An unknown street vigilante has apparently taken the law into his or her own hands near Lackland Air Force Base in southwest San Antonio in a bloody campaign against dog bites and the owners that cause them.
At least two unattended dogs were the victims of a machete or large knife attack. One was rescued and transported to an animal hospital; it died after several days of treatment. The other victim is still wandering the streets with a serious injury to its neck or head; neighbors are working to try and locate and save the animal. Meanwhile, police have stepped up patrols in the area and investigators are working to find the person, or persons, behind the attacks.
Local resident Karen Lucchesi admitted that animal attacks were “a problem” in the neighborhood, but insisted that the dogs deserved justice for what happened to them.
First and foremost, it is never, ever acceptable to resort to violence in an attempt to cure a negligence problem. It is a known fact that many animals are attack animals by nature, and harming them for possessing this natural impulse makes no more sense than destroying a sports car because it is capable of going fast.
In terms of compensation for animal attacks, there are two avenues under Texas law. Many bites occur on private property; in these instances, Texas courts apply the one-bite rule. Under Marshall v. Ranne, an owner is strictly liable for an animal attack if the dog had attacked someone in the past or had shown dangerous tendencies, such as snapping or growling, and the owner was negligent in controlling the animal.
Other attacks happen in public parks, on jogging trails, and in other similar areas. Most cities have some form of leash law. For example, in New Braunfels, animals must be secured by a lead or leash, kept in a fenced yard, and under the care of a responsible person. Violation of a statute is usually considered negligence per se, for the same reason that a driver who runs a stop sign is nearly always faulted in a car crash.
In both these instances, victims are typically entitled to compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Punitive damages are also available, in some cases.
If you or a loved one was injured or killed due to someone else’s negligence, don’t take the law into your own hands. Take them to court by contacting an experienced personal injury attorney in New Braunfels.