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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.

Posts Tagged ‘Houston’

An Infant is Killed by the Family Dog in Houston, Texas, the Third Dog-Related Death in the State in 2017

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

Pit bull (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

At about 3:10 pm on August 19, 2017, officers with the Houston Police Department (HPD) responded to a home on Nelwyn Street in north Houston, Texas, regarding the mauling of an infant by a family dog. They found that 2-month-old Michael Obergas had been mauled primarily in the torso area. He was transported by ambulance to the Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital and pronounced dead upon his arrival. An investigation was done by the homicide division of HPD, and it was determined that no charges will be filed against the baby’s parents. Obergas is the third person in Texas to be killed in a dog attack in 2017.

Police could not determine whether the male giant schnauzer or the Labrador was responsible for the fatal dog attack. For that reason, both of the family dogs were euthanized.

Parents told police that the parents stepped out of the room the baby was in. While they were away, one of the dogs managed to open the door and attacked the infant.

On January 17 of this year, 2-month-old Skylar Julius was killed by the family dog, a male German shepherd, in San Marcos, Texas. The family had owned the 8-year-old pet since it was a puppy, and it did not have a history of being aggressive. Possible criminal charges are pending in the case, presumably against the father, who would not consent to being tested for drugs or alcohol. He had been responsible for the baby at the time of the fatal dog attack.

On July 21, 2017, 4-year-old Jacob Brooks was killed by a pack of family dogs in El Paso, Texas. Four dogs were seized at the scene of the attack. They were described as a pit bull and three shepherd-mixes. Possible criminal charges are pending presumably against the mother.

–Guest Contributor

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Dog Attack Attorney for Fort Worth, Texas – USPS Adopts Changes to Protect Mail Carriers from Dog Bites

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

A USPS van on Cambridge Street in Harvard Squa...

A USPS van on Cambridge Street in Harvard Square (Cambridge, Massachusetts).” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dog bites should be regarded with all seriousness, and the United States Postal Service (USPS) seems to be on board with that sentiment. New procedures have recently been put into place, and they are designed to help protect mail carriers from being bitten by dogs. Research indicates that dogs are the most popular pet in the U.S. and estimates says there are more than 70 million dogs in U.S. homes today. Every time a delivery person knocks on a door and there is a dog on the other side, there is the very real possibility that the dog might bite. With new USPS procedures, delivery workers will be advised when there is a dog at the home they are delivering to.

The mobile scanners used by postal workers now include an option of indicating when a postal customer has a dog. In addition, when a customer schedules a home package pickup on the USPS website, the form they use asks whether or not a dog lives at that address. Other new safety measures include:

  • In addition to being informed about the presence of a dog, mail carriers also provide notes about potential dangers such as loose steps and broken pavement.
  • Postal workers are receiving additional education and training that includes tips on self-defense and reading dog body language.

Customers are asked to do their part in helping to prevent dog bites. Put dogs away before opening the door to receive mail or a package. Children should never answer the door for a delivery and accept a package or a piece of mail with the family dog present because the dog may consider that actions of the postal worker to be intimidating.

The potential for more dog bites increases with more home deliveries. More and more consumers are switching to Internet shopping, which means business has grown tremendously for delivery services, including USPS.

–Guest Contributor

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A Toddler is Killed by a Family Dog, a Pit Bull Mix, in Miami-Dade – Part 5

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

English: American Pit Bull Terrier

English: American Pit Bull Terrier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Sunday, December 20, 2015, 1-year-old Nyjah Espinosa was killed by her father’s dog while visiting him in Miami-Dade for the holidays. The toddler would have been 2 on Christmas day. According to police, the dog, a pit bull mix, attacked the child in the hallway of the home and she did not survive the injuries. Police are still investigating the case. Animal services described the dog as an American bulldog mix, but a picture of the dog was made available. It is clearly a pit bull mix, according to DogsBite.org; the owners of the website have sent the dog’s picture to an expert for an opinion about what breed the dog is.

The mindset of families who own pit bulls even with children in the house is the same as all dog owners, it seems. The mother of an infant killed in Dallas, Texas, in April of this year had posted pictures of a male pit bull on her Facebook page, referring to the dog as a “big baby” four months before the fatal pit bull attack, according to DogsBite.org. Ten-week-old Brayden Wilson was left alone in the house with the family’s 8-year-old pit bull. The dog had been in the household as two other children were raised. But on April 19, after Brayden’s father stepped outside for a few minutes, the pit bull viciously attacked him. The father returned to the house and struggled to get the dog off of the baby. The rest of the family returned, and it still took a while before the dog finally let go of the newborn. The dad dragged the dog outside and shot him two times, killing him. The pit bull they considered harmless exhibited the same type of behavior that has taken more than two dozen lives in the U.S. in 2015.

Learn more about the unpredictability and danger of pit bulls in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of this five-part series.

–Guest Contributor

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Round Rock Police Officer is Bitten by a Dog but Remains Calm

Monday, August 17th, 2015

English: Australian shepherd 2 coloured eyes, ...

English: Australian shepherd 2 coloured eyes, merle type (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An extra eight hours of training have been provided to police officers in the Austin area in the last few years, and the training has to do with how to appropriately handle encounters with dogs. Many dog owners in Texas have been devastated when police officers shot their pets in situations that the owners are convinced didn’t call for such extreme measures. Leaders in many Texas police departments have been listening to complaints about police shooting dogs, which is the reason for the added training. Efforts seem to have paid off, if a recent encounter of an officer with an aggressive dog in Round Rock, Texas, is any indication.

The incident occurred earlier this month. A man was home with his preschooler and his mother-in-law, and he called police about a neighborhood disturbance. He informed the dispatcher that there was a dog in his home. What the man failed to do, however, was put the protective Australian shepherd in a secure place before the officer arrived.

Officer Randall Frederick was bitten twice when the 4-year-old boy opened the door and the Australian shepherd immediately lunged at him. Based on overall police training, the officer would reportedly not have been disciplined if he had responded aggressively. What he chose to do, however, was remain calm and allow the dog owner to get his pet under control. The officer received needed medical attention for bites to his legs, but he didn’t miss any hours of work, according to Jim Stuart, Round Rock Police Commander.

Learn more about this story in this ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor

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Police Shots Fired in Houston, Texas, Killing a Pit Bull and Injuring a Woman

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

English: Austin Police Headquarters

English: Austin Police Headquarters (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the early morning hours of Friday, April 17, in Houston, Texas, police responded to a call about a disturbance and ended up encountering a pit bull. There were women in two vehicles involved in the original altercation, and a pit bull that was inside one the vehicles got out and charged toward a police officer. The dog was racing straight toward the officer, who fired several shots. The pit bull was killed and a woman who had been standing by one of the involved vehicles was accidentally shot in the leg by the officer.

The dog shooting incident occurred on Gessner Road near Hammerly Boulevard at a Valero at about 3 a.m. The disturbance the police were responding to involved two women in their vehicles arguing and yelling back and forth across the parking lot.

This incident is what many people throughout the State of Texas have been afraid would happen as a result of police officers frequently shooting at dogs when they think their safety is threatened. There have been many controversial dog shootings in the last several years, and numerous police departments in Texas, such as the Austin Police Department, have responded to the controversy by offering training to their officers that is designed to reduce the number of unnecessary dog shootings. In the training, police officers learn how to accurately assess whether a particular dog is running towards them in a way that should be considered a grave threat or whether the dog is most likely just curious or friendly.

–Guest Contributor

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In 2014, 42 Die from Dog Attacks in the U.S.–7 Fatal Dog Attacks in Texas – Part 2

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

English: American Pit Bull Terrier

English: American Pit Bull Terrier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DogsBite.org is a public education website dedicated to providing information about dangerous dog breeds, with a focus on pit bulls in particular. There were 42 dog bite fatalities in 2014, which is higher than the usual annual statistic for deaths caused by dog attacks. The non-profit organization states on the website that it supports:

  • A ban on pit bulls, as a life-saving measure.
  • Mandatory spaying and neutering of pets.
  • Mandatory micro-chipping and liability insurance of dogs.
  • Prohibiting felons from owning pit bulls. The website claims that pit bulls are the breed of choice for gang members, drug dealers, and other violent offenders.

There were seven dog bite fatalities in Texas alone last year. The following are the locations of those fatal dog attacks, along with a few details about what occurred.

On January 5, 43-year-old Christina Bell died as a result of a pre-dawn attack by at least two pit bulls in Houston, Texas. The dogs were running loose in her neighborhood. She was heard screaming at about 2 a.m., and neighbors discovered her body lying in the street. Two people were attacked while trying to rescue Bell. The attack occurred on Glen Prairie near Leonora.

On January 6, 75-year-old Betty Clark died as a result of injuries sustained in a vicious pit bull attack that occurred on December 21, 2013, in Canyon Lake, Texas. Clark had been delivering Christmas presents when two pit bulls relentlessly attacked her. The dogs’ owners are facing a second-degree felony charge of attack by a dog resulting in a fatality.

Read more statistics about 2014 dog bite fatalities in the first part of this ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor

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Two Separate Attacks by a Pack of Dogs Occur in Corpus Christi, Texas, in January – Part 2

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Trained attack dog Samo leaps forward toward a...

Trained attack dog Samo leaps forward toward a decoy’s arm wrap as Tech. Sgt. David Adcox restrains him. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In recent months in Harris County, Texas, tips on surviving a dog attack were shared after Monica Garza of Houston was viciously attacked by two pit bulls as she was ending a seven-mile run on a trail. She said the dogs first locked their eyes on her and then brutally attacked her. She fought, kicked, and screamed. Charles Jordan, a retiree who lived nearby, heard her screams and heroically tried to save her. He became the target of the attack. Both victims received medical treatment for their wounds. Garza’s treatment included five surgeries and 350 staples. At that time, the animal control department in Houston reported that there had been 2,200 reported animal bites in 2013 and that stray dogs are definitely a problem in Houston.

The following are tips for what to do if you are confronted by unfriendly dogs, including some tips shared by the Houston Police Department’s head K9 trainer, Officer Monroe Gage III:

  • First, remain calm. Dogs can be calmed or become more excited, based on your behavior. Dogs feed off of our energy, according to Gage.
  • Be very still, like a tree, keeping your eyes averted. Dogs consider direct eye contact to be an act of aggression. These actions will often result in a dog losing interest in you, making it possible for you to slowly back away from the dog to a safe place.
  • Climbing on top of someone’s vehicle could be your best escape from a dog attack. Do not hesitate to do so because dog attacks can be deadly, and it could save your life.
  • If the dog or dogs still attack, try to place something between yourself and the dogs. Any object may buy you some time until help arrives or you can escape to safety.
  • If a dog bites you, limit the damage by being careful not to pull away because doing so will trigger tugging and pulling, which will cause even more damage.
  • Try to grab the dog in a choke hold, holding him against your body. This will make it more difficult for the dog to bite.

Garza has returned to running marathons, but now she carries pepper spray with her, which is another method sometimes used to prevent a dog attack. According to Gage, if you are going to rely on pepper spray, be sure it is a type that has been tested and is effective at deterring canines.

See Part 1 of this two-part series for information about recent attacks by packs of dogs in Corpus Christi, Texas.

–Guest Contributor

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Dog Bite Lawyer: Houston, Texas, Firefighters Rescue a Dog from a Christmas Tree Fire – Part 3

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Poinsettia

Poinsettia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Toxic Plants Continued– Other plants that are hazardous to animals follow:

  • Poinsettias: There is no potted plant that represents Christmas more than the poinsettia, but the plant does pose a potential threat to pets. If dogs and cats consume parts of a poinsettia plant, it can cause vomiting and irritation to the stomach and mouth.
  • Holly: Holly wreaths are a commonly used for holiday decoration, but if pets eat part of the plant, they can suffer depression, diarrhea, and extreme vomiting.

Toxic Foods – There are many goodies that are especially enjoyed during the Christmas season, but some of the treats contain ingredients that are very toxic to pets and are sometimes even fatal. For example:

  • Chocolate can make your dog very ill. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include diarrhea, urination, tremors, seizures, heart arrhythmias, and vomiting.
  • The fat from cooked and uncooked meat can cause dogs to suffer from pancreatitis.
  • Everyone knows a dog loves a good bone; but, unfortunately, dogs can choke on bones or the bones can splinter and cause you pet’s digestive system to have lacerations and obstructions.
  • Nuts that are often used in candies and cookies can be toxic to pets. Moldy walnuts and macadamia nuts are especially toxic to dogs and can cause seizures. Other symptoms of poisoning caused by nuts are vomiting, loss of muscle control, and lethargy.

See Part 1 and Part 2 of this three-part series to learn about more dangers to pets during the holidays.

Are you suffering from an injury as a result of a dog attack?

–Guest Contributor

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Dog Bites Happen, but a Texas Tale Sheds a Positive Light on “Man’s Best Friend” – Part 1

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Voici Upsy, un beagle femelle bicolore, de 2 a...

Voici Upsy, un beagle femelle bicolore, de 2 ans sur l’image. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Approximately 1,000 people are treated for dog bites at medical facilities every day in the U.S. On the 14th of this month in California, for example, a toddler was brutally attacked by a large dog identified as a Rottweiler. The almost-2-year-old faces a difficult recovery after being bitten on the cheek and forehead. Texas has reports of serious dog bites and fatal dog attacks all too frequently. In fact, Houston, Texas, had by far the most postal worker dog attacks in 2013; and other cities in Texas made the list of worst cities for postal workers being attacked by dogs. There is, however, a different kind of dog-related story out of Texas Hill Country that has recently been going viral. It’s a story about a beagle named Buddy.

Buddy famously hitched a ride on the side step of the ambulance that was transporting his owner to a hospital. Fortunately, motorists got the ambulance driver’s attention, after which Buddy was put inside the ambulance with his 85-year-old owner, Rancher J.R. Nicholson.

The 4-year-old beagle was safe and sound and made the 25-mile trip to Hill Country Memorial Hospital. Brian Wright, a ranch hand for Nicholson, had followed the ambulance and was able to take Buddy back home after the trip. Wright said he had called for an ambulance because Nicholson had been feeling dizzy. Nicholson spoke fondly of Buddy.

Although uplifting dog stories like this one don’t often make headlines, the fact is that millions of dogs in the U.S. are deservedly considered not only pets but beloved family members and man’s best friend. Most dog experts say that anytime a dog is aggressive or dangerous, it’s somehow the fault of the owners or something like a health issue. There are important responsibilities attached to owning a dog, and it is believed that any breed of dog can be an excellent pet for the right family.

See this continuing series on tips for choosing a dog that is a fit with your lifestyle and raising it so that the dog, no matter the breed, is not a threat to society.

–Guest Contributor

 

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What a Texas Physician Did After Being Bitten by a Dog – Part 3

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Street dog. Moscow, Russia

Street dog. Moscow, Russia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Victims of dog attacks are virtually never expecting to encounter a vicious dog when the attacks happen. People are usually walking, jogging, or bicycling in their neighborhoods when they suddenly encounter an aggressive dog that is either a stray or has an owner but has not been properly restrained.

A woman in Harris County, Texas, tells about her experience last year. She had been running for about seven miles and was walking when she encountered two male pit bulls. She said they both locked eyes on her and attacked before she had a chance to react. The pit bulls jumped on her chest and, according to the woman, began eating her. She fought, kicked, and screamed. A neighbor heard her screams and went to her rescue. He covered the woman with his own body, and the dogs began tearing at him instead of the woman. They both survived but suffered serious wounds.

In Houston alone, about 2,200 people reported being bitten by dogs last year, which comes to about six dog bites per day. There is a bad problem with strays in many parts of the city, and the animal control department just doesn’t have the manpower to keep up. The fact is that, because of the reality of strays being just about everywhere and there being too many irresponsible dog owners, it’s really important to know how to respond to a dog attack.

Here are some tips on what to do if you confront an aggressive dog:

  • Avoid looking a dog directly in the eyes because dogs perceive eye contact to be a sign of aggression.
  • Staying calm is very important because dogs sense fear and feed off of a person’s energy. The more a person exhibits excitement and screams, the more aggressive a dog will get.
  • Move slowly to a safe place, such as someone’s porch, the top of a vehicle, or inside of a gate. Don’t worry about the repercussions of climbing on someone’s car because your life is at stake.
  • If you can’t make an escape, use whatever you can to create separation between the dog and yourself. Use a backpack, an umbrella, a stick, a bicycle, or anything else that’s handy. If you’ve got a bottle or can, throw the beverage in the dog’s face. Try to get to safety.
  • If a dog does bite you, the best thing to do is try to limit the amount of damage the dog causes. For instance, if a dog bites into your arm, grab the dog’s body and pull it against you. Try to strangle the dog or keep it in a choke hold. It will help if the dog is unable to bite and tear at your flesh by tugging with the strength of his body.

The Harris County woman who wanted to share this advice had 350 staples in her body and has gone through five surgeries. She has noticeable damage to her body that draws a lot of stares, but she hasn’t let it slow her down. She still runs marathons. Her hope is that people will ask her about her terrible scars instead of just staring so that she can share her story and perhaps save someone else from going through what she has suffered.

Her hope is also that dog owners will be more responsible and keep their dogs restrained.

Read more in Part 1 and Part 2 of this three-part series.

–Guest Contributor

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