Criminal defense in Austin Texas.

Dog Attack

Posted By on October 15, 2008

So this morning I was driving into work and I caught part of a morning show on KLBJ with “Sergeant Sam” and a couple of other guys, whose names I never remember.  They were talking about a case out of Graham, Texas, in which Crystal Watson and Jack Smith were sentenced to 7 years in prison, after their dogs killed a child.

Sergeant Sam and his call-in guests were unsurprisingly pleased (it is AM talk radio), to see the couple go to prison.  “Everybody knows pit bulls are dangerous,” they said (paraphrasing), “So if your dog kills a person, you deserve to go to prison.”

Given that dogs kill around 15 people a year in the US (depending on the source), and cars kill over 40,000 (41,059 in 2007) I wondered if they’d apply the same logic to drivers, since “everybody knows” cars are dangerous.

The truth is there’s no automatic liability for a dog attack.

Chapter 822.005 of the Texas Health and Safety Code does make it a second degree felony if a dog attack results in death.  But it also requires that the owner acted with criminal negligence, or that the dog that the dog had previously been found to be dangerous by a JP court.  What it comes down to is that you have to know that your dog is dangerous, and then do nothing about it.


69 Responses to “Dog Attack”

  1. Kelley says:

    Well, the question here obviously is..why the heck were you listening to AM talk radio?

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