Criminal Charges Related to Dog Attacks Increasing
It appears that dog attacks are finally gaining legal momentum. Not only are victims being recognized and represented appropriately, owners who are found negligent and in-part responsible for those attacks are also being held responsible.
Serious criminal charges were filed against a Detroit man a few weeks ago, and now an arrest warrant issued by the State of Texas has charged an Austin man with a felony in relation to a dog attack in December of 2013.
The defendant's dogs attacked a man at a community mailbox, jumping at him from behind and tearing at his arms and legs until a passerby intervened. The injured man was taken to an emergency room and now complains of weakness and numbness in his lower legs. As a result of the attack, the man now walks with a cane.
An investigation revealed that the defendant had left his gate open, which allowed his two dogs to escape the yard. The attack was gained even more legal attention as one of the dogs in the attack had already been labeled a "Dangerous Dog" due to an unprovoked attack that left a person injured earlier that year.
"Dangerous Dog" designations require owners to register their dog with animal control, to restrain the animal by leash or maintain in a secure enclosure at all times, and to obtain liability insurance coverage of at least $100,000.
The charges stem from the owner's failure to comply with the orders associate with the Dangerous Dog designation. A civil lawsuit has been filed against the defendant in addition to the criminal charges.
The Austin incident is not the only one generating legal momentum against dangerous dog owners. A Kyle, Texas couple is facing felony charges after their dogs attacked a woman and her dog last June. The four dogs, all pit-bull mixes, escaped their yard and attacked the woman and her pet, killing the dog and seriously injuring the woman.