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Attorneys Representing Dog Attack Victims Across Texas

This website is maintained by the Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C., a Dallas, Texas law firm representing people across Texas for dog bite injury cases. We have attempted to provide useful information for those harmed by animal attacks.

Archive for the ‘Criminal Prosecution’ Category

Parents of 4-year-old Killed by Family Dogs in El Paso, Texas, are Arrested on a an Alleged Felony Charge

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Pit bull (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

Two women were arrested on Friday, September 29, 2017, on charges related to the fatal dog mauling of their son, 4-year-old Jacob Brooks, on July 27, 2017. According to officers with the El Paso Police Department in El Paso, Texas, the child was mauled to death by family dogs. The women have each been charged with injury to a child by omission, which is a second-degree felony.

An investigation into Jacob’s death began when police officers were called to the home where he lived on July 27. Reportedly, the boy was left alone in an enclosed trampoline in the backyard, which is where four of the family’s ten dogs were roaming. Neighbors said that the child was horrifically attacked.

Two neighbors, Sebastian Hernandez and his brother, scaled the backyard fence during the dog attack in an attempt to save Jacob. They reportedly managed to remove one of the dogs and were almost bitten in the process. Jacob was already deceased by the time first responders arrived on the scene.

According to one of the child’s relatives, the dogs had never been aggressive before the deadly dog mauling.

After the attack, six dogs were removed from the home. Four dogs were involved in the fatal incident, including a pit bull mix that had been adopted by the family in February from El Paso Animal Services. The four dogs responsible for the boy’s death were euthanized on the day of the savage attack, according to animal control officials. In a document from animal services, the dogs involved in the fatal dog mauling were allegedly aggressive and starving.

Neighbors claimed that the family’s dogs were known for running loose in the neighborhood and behaving aggressively.

Both of the women arrested were taken to the El Paso County detention facility, each on $7,500 bonds. One of the women has bonded out and the other is still behind bars.

–Guest Contributor

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A Toddler is Mauled to Death by 2 Family Pitbulls; the Grandmother is Charged with Multiple Felonies

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

White pit bull (Photo: Labeled for resuse)

On Tuesday, August 1, 2017, 20-month-old Paris Adams was mauled to death by two family pit bulls. Deputies received a call in Hart County, Georgia, at about 3:15 p.m. In the backyard of his home, the boy had been viciously attacked. According to Scott Boleman, Deputy Coroner, the toddler was transported to an emergency care center, where he went and pronounced the child dead.

The pit bulls lived indoors in the same home with Adams. The dogs were observed for a few days before being put down, according to Sheriff Mike Cleveland of Hart County.

Within a matter of hours after the deadly pit bull mauling, Adams’ 70-year-old grandmother was charged with several felonies: involuntary manslaughter; second-degree cruelty to a child; and second-degree murder. The Hartwell Police Department had previously cited the grandmother multiple times for maintaining disorderly animals.

On the day of the incident, a report on the investigation of the pit bull fatality shows that the grandmother had been outside with Adams. When she went to go back inside her home, the two pit bulls ran past her, knocking her down, and attacked the 20-month-old. The grandmother attempted to stop the attack and finally managed to put the pit bulls in the house. She allegedly transported the boy first to pick up his mother and then took him to an urgent care facility.

Further research shows that dogs belonging to the grandmother had a history of being a menace in the area.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is leading the investigation into Adams’ death. News is awaited on whether the mother will also be charged. Also, it is speculated that the grandmother’s decision not to call 9-1-1 but to pick up the child’s mother before going to a medical facility may play into charges against her. Adams was deceased when he arrived at the urgent care center.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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A Man’s Ear is Partially Torn off by a Dog in Austin, Texas

Friday, January 16th, 2015

English: Downtown Austin from across Town Lake.

English: Downtown Austin from across Town Lake. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week it was reported that an arrest warrant was issued for a man charged with a third degree felony involving a dog bite incident that occurred on September 5, 2014. The victim of the dog bite was on Cameron Road in Northeast Austin,  Texas. He was waiting for a bus, and a dog was tied to a trash can nearby. The owner of the dog spoke with the victim and then went into an alley but did not bring his dog with him. The dog attacked the man who was sitting on the curb waiting for the bus. Part of the man’s ear lobe was bitten off in the attack.

According to police, the victim said he did not provoke the dog in any way, by trying to touch or even talk to it.

After the dog attack, the man got on the bus. When the bus driver realized the victim was bleeding heavily, he stopped to let him off at a payphone. The man was taken by ambulance to University Medical Center Brackenridge, and the wound on his ear was closed up with stitches.

The victim gave a description of the dog’s owner, who the police identified as a transient in the area. The victim identified the dog owner in a lineup, and  he also recognized the man’s dog in a photo that was taken at the Austin Animal Center.

Bond for the accused is set at $6,000, and police are currently trying to find the man to charge and arrest him.

–Guest Contributor

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One Texas Man is Arrested and another Sentenced in Separate Cases of Animal Cruelty

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Labrador retriever black Labrador retriever black

Labrador retriever  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A 29-year-old man from Abilene, Texas, was charged with felony animal cruelty on August 8, 2013.  The arrest was the result of an investigation that began on March 2nd.  Abilene Animal Services officers received a call from a concerned citizen about animal abuse at a residence on Russell Avenue.  When officers responded to the call, they discovered a dead dog inside a kennel which had no water or food and a Chihuahua running loose in the yard.  The man who lived at the residence, who was charged with cruelty to a non-livestock animal, allegedly allowed his puppy to die of starvation.

Luis Sanchez, Animal Services Officer, after conducting the initial investigation in this case, contacted Ernie Moscarelli, a Detective with the Criminal Investigation Division, who took responsibility for the remainder of the investigation.  A veterinarian reported that the deceased puppy was about four months old at the time of death.  The puppy was emaciated, and it appears that he starved to death.

The investigation concluded that the pet owner did not provide necessary food or water for the dog, knowing that the animal was confined in a kennel and depended upon him for survival.  The animal unjustifiably and unnecessarily experienced pain and suffering.

The pet owner was arrested and taken to Taylor County Jail on $2,000 bond.

A family has adopted the Chihuahua.

In another incident involving cruelty to non-livestock animals, a man from South Texas has recently been sentenced to 18 months in state jail for allegedly neglecting and beating a 4-year-old Labrador retriever that belonged to his wife.  The San Antonio police were told by witnesses that the man advised them he could do anything he wanted to do with the dog; he had taken responsibility of the pet for his wife.  The Labrador was euthanized about a week after being beaten and suffering a broken back and broken ribs.

–Guest Contributor

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A Man Picks Up a Stray Dog and Ends Up With Devastating Criminal Charges

Friday, November 30th, 2012

An eight-week-old Miniature Dachshund puppy.

An eight-week-old Miniature Dachshund puppy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Based on reports from animal shelters in cities across the state, Texas is being overrun with stray animals in recent months. A San Antonio, Texas, man found a stray dachshund while working in the city of Ingram in Kerr County. The dog had no collar or tags and was in the middle of the road. The man left his name and number with his customer, in case the owner of the dachshund was found; and he took the dog home with him. He was later arrested and taken to jail for stealing the dog, which has had disastrous consequences in his life.

The accused discovered that the dachshund didn’t get along well with his dog. When no one claimed it as the owner, he gave the little dog away. Then the owner of the dog recently tracked him down. He apologized to the dachshund’s owner, saying he didn’t know where the dog was. The dog’s owner then filed a police report, and as a result, a warrant was issued for the man’s arrest.

The accused is very upset because he was arrested in front of his son. His license was also taken away from him, and he is now legally unable to continue his work as a locksmith, since he has been charged with theft of property in Kerr County.

The man is a single dad with children. A court date in Kerr County is set for December 11.

Obviously, it could be a regrettable decision to rescue a stray dog in Texas. It’s better to just call animal control, even if there are far more strays than they can usually find room for in local animal shelters.

–By Guest Contributor

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Two are Charged With Felonies in Relation to the Dog Mauling of a 1-year-old in Houston, Texas

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

infant

(Photo credit: soupboy)

A 54-year-old grandmother and her 50-year-old boyfriend have been charged with felony endangerment of a child in connection with the dog mauling of a one-year-old. The dog attack occurred on October 8, 2012, in northwest Houston, Texas. The two charged in this case attempted to hide the fact that the dog caused the child’s injuries.

The complaint with the Houston police reports what the infant’s mother had to say about what happened: The mother left the baby with the grandmother and her boyfriend; they had agreed to babysit the infant girl. Later, the mother got a call from the grandmother informing her that the baby was being transported to the hospital because of injuries sustained when she fell off the bed.

Investigators say that the baby was treated at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center for a large gash which covered her face from the right corner of her mouth, across the bridge of her nose, and to the edge of the child’s left eye. A doctor told the police that the baby would definitely have permanent injury and scarring on her face because the injury was so severe.

Two days after the incident, both the grandmother and her boyfriend gave different versions of what happened to the baby. This time they claimed that the baby fell from the bed onto the dog, and the dog bit the infant. There was no mention of a dog bite when the child was taken to the hospital, however.

The 9-1-1 audiotape revealed that both the grandmother and her boyfriend had slurred speech and seemed to be intoxicated when the child was injured.

The infant’s mother told police that the same dog which bit the baby on October 8th had already bitten the child the previous month. Police say that the grandmother and her boyfriend failed to provide proper supervision of the child around a dog which was known to bite and cause injury.

Investigators also said that the dog was snarling at the officers and was visibly aggressive.

Both people charged in the case have been released on $2,000 bond.

–Guest Contributor

 

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Negligent Homicide Charges Against Father in Dog Mauling

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

A sad case of a 4-year-old’s death in a dog mauling two months ago has led to a somewhat unusual charge. Circumstances in the attack have led a district attorney to accuse the boy’s father of negligent homicide.

The incident occurred on March 25 in the southern Texas town of Victoria. A 28-year-old father was detailing his truck, his little boy playing nearby. Or so he thought. Michael Cole Johnson did not notice until several hours had passed that the boy was missing. After a fruitless search of the house and yard, Cole notified authorities. It was only the next day that at last the boy was found. Unfortunately, he lay lifeless in the backyard of a neighbor, the victim of a pit bull mauling.

Johnson was arrested last week and indicted on charges which include child abandonment, injury to a child, and, most seriously, negligent homicide. He is scheduled to be arraigned on June 15. Meanwhile, he has been released on his own recognizance. Texas Criminal Code 19.05 lists negligent homicide as a felony offense that can carry a state prison term.

Certain factors specific to this case make it unlikely that the dog’s owner will also be held liable. The dog in this case was in the owner’s backyard, and was restrained by a chain. The boy somehow gained access to the backyard, perhaps by climbing a fence. The fact that the boy displayed a sense of curiosity previously which led him to wander away from home supports this notion.

Often dog bite attacks occur when the animal either breaks loose or is allowed to roam free. If you are injured by an attacking dog due to the negligence or fault of the owner, you may wish to file a claim to gain compensation for damages.

– Guest Contributor

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Pit Bull Owner Sentenced to Prison for Dog Attack

Monday, March 26th, 2012

A trial in the state capital this week was the scene of a verdict that could not have been imposed until a few years ago for a dog bite attack. The conviction of an Austin dog owner was the first of its kind in Travis County under Lillian’s Law.

The dog bite attack occurred on Christmas Day, 2010, when the victim was visiting his sister. While standing outside the house smoking a cigarette, the victim claims that two pit bulls came running at him, knocking him to the ground and viciously biting him. During the attack he somehow managed to produce a pocket knife which he used to defend himself. However, the knife had little effect on the dogs, as they tore his skin and broke an arm.

Family members came to assist, but the victim’s injuries were substantial enough to require that he be hospitalized. When police arrived they were forced to shoot the pit bulls. To this day the victim walks with a limp from injuries suffered in the attack.

The owner of the pit bulls was taken into custody for failure to secure the dogs that then caused bodily harm. Under Lillian’s Law, enacted in 2007, this is a second-degree felony. The dog owner’s attorney argued that it was unfair for his client to be held liable for the behavior of his dogs, particularly since they had not previously attacked anyone.

However, State District Judge Mike Lynch said in his sentencing that prosecutors had shown the dogs had gotten out of the backyard before, and that “a prudent person, once his young pit bulls have escaped, would have gone back and looked at that backyard and made major changes.”

The dog owner faces between two and ten years in state prison.

If you have been injured in a dog attack, you may want to pursue a claim if the owner’s negligence is a factor.

– Guest Contributor

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A Texas Law Exacts Punishment on Owners Whose Dogs Injure or Kill a Person

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Photo by Javier Baño

In recent news, a 50-year-old woman was walking near her home when a neighbor’s dog escaped his yard and attacked her.  The woman was taken to the hospital and treated for dog bite injuries.  What followed got special attention in news stories.  The victim’s son and a friend confronted the owner of the dog, who answered the door wielding an axe.  A brawl followed in which the axe was taken from the 62-year-old dog owner, and the younger men kicked and beat him.  Police arrested everyone involved and charges are pending.

There’s no doubt about it; irresponsible dog owners create problems in society.  People are killed, permanently injured, and scarred by dog bite attacks.  Most experts agree that dogs aren’t the problem as much as the owners are.  Dogs can and should be socialized as puppies so that they can exist in society without being an inherent danger to others.

There’s also no doubt about the fact that vigilante justice isn’t the answer to the problem of dog bite attacks in society.  Lillian’s Law, Texas House Bill 1355, has been in effect since September 1, 2007.  The bill increased penalties against dog owners who don’t secure their dogs reasonably enough to prevent unprovoked attacks on a person which results in serious injury or death.

In Texas, a dog owner can be charged with a third-degree felony, if their pet injures someone.  A third-degree felony is punishable by two to ten years in prison.

If a dog causes someone’s death, the owner of the dog can be charged with a second-degree felony, which is punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison.  This law which is designed to encourage responsible dog ownership was named for Lillian Stiles, a woman from East Texas who was killed by a pack of dogs in her front yard.

Have you suffered an injury as a result of a dog bite? 

–Guest Contributor

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Texas Owners Are Held Responsible for Dogs Which Cause Dog Bite Injuries and Death

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Staffordshire bull terrier

Staffordshire bull terrier -- Image via Wikipedia

In world news, three men were arrested after their dogs killed a Yorkie and injured the pet’s owner and her other dog.  One of the dogs on the attack was reportedly a pit bull terrier and another was a Staffordshire bull terrier.

Regardless of the type of dog, an owner has a duty to make an attempt to stop an attack in progress that his or her dog is perpetrating against another person.  According to the Texas Supreme Court, this is a civil responsibility.  If the dog owner fails to attempt to stop the dog bite attack, the victim has the right to sue the dog owner.

At this time there isn’t a law in any state of the United States which makes it a crime for a dog owner to fail to prevent his or her dog from mauling or killing someone.

A fairly new Texas law, which is called the Lillian Stiles Law, increases the amount of jail time for owners who don’t reasonably secure their dogs and the result of their negligence is serious bodily injury or death to an individual.  This law has many shortcomings, however, in that victims receive no compensation for medical costs, lost income, pain, suffering, disability, or other issues associated with the dog bite injuries.

As Texas is one of the states which still carry the purportedly outdated “one bite rule,” there is perhaps plenty of reason for citizens to press legislators to make changes which better protect victims of dog bites.

–Guest Contributor

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