Court Will Determine Dog’s Fate in Restaurant Mauling
A Houston dog may lose its life after attacking a three-year-old girl in a restaurant. Her mother was watching her walk toward the register when the dog lunged at the girl and began attacking her. The child survived but will need multiple surgeries to repair the damage done to her face. Her mother said that her daughter still wakes up at night screaming from the attack.
The dog, Kingston, was registered as a service animal. When Kingston lunged at the girl, her owner pulled back the leash and began yelling, “bad dog”. She pulled the dog out of the restaurant and ran toward her car. Others in the restaurant approached her and said that they had taken down her license plate number. The girl’s father said that Kingston’s owner said the incident was “his daughter’s fault” as she ran from the restaurant with her dog.
The dog was eventually tracked down, and the owner surrendered him. Now, there will be a hearing on whether or not the dog should be put to sleep.
Dog Bite Lawsuits in Houston
Texas makes it difficult for plaintiffs filing lawsuits against those who allow their dogs to injure, maim, or kill another individual. In order to prove negligence, you must be able to prove that the owner “knew” or “should have known” that the dog was dangerous. In terms of court cases, this generally requires that the injured party show that the dog had bitten another person before.
If the dog hasn’t bitten anyone else before, the injured party must be able to prove that the dog owner violated some statute that places on them a duty of care that they neglected. This is known as negligence per se, and the majority of dog bite lawsuits are filed under this legal theory.
What if the Girl Provoked the Dog?
Texas does have a comparative negligence rule that allows plaintiffs to be assigned some of the blame for injuries caused to them. However, since the child is under 6 years of age, the court will not allow her to be assigned any negligence at all. Because the child was only three, the provisions that allow exceptions in certain cases (like the child is throwing stuff at the dog) won’t apply. So the idea that the girl’s injuries were her own fault won’t work in this case.
Elements of Negligence
We can’t say for certain whether or not the owner was negligent without making certain assumptions about the case. However, if the dog was registered as a service animal and attacked a passing guest, then something went wrong. Either dog was never a service animal, the standards for being a service animal are too low, or the owner lied about the dog’s status. In any event, the owner gave the restaurant the impression that the dog was trained for service and would be well behaved. This makes a lawsuit against the restaurant less likely and a lawsuit against the dog owner more likely.
Talk to a Houston Dog Bite Attorney Today
If you or your child has been bitten by an unruly dog, call the Houston dog bite attorneys at Livingston & Flowers today. We will investigate the dog to determine if a prior incident would give the owner cause to believe that the dog could be dangerous. Failing that, we’ll determine if any ordinances or laws were broken. Call today and we can begin building your case immediately.