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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 ‘Legislation’ Category

A 7-year-old Boy is Savagely Mauled to Death by Pit Bulls in Front of a Helpless Crowd

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Pit bull (Photo labeled for reuse)

On Saturday, October 21, 2017, 7-year-old Javian Candolario was killed by two pit bulls belonging to neighbors in Lowell, Massachusetts, as about 15 people looked on helplessly. The details of how the attack began are in question but, according to a city councilor, Rodney Elliott, the child went to pat the dogs, who were behind a fence about 4.5’ tall that was described as dilapidated. Several witnesses say one of the dogs grabbed the boy and pulled him over the fence. The pit bull mauled the child aggressively in a horrific scene. Five police officers who arrived after the child had already died have said that they are undergoing counseling, due to the trauma caused by witnessing the scene.

The child’s mother and a sibling were among those who witnessed the fatal pit bull attack. Onlookers were shocked and screaming; but no one knew what to do, witnesses said.

Police fired shots at one of the dogs because it was showing aggression. The dog presumably jumped over the fence after being shot and was later killed in police gunfire about a mile away. The other pit bull was taken into custody by animal control.

In 2011, a pit bull ordinance sponsored by Elliott was enacted in the city, and it placed restrictions on pit bull ownership. One year later, however, the law was nullified because the state’s legislators enacted a new state preemption law, which prevents towns and cities from adopting breed-specific legislation. Javian was the 19th person in 2017 alone to be killed in the U.S. by a pit bill.

–Guest Contributor

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A Chained Dog Gets Loose and Viciously Attacks a Boy

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

My Dog Abby, taken by me in my back yard.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Carroll County, Indiana, on Thursday, April 13, 2017, a dog neighbors say is always chained in its yard was loose and brutally attacked an 8-year-old boy. The dog attack victim’s 12-year-old neighbor Raven McMurtie saw what was happening in the field near her home, went outside, and let out a scream that frightened the dog away. McMurtie said she immediately began crying and praying for her friend, whose arm was hanging, as though broken, and he had blood all over.

According to McMurtie’s mother, who also witnessed the dog attack, the dog was shaking the boy, dropping him, and shaking him again. They ran to his aid and found that the injuries went to the bone in at least three places.

McMurtie credited the boy with being tough and brave, assuring her that he was fine. The boy was quickly transported to a nearby hospital with what police said were serious arm injuries.

During an investigation of the incident, the attacking dog behaved aggressively toward a police officer, who shot the dog in the chest. The animal was transported by Clinton County animal control to a vet in a nearby city. The dog will be quarantined for 10 days, to watch for signs of rabies.

Other neighbors spoke about the dog. They said the dog has never been seen running free. It is kept chained all the time, and several people have reported that the dog often didn’t have food or water.

Reports have been done that indicate dogs are more dangerous after being cruelly chained for long periods of time. According to the State of Texas HB 1411, it is against the law in Texas to chain or tether a dog except in strict circumstances.

–Guest Contributor

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Montreal’s Ban on Pit Bulls is Upheld, Following Temporary Suspension

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

American Pit bull Terrier (Schatzi)

American Pit bull Terrier (Schatzi) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the U.S. and apparently Canada, as well, banning of pit bulls is a politically charged issue and a difficult law to put and keep in place. Denver, Colorado, famously established a pit bull ban and the fight to prevent it from being overturned has continued for years. Montreal, Canada, recently enacted a pit bull ban after a woman was brutally killed in her own backyard by a neighbor’s pit bull. The ban was quickly suspended by a judge, pending a hearing on the substance of the bylaws. It was disturbing to those who supported the ban, since its purpose was to protect Montrealers from dangerous dogs.

The Mayor of Montreal did something that is not a typical political move. The day after the pit bull ban in his city was suspended by a judge, he published a bold letter of intent. In that letter, the city’s intention to ban dogs of the pit bull variety from being allowed in Montreal was reiterated He said safety is a top priority and they won’t yield to special interest groups.

Through determination, the city of Montreal was granted permission to appeal the suspension, and the arguments were since heard on November 25.

As of December 1, 2016, the suspension of the ban by a lower court judge was overturned. According to the Quebec Court of Appeal, the lower court judge made an error when he made his ruling. The Montreal pit bull ban is currently in effect, though there is an ongoing lawsuit with regard to the ban brought against the city by the Montreal SPCA.

It only took Montreal three months to enact a law after the horrific death that inspired the legislation. And since that time, a suspension has already been overturned. This type of action among politicians is something to be commended, and we can only hope that similar common sense and urgent actions will start being taken by cities in the U.S., only without the necessity of someone first having to be seriously injured or killed by a pit bull or pit bull mix.

–Guest Contributor

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A Neighborhood is Shaken Up after Pit Bulls Attack a Mom and Baby – Part 3

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

English: American pit bull terrier (named Tutt...

English: American pit bull terrier (named Tuttle) seated. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two male pit bulls went on the attack at about noon on Monday in a Green Bay, Wisconsin, neighborhood. A mother and her 15-month-old baby were seriously injured, but authorities say the injuries aren’t believed to be life-threatening. The mother was walking with her infant in front of a house where the two pit bulls are usually kept in the basement. Someone let the dogs out, the pit bulls’ owner says. Jim Williams, a neighbor, looked out of his window, saw the shocking unprovoked pit bull attack, and immediately ran to help. He said he would beat the dogs, pull them off, and they would continue to viciously attack the two victims. The relentless attack finally ended when police arrived.

Christiane Vadnais, age 55, was in her Montreal, Canada, backyard on June 8 when a neighbor’s pit bull viciously attacked and killed her. Public officials, the public, first-responders, and members of media have been horrified about the nightmarish incident. The tragic death of Vadnais has resulted in action on the part of legislators in that country. Provincial officials in Quebec announced that they are planning to adopt a breed-specific bylaw addressing the danger of pit bulls by the end of the year, and it is intended to be a province-wide change.

A few weeks before this tragedy, the results of an investigation were published in La Presse. The investigation clearly showed that pit bulls are distinctly different from all other breeds, when it comes to fatal attacks.

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this continuing series, learn more evidence that pit bulls are a threat to society and should be banned or strictly regulated. In the next segments, learn what many physicians who perform surgeries on survivors of pit bull attacks say about the danger of the breed.

–Guest Contributor

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A Neighborhood is Shaken Up after Pit Bulls Attack a Mom and Baby

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

English: Second dogs first smile. Happy Pit Bull.

English: Second dogs first smile. Happy Pit Bull. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two male pit bulls went on the attack at about noon on Monday in a Green Bay, Wisconsin, neighborhood. A mother and her 15-month-old baby were seriously injured, but authorities say the injuries aren’t believed to be life-threatening. The mother was walking with her infant in front of a house where the two pit bulls are usually kept in the basement. Someone let the dogs out, the pit bulls’ owner says. Jim Williams, a neighbor, looked out of his window, saw the shocking unprovoked pit bull attack, and immediately ran to help. He said he would beat the dogs, pull them off, and they would continue to viciously attack the two victims. The relentless attack finally ended when police arrived.

According to Capt. Jeremy Muraski with the Green Bay Police Department, the neighbors prevented the outcome from possibly being even worse than it was. According to a family member, the baby’s skull was exposed as a result of the pit bull attack.

The dogs’ owner surrendered the animals to be put down.

The very serious attack should never have happened, Captain Muraski said. He also said the situation was incredibly dangerous and if there had been no intervention, there easily could have been a death.

Pit bulls are responsible for killing one person in the United States approximately every 14 days, since January 2015. How is it not shocking that 12 people have been killed by pit bulls this year and a total of 28 were killed by pit bulls last year, which was 82% of all dog bite fatalities?

There is a very real struggle to prove the danger of these dogs because advocacy in favor of them seems to be overpowering for local governments that try to enact new pit bull regulations. It’s not enough to blame owners when pit bulls attack, which is what advocates typically do. The breed is simply too dangerous to treat the same as other dogs. In this continuing series, learn more about clear evidence that pit bulls are a threat to society and should be banned or strictly regulated.

–Guest Contributor

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A Pit Bull Kills a 55-year-old Woman who was Alone in her Backyard – Part 9

Monday, June 20th, 2016

English: American Staffordshire Terrier Deutsc...

English: American Staffordshire Terrier Deutsch: American Staffordshire Terrier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A 55-year-old woman in Montreal, Canada, was killed in her backyard on Wednesday. A neighbor’s pit bull somehow entered her yard, where she was alone, and relentlessly attacked. Another of her neighbors, just after arriving home from work, witnessed the attack after the woman had already become unconscious and called the police. When they arrived at the horrific scene, they had to shoot the pit bull to get to the victim. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

It seems clear that authorities in Quebec are not going to allow the death of Christine Vadnais to be in vain. Vadnais is the 55-year-old Montreal woman referred to in this series. Her funeral was on Saturday. Just a few days after her death, however, Mayor Denis Coderre of Montreal announced plans to change dog laws. He said that new pit bulls will be banned in all 19 burroughs.

There was a serious pit bull attack in Broussard in September of 2015, and the victim’s family has been fighting for a pit bull ban ever since. The victim was an 8-year-old girl named Vanessa; the family withheld her last name. The 100-pound pit bull broke her jaw, destroyed her skin, damaged muscles, and did damage to her ears. The child has to learn how to speak with the metal frames bolted in her mouth. The city answered that there were no plans to change dog laws that would ban breeds. Because of the death of Vadnais, however, Broussard is one of the areas set to benefit with a pit bull ban. We would all be safer if lawmakers in Texas would do the same.

Learn more in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, and Part 8, of this nine-part series.

–Guest Contributor

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A Pit Bull Kills a 55-year-old Woman who was Alone in her Backyard – Part 6

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

English: American Staffordshire Terrier Españo...

English: American Staffordshire Terrier Español: American Staffordshire Terrier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A 55-year-old woman in Montreal, Canada, was killed in her backyard on Wednesday. A neighbor’s pit bull somehow entered her yard, where she was alone, and relentlessly attacked. Another of her neighbors, just after arriving home from work, witnessed the attack after the woman had already become unconscious and called the police. When they arrived at the horrific scene, they had to shoot the pit bull to get to the victim. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

As continued from Part 5 in this series, the following is more information from the FAQ page about breed specific legislation (BSL) posted by the National Canine Research Council:

The website says that BSL does not reduce dog bite-related injuries wherever it may be enacted in the world. It then goes on to say that in Denver CO, where pit bulls have been banned since 1989, the citizens there still suffer more dog bites than other counties without BSL.

This particular point, like all of the others made against BSL, have no real impact when you look at pit bull fatalities and pit bull injuries. If simply counting dog bites, the reporting can become confusing. The bite of a Chihuahua may hurt, but it can’t possibly do the damage that a pit bull bite does. Pit bulls have powerful jaws, they hang onto their victims relentlessly, and they shake their heads as they bite, which creates more serious damage. Many victims are literally scalped in pit bull attacks. They often have their ears bitten off; and facial scarring frequently requires numerous plastic surgeries. The breed is known for going for the throats of their victims. In fact, a few more details have just come out about the most recent victim of a fatal pit bull attack in the U.S. The coroner said the dog obviously attacked the 7-year-old boy, Hunter Bragg, in the throat.

Learn more in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and this ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor

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A Pit Bull Kills a 55-year-old Woman who was Alone in her Backyard – Part 5

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

Pitbullmacho

Pitbullmacho (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A 55-year-old woman in Montreal, Canada, was killed in her backyard on Wednesday. A neighbor’s pit bull somehow entered her yard, where she was alone, and relentlessly attacked. Another of her neighbors, just after arriving home from work, witnessed the attack after the woman had already become unconscious and called the police. When they arrived at the horrific scene, they had to shoot the pit bull to get to the victim. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

Overcoming opposition against breed-specific legislation (BSL) for the purpose of protecting humans from pit bulls is extremely difficult. The primary reason enacting a pit bull ban in a city or state can seem impossible is that many, many known experts in related animal fields stand by the belief that all breeds are equally likely to bite. The National Canine Research Council, for example, has a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page about BSL. On that page, no fewer than 20 prominent experts are listed as being against BSL.

In addition, a study is cited which concluded that no evidence exists in a 40-year controlled study of dog bites that one breed is more likely than any other to bite a human. Results of the study were published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. There is no question but that a study done with recent facts regarding dog attack fatalities would clearly show that pit bulls emerge as a danger and that all other breeds combined don’t come close to being as hazardous.

Learn more in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and this ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor

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Pit Bull Kills a 55-year-old Woman who was Alone in her Backyard – Part 4

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

Español: Pit Bull Terrier Americano Hembra.

Español: Pit Bull Terrier Americano Hembra. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A 55-year-old woman in Montreal, Canada, was killed in her backyard on Wednesday. A neighbor’s pit bull somehow entered her yard, where she was alone, and relentlessly attacked. Another of her neighbors, just after arriving home from work, witnessed the attack after the woman had already become unconscious and called the police. When they arrived at the horrific scene, they had to shoot the pit bull to get to the victim. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

Although the officials in Madisonville, Texas, failed to stand their ground and keep in place breed-specific legislation (BSL) banning pit bulls, Denver officials have been successful. The fight to ban pit bulls and keep the ban firmly established has been hard-won. The following is information from the breed-specific legislation in Denver:

Keeping, possessing, exercising control over, transporting, selling, or harboring any pit bull within the city is unlawful for any person. The definition of a pit bull is: Any dog that is one of the following breeds or displays the majority of traits of any one of the following breeds: American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and American Pit Bull Terrier. Also, any dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to the standards established by the United Kennel Club or American Kennel Club for above-named breeds.

Aurora, Colorado, formerly had a ban on all dangerous breeds, but the BSL now regards only pit bulls.

What does it take to win the fight to protect the public from pit bulls? Learn more about the danger of pit bulls in Part 1 and more about the ordinance in Part 2 and Part 3 of this ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor

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Dallas Woman Mauled by Pack of Dogs Dies from Injuries – Part 2

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

3.5 year old Brindle Pit Bull Terrier

3.5 year old Brindle Pit Bull Terrier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Antoinette Brown, age 52, died on May 9, 2016, a week after being mauled by a pack of dogs in Dallas, Texas. People in the area where she was attacked heard her screams and called police. One neighbor said that anytime someone tried to approach the victim, to help, the dogs turned on them. The mayor admitted, after the incident, that the city has not given the issue of loose dogs the priority it demands. He has since suggested a policy overhaul as far as how the city handles reports of aggressive dogs. The chief of police stated that the owner of six dogs involved in the fatal attack could face charges, but none have been filed as yet.

Texas laws do not take into account the clear history of violence among the pit bull breed. There have been many pit bull owners killed in recent history in the U.S., none of whom suspected that they were in danger. Other people, such as children walking in their neighborhoods, have also been killed by pit bulls. In addition, other breeds have suddenly killed on occasion. And yet, with all of the available data showing that dogs previously thought to be gentle suddenly take a human life, Texas has a “so-called” one-bite rule. No matter what a dog does, such as kill a person, if there is no clear evidence that the owner had prior knowledge of a vicious tendency, there is no criminal punishment. In civil court, a Texas judge set a precedent, saying that a dog owner is not liable for injuries caused by their dog if there was no prior knowledge of vicious behavior.

Leash laws are in place in cities and municipalities throughout Texas, but there is little that would serve to inspire dangerous dog owners to be especially careful to protect the public from their potentially vicious dogs.

There is no doubt about it. Dog laws need to change in Texas.

See Part 1 of this two-part series.

–Guest Contributor

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