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Dallas Dogs on the Loose

By The Law Office of WT Johnson on December 6, 2017

While known as “man’s best friend” in more cozy environments, the stray dogs roaming the streets of Dallas pose a very real threat to the residents.

Whether these dogs are strays or simply left to roam freely by their owners is a legal concern. It is not the most pressing problem for people who have to encounter them in order to leave their homes. Seniors, pregnant mothers-to-be, and children are at much greater risk of serious injury in an attack. Dallas’s dogs were a matter of national news last year when a woman was mauled to death with over 100 bites.

It is almost unbelievable to think that residents feel the need to carry weapons with them while walking to their cars, mailboxes, and on the streets where they live. But apparently, some do.

Whose Dogs Are They, Anyway?

While many of the dogs running loose are strays and therefore unclaimed, not all of them are. Some belong to other residents who refuse to secure their animals, or who cannot bring them indoors because of their landlord’s strict rules. In addition, many are former pets that were abandoned by their owners. Most of these pet owners did not spay or neuter their dogs.

What happens to these dogs? Well, the numbers grow, the hunger grows, and the need for territory increases.

What Can Be Done in Dallas?

The most obvious step in dealing with the dog problem would be rounding up the dogs. But that’s complicated, both legally and morally. A better solution is identifying the owners, and getting them invested in the care and appropriate containment of their animals. It’s for the dogs’ sake as well as their own — loose dogs are at huge risk of being traffic fatalities.

Clearly, a massive spay-and-neuter program is an essential step as well, and Dallas’s residents have started donating to this cause. But spaying and neutering alone are not permanent solutions. Dallas has put initiatives into place, including increased levels of monitoring and citations, as well as mandatory fines for those who choose not to adhere to the rules.

What Happens When a Dog Bites in Texas?

Texas adheres to the “one-bite” rule, where an owner only becomes liable for the actions of his dog if he suspects or knows that his dog has aggressive tendencies or has bitten before. Once an owner becomes aware that his dog has shown aggression, he must take reasonable steps to prevent such an act from happening again.

Letting a dog that has bitten before run loose on the streets is a recipe for disaster — for both the potential victims as well as the owner, who may be found criminally and civilly liable for the dog’s actions. Although Dallas recently outlawed tethering, or tying up dogs outside, owners cannot legally allow their dogs to roam, free to attack.

The loose dog problem in Dallas will only be resolved when the costs to their owners are more expensive than letting the dogs wander. In the interim, however, many Dallas residents live in fear.

What should you do if a loose dog bites you? The first thing, of course, is to seek medical care. Dog bites present risk of diseases, including rabies, so getting prompt attention is essential. After that, depending on the costs involved, you may wish to consult with an attorney who specializes in Dallas dog bite cases, like the ones at The Law Office of WT Johnson. For a free consultation, call us at (214) 231-0544 today.



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