fire/rescue service agencies.
(2) Dogs trained to lead the blind, or assist the deaf.
Eligibility for fee-exempt certificates does not relieve the owner of the owner’s responsibility under other provisions of this chapter.
(g) Certificates and tags issued in accordance with the provisions of this section shall be valid only for the twelve-month period for which they are issued.
(Ordinance 97-13, sec. 2, adopted 4/8/97; 1957 Code, sec. 4-23)
State law reference–Registration of dogs and cats, V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code, sec. 826.031 et seq.; confidentiality of certain information in dog or cat registry, V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code, sec. 826.0311.
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 an Odessa 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 Odessa 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 Odessa or Ector County, TX, please contact one of the experienced Odessa 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 Odessa Planning and Development Services Department (contact information below).
- Seek the help of an Odessa 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 an Odessa area or Ector County dog bite or ask other questions pertaining to veterinary public health, do not hesitate to contact the Odessa Planning and Development Services Department office at:
A variety of animal training classes and services are offered by the Odessa Humane Society. The Odessa Humane Society may be reached at:
7012 W. Mockingbird
Contact one of the experienced Odessa dog bite lawyers above for a consultation regarding your claim.
Personal Injury Attorneys Serve Odessa and Surrounding Cities
Serving clients throughout Western Texas, including Andrews, Barstow, Big Lake, Coahoma, Coyanosa, Crane, Elbow, Forsan, Garden City, Gardendale, Goldsmith, Goldsmith - Penwell, Grandfalls, Greenwood, Imperial, Kermit, Lenorah, Lindsay, McCamey, Mentone, Midkiff, Midland Rural, Monahans, Pecos, Pleasant Farms, Pyote, Rankin, Royalty, Stanton, Sterling City, St. Lawrence, Tarzan, Thorntonville, Toyah, Tubbs Corner, West Odessa, Wickett, Wink and other communities in Ector County.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, please contact one of the experienced Ector County dog bite lawyers listed on this page.