A recent news story out of Atlanta sheds light on an issue Texans are familiar with. A five year old girl was mauled by a pit bull. The child’s grandmother tried to fight off the dog, and finally resorted to covering the child with her own body. Neighbors were futile in their attempts to help. The dog continued its ferocious attack until law enforcement arrived on the scene and shot it. The child sustained serious injuries to her face, and lost one ear. The child’s grandmother was also hospitalized for injuries.
From January 1, 2006 to June 15, 2009, 19 Texans were fatally injured in dog attacks. This number only reflects people who died as a result of their injuries. Many dog bite victims must be hospitalized for devastating injuries. The Center for Disease Control reports that 800,000 Americans seek medical assistance for dog bite injuries each year. They also report that children between the ages of five and nine are most likely to sustain dog bites. Small children, under the age of four are most likely to receive damaging injuries to their face and neck.
Wichita Falls has adopted a strict liability statue for dog bites. This means that an owner can be held liable if their dog bites or injures someone. This is important for victims that are bitten by dogs with no prior history of aggression, or that attack without provocation. The City Health District also has the ability to declare a dog vicious based on a criteria laid out in Section 14-266 of the Code of Ordinances for the City of Wichita Falls. This declaration, while helpful in identifying and dealing with vicious dogs, is not a prerequisite for liability in the event of a bite. Since Wichita Falls has a strict liability statute, an animal’s owner can be held liable for bites or injuries that occur regardless of previous behavior.
Injuries that are sustained during dog attacks can be devastating. Many times, multiple reconstructive surgeries are needed for the amount of tissue damage that has been inflicted. If you have sustained injuries related to a dog attack you should contact an experienced attorney in North Texas. An attorney can ensure your legal rights are protected. Dog bite victims may be facing lost wages, increasing medical bills and emotional pain and suffering. The team at Altman Legal Group wishes this young child and her grandmother a speedy recovery.