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Welcome to Texas Dog Bite Injury Law Blog

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 ‘Pit bull’

A Dog Attacks a Child and a Police Officer in South Austin

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

An American Pit Bull Terrier muzzled. Español:...

An American Pit Bull Terrier muzzled. Español: Un Pit Bull Terrier Americano con bozal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An 11-year-old girl was viciously attacked by a pit bull type dog outside of her home on Powell Circle in South Austin this week. The victim’s brother flagged down a passerby, asking them to call 9-1-1. Police officers arrived on the scene and began trying to assist the injured girl, but the dog was no longer there. Then suddenly the dog returned and again began biting the girl. One of the police officers was bitten as he tried to stop the attack. The officer then shot and killed the dog, and the assisting officer on the scene was struck by bullet fragments. Both officers were taken to the hospital but have since been released. The girl, however, is still hospitalized. According to a family member, she suffered serious dog bites on her legs and shoulder.

The officer who fired his weapon and inadvertently injured the other officer is on administrative leave, which is protocol when someone is injured.

Cmdr. Eli Reyes with the Austin Police Department made a statement about the incident. He said that the deadly force used against the dog was the appropriate response because the ultimate priority the officers have is to protect life. The aggressiveness of the pit bull had already been demonstrated as a result of the initial attack. The fact that the dog was a danger was clearly demonstrated as the dog attacked the child a second time and also bit a police officer.

The officers are to be commended for helping the young dog attack victim and trying to prevent further injury. If they had not been there, it is entirely possible the child may not have survived. In 2016 alone, 20 people in the U.S. have been killed in pit bull attacks; and in 2015, 28 people were killed by the breed. Pit bulls are popular dogs among families, but they are also the breed of choice among those involved in the illegal blood sport of dog fighting. A passionate community of pit bull advocates always defend pit bulls after violence has occurred, but the lives of victims should be the greater concern.

–Guest Contributor

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How to Identify a Dog Used for Dog Fighting

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

American Staffordshire Terrier o imieniu Gamba.

American Staffordshire Terrier o imieniu Gamba. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stories often make the news about abandoned dogs that appear to have been used as bait dogs in dogfighting rings. Some groups believe that these tales are often designed to create sympathy and increase donations to pet rescue organizations. There may be a certain level of scamming going on. Unfortunately, however, dogfighting is a very real illegal bloodsport in which animals are treated with horrible cruelty. Those involved often make a lot of money. In addition to keeping the activity clandestine in order to avoid an arrest, things are kept pretty well hidden for financial motivations, as well.

The humane society says dogs involved in dogfighting frequently suffer severe if not fatal injuries. The majority of dogs used in fighting are bred and trained specifically for dogfighting. Such an upbringing involves mistreatment and abuse from puppyhood on.

A dog that has been in fights will usually have deep puncture wounds, severe bruising, and broken bones. Hours or days after being in a dogfight, the dogs often die of shock, dehydration, exhaustion, infection, or blood loss. When a dog won’t fight, he usually becomes a bait dog used in training of fighters. The violence, animal abuse, and suffering involved in this bloodsport is disturbing.

In all 50 states, dogfighting is a felony offense. If someone brings a minor to a dogfight, it is also a felony offense, under federal law. The large profits people get from their involvement in dogfighting made the previous penalty of a misdemeanor ineffective and meaningless.

–Guest Contributor

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Are your Home Insurance Rates Higher Because of the Breed of your Dog?

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Daddy

Pit bull (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whether your dog has bitten anyone or not, if he is a certain breed, you may need to pay higher home insurance premiums. Although insurance companies generally do cover homeowners for issues related to their dogs, there are limitations. One important factor is an exclusion list naming dog breeds that won’t be covered.

Many insurance companies blacklist coverage on certain breeds, including the following, with pit bull terriers always at the top:

  • Pit bull terriers
  • Staffordshire terriers
  • Rottweilers
  • German shepherds
  • Presa Canarios
  • Chow chows
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Akitas
  • Wolf-hybrids
  • Bull Mastiffs
  • Cane Corsos
  • Great Danes
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • Siberian Huskies

Pit bulls are consistently the cause of more than 60% of all fatalities caused by dog attacks in the U.S. and yet the owners never expect that the breed will intentionally cause harm. Insurance is about covering unforeseen events, yet they don’t cover pit bulls and many other dog breeds. What do they know that dog owners aren’t seeing?

Risk related to dogs is assessed via various resources. Temperament scores of dogs are given by the American Temperament Test Society and other organizations. One fact that emerged is that several small breeds are associated with perhaps the largest number of bites. The severity of injuries, however, is the greater measure, as regards insurance coverage on dogs.

Insurance companies factor in the percentage of owners of the various dog breeds. Some might suggest that more pit bulls are on the attack because there are more pit bull owners and not because a higher number of aggressive dogs exist.

Some statistics just can’t be disputed, and it is understandable why insurance companies recognize the risk and therefore won’t cover some dog bite claims. Pit bull terriers caused 295 fatalities in the U.S. between 1982 and 2014. Rottweilers caused 85 deaths during that time frame. Siberian Huskies were next, with 26 deaths. The next figures were 19, 18, 15, 8, and on down. There is no denying that pit bull terriers pose an unusual threat. The insurance companies recognize it but why don’t dog owners who adopt pit bulls to their peril and the peril of others? The risk is clear.

–Guest Contributor

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Dallas Attorney – Trauma Center Dog Bite Studies Reveal the Truth about Pit Bulls

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

American Pit bull Terrier (Schatzi)

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

Since 2009, at least ten peer-reviewed studies show that pit bull injuries occur at a higher frequency than all other dog breeds, in level 1 trauma centers. Hospital records reviewed for purposes of a making conclusions were taken from level 1 trauma centers because they are the facilities where patients are often treated when their injuries are severe. The most conspicuous conclusions to be drawn are that pit bulls create the highest need for surgical intervention and they also cause injuries of a higher severity.

A review was conducted of 551 dog bite incidents treated at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia over a five-year period beginning in 2009. Of the cases in which the dog breed was known, pit bulls were responsible for injuries 51% of the time. Part of the significance of this percentage is that pit bulls only make up about 7% of the dog population in the U.S., at most.

At a trauma center in Atlanta, Georgia, it was found that pit bulls are more than 2.5 times more likely to bite in multiple anatomical locations, as compared with other dog breeds. In addition, pit bull attacks resulted in a higher risk of death, higher injury severity score, and higher costs associated with hospitalization than other breeds.

An important conclusion drawn by a Pediatric Level 1 Trauma Center in Phoenix, Arizona, was that dog familiarity does not confer safety, where pit bulls are concerned. These findings have tremendous relevance in connection with child safety.

The closer anyone looks at the facts related to pit bulls and the injuries and fatalities the breed causes, the more obvious it is that legislation is greatly needed, to protect members of society, including pit bull owners who are unconvinced of the dangers posed by the breed.

–Guest Contributor

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Two Pit Bulls Kill a Toddler in Topeka, Kansas

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

English: American Staffordshire Terrier Deutsc...

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

On September 24, 2016, Piper Dunbar, became the 20th person in the U.S. to be killed by pit bulls this year. The 2-year-old girl was found dead under a tarp in her front yard. Her death was attributed to an attack by two pit bulls. The dogs belonged to a family friend who was temporarily staying at the residence. According to her father, the toddler fell asleep with him on the couch and went outside after he fell asleep. Initially, the child was reported to be missing. Piper’s father and the dogs’ owner were taken to the Law Enforcement Center in Topeka, Kansas, for questioning. Both of the pit bulls were euthanized by authorities.

In 2015, pit bulls were responsible for 82% of the fatal dog attacks in the U.S. In other words, 28 of the 34 dog bite-related deaths last year were caused by pit bulls. This is an alarming statistic, especially when you consider that, at most, pit bulls make up 7% of the total dog population.

Although the percentage has been higher than usual in the last couple of years, pit bulls have consistently been responsible for at least 60% of all annual dog attack fatalities. This pattern has been recognized in many communities, but getting the breed banned is extremely difficult. Advocates of the dogs are passionate and include most dog behavioral experts, many veterinarians, and other professionals.

Denver has been a model for cities determined to initiate a pit bull ban and keep it in place. Their efforts have been met with consistent opposition, but city officials have managed to continue protecting the public from this unpredictably dangerous breed.

–Guest Contributor

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Dallas Residents Fear they Can’t Avoid a Dog Attack

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Deutsch: American Staffordshire Terrier Deutsc...

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

Antoinette Brown, age 52, was viciously attacked by a pack of loose dogs on May 2, 2016, in southern Dallas. Brown was bitten over 100 times and died from her injuries on May 9. People in the same neighborhood were in the news this week, making it clear that the problem of loose and stray dogs has not been solved. One neighbor recalls hearing the screams of a woman who was seriously injured by loose dogs in July in the same neighborhood where Brown was fatally injured. The dog attack victim was 39-year-old Tamika Batts. She was bitten dozens of times and was injured on her arms, face, and feet. She suffered serious injuries and received extensive hospital treatment.

City officials made promises about doing a better job of controlling the stray population and having dog owners keep their dogs restrained. More resources have been devoted to the cause. The problem is that strays were endangering people in southern Dallas before Brown was killed, when Batts was attacked, and they are still a problem today.

There is speculation about the reasons southern Dallas has more than its fair share of loose dogs. It is a low-income area, many stray dogs are dumped in the area, people abandon their dogs when evicted, and dogs aren’t spayed or neutered as frequently as in other parts of the city.

It has become a common practice for people in southern Dallas to go walking only when they also carry a bat, a large stick, a golf club, or some other means of protecting themselves. The fear of being attacked is very real. One neighbor shared that she has nightmares about being attacked by a pack of dogs. Until the city finds a way to resolve the situation, people are wise to carry weapons when walking.

–Guest Contributor

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Dog Owner Faces Charges after a Cyclist is Viciously Attacked

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

A black Great Dane.

A black Great Dane. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On September 7, 2016, Chris Carmichael of Colorado Springs, Colorado, was riding his mountain bike near his cabin when two large dogs charged him in a sudden and vicious attack. Before he had a chance to respond to the situation, one dog bit him on the leg and the other bit him on the hand. Carmichael used his bicycle as a shield, but one dog circled around and attacked him in the neck area. He punched the dog’s face, and both dogs ran away. The dog attack victim described the dogs as Great Dane mixes. He contacted authorities and identified the neighboring cabin where the dogs came from when they attacked. Carmichael received medical treatment at a nearby hospital, where he got several stitches. Animal control opened an investigation into the incident. The Humane Society for the area contacted the dogs’ owner. They reported that he has been charged with unlawfully owning a dangerous animal. If the man is found guilty, he faces possible fines. In addition, the dogs may be euthanized.

Carmichael made a statement about the incident. He expressed his hope that others don’t have to go through what he experienced. He said when he thinks about his daughter going through something similar, it makes it tough to sleep at night.

What happened to Carmichael can just as easily happen to anyone in Texas. Every year, an estimated 4.5 million dog bites occur in the U.S. Large breeds can do extreme harm very quickly. Many people lose their lives from dog attacks. So far this year, 24 people have been victims of fatal dog attacks. Nineteen of the fatalities were caused by pit bulls or pit bull mixes.

Becoming a victim of a dog attack can happen anytime. There is plenty of good reason to become familiar with ways to avoid a dog attack and tips on what to do in the event of an attack.

–Guest Contributor

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An 83-year-old Man is Killed by Four Dogs Belonging to a Neighbor

Monday, September 12th, 2016

Les deux heureux parents de trois merveilleux ...

Les deux heureux parents de trois merveilleux petits rottweilers: Kiara, Charly et Coda ( à voir sur le blog: famillyrotts.skyrock.com) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a horrific scene in Jacksonville, Florida, an 83-year-old man was discovered dead in the backyard of a pet owner with four dogs. The owner’s dogs are a Rottweiler and three mixed-breed Rottweilers. On August 19, 2016, the victim was taking out his trash at the Franklin Arms Apartments, where he lived. There was a hole in the dog owner’s fence, and the dogs escaped. They dragged the elderly victim into their yard and he was discovered dead and dismembered. The dogs are in the custody of authorities. No charges have been filed.

Rottweilers are the second most dangerous type of dog breed. Although pit bulls have consistently been the breed responsible for more than 60% of annual deaths in the U.S. for decades, with that percentage spiking significantly since last year, Rottweilers are dangerous, too. According to DogsBite.org, a site that closely tracks dog bite fatalities in the U.S., the combined breed of pit bulls and Rottweilers have been responsible for 76% of all fatal attacks in the 11-year span of 2005 through 2015. More statistics follow:

  • In 2015, pit bulls committed 28 deaths and Rottweilers killed 3 people. American bulldogs are considered close cousins of pit bulls, and they killed 2 people. Together, the three breeds contributed to 97% or 33 of the 34 dog attack fatalities last year. Only 9% of these 34 fatalities resulted in criminal charges on a meaningful level. This was the lowest level of criminal charges linked to dog fatalities in 11 years.
  • Texas had more deaths caused by dogs in 2015, with 5 people killed.
  • Texas had more deadly dog attacks in 2014, as well, with 7 deaths. Felony charges were filed in connection with 43% of those fatalities.

Annual statistics related to dog fatalities continue to indicate what a danger certain breeds can be. Packs of dogs have also proven to be deadly on several occasions. Laws need to change so that dog owners know there will be consequences if anyone is hurt by their pets. It seems ludicrous that a person can be killed by pets while minding their own business and no one faces criminal charges.

–Guest Contributor

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Family Pit Bulls Maul a 60-year-old Woman to Death

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

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

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

Susan Shawl, age 60, of Conifer, Colorado was mauled to death by two family pit bulls Monday night, August 29, 2016. Shawl became the 19th victim of a fatal pit bull attack this year alone. Few details have been released about the tragedy. Police were called to the home, which is in a remote area of Conifer. First responders requested a medical helicopter. Shawl was on the verge of unconsciousness when they arrived. Shortly after requesting the helicopter, an officer announced that it appeared to be a code Frank, which is law enforcement terminology for a fatal incident. The dogs responsible for Shawl’s death belong to her and her son, Richard Shawl, age 36. He was also injured, but his injuries were not life-threatening. There are plans to euthanize the pit bulls.

The victims of fatal pit bull attacks are the owners or members of the family about half the time. The deaths that have occurred in 2016 tell a chilling story of a deadly breed. Many claim that media hype gives these dogs a bad rap. An honest look at actual fatalities makes it clear that there is no exaggeration needed.

Last year, pit bulls killed 28 (82%) of the 34 people who died in the U.S. from dog attacks. Consider that there are, according to worldwide kennel clubs, 332 dog breeds in the world and 187 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club. With 187 breeds in the U.S. and a single breed being responsible for 82% of all dog fatalities, it’s clear that pit bulls are far more dangerous than other dogs.

Approximately 700 cities and municipalities have banned pit bulls or at least restricted them. That number should be growing monthly, as the death toll rises with each fatal pit bull attack.

–Guest Contributor

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A 9-year-old Boy is Killed by a Pit Bull while Visiting a Friend

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Daddy

Daddy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On August 17, 2016, 9-year-old Derion Stevenson was fatally attacked by a pit bull in Las Vegas, Nevada. The child was visiting a friend and was in the yard when the friend’s pit bull exited the house and immediately launched an attack on his face and neck. The boy suffered life-threatening injuries and was quickly transported to a local hospital, where he died.

The dog responsible for the child’s death was involved in a dog fight in July, according to authorities. A neighbor said the pit bull attacked her Labrador on July 11, and her dog was seriously injured. Authorities said the injuries were not substantial enough to warrant a declaration that the dog was vicious or dangerous. Since Derion’s death, the pit bull has been euthanized.

So far this year, pit bulls have killed 18 people in the U.S.. Many instances were similar to this tragedy in that people have been killed when visiting a friend. Michelle Wilcox, age 30, was savagely killed by her boyfriend’s pit bull. Susie Kirby died at 3 days old when she was attacked by an uncle’s pit bull mixes. Earl Stephens Jr., age 43, was killed by a friend’s pit bull. These are a just a few. Many more have been killed by the family pit bull or pit bulls belonging to family members.

Nevada authorities said that of 196 dogs involved in dog-on-dog attacks this year in Clark County, only 5 (2.5%) were designated as dangerous. None was declared vicious. With 191 dog owners facing no substantial consequences for instances when their pets attacked another dog, the public  has reason to be concerned that dog owner’s rights are favored over victims.

Between the danger of pit bulls as a breed and the general lack of action when certain types of attacks occur, which is true of many Texas jurisdictions, dogs are often a genuine threat.

–Guest Contributor

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