Port Arthur Dog Bite Lawyer | Port Arthur Dog Mauling Lawsuit | Port Arthur Dog Attack Attorney
Jefferson County Dog Bite Accident Attorney
Dangerous Dog Facts:
- An estimated 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year;
- Approximately 334,000 people are admitted to US emergency rooms annually with dog bite-associated injuries, and another 466,000 are seen in other medical settings;
- An unknown number of other people who have been bitten do not sustain injuries deemed serious enough to require medical attention;
- Almost half of all persons bitten are children younger than 12 years old; and
- People more than 70 years old comprise 10% of those bitten and 20% of those killed.
According to Zoonosis Control Division of the Texas Department of Health, domesticated dogs comprise most the dog bites in any given year. Even more shocking, Texas was the leader in dog bite fatalities in 2007, with seven fatalities stemming from dog bites that year alone. There is a regional Zoonosis office in Port Arthur located at Texas Department of State Health Services, Zoonosis Control, 5425 Polk Avenue, Suite J, Houston, Texas 77023, (713) 767-3300 for all of your needs and questions.
Responsible Dog Ownership in Port Arthur Definitely Can Reduce Port Arthur Dog Bites
As so many things in life, dog bites can be reduced by what happens in the home. A dog is not always the one to blame in the instance of a dog attack or dog bite injury. Many owners use their dogs for illegal dog fights and these dogs are victimized every bit as much as the victims of their attacks, and they too are often severely injured or even killed in dog fighting rings as they fight for their lives. Negligent and abusive dog owners should be held liable for their actions. A decision to be a responsible dog is a personal decision and one that requires responsibility. There are many places in and around Port Arthur, Texas to have your dog trained for obedience. Dog owners are also able to take their dog to an area designated for dogs to play. Dog parks are there so that the owner can take their dog to an area where they can run around and play in an fenced-in and safe place. Dog parks are a responsible place to take your pet to ensure that when they are running off their leash that they will not run away from you and/or cause harm to a person or another animal. Some Dog Training Facilities and Dog Park locations in the General Port Arthur Area include:
Lone Star K-9
5336 N Twin City Hwy
Port Arthur, TX 77642
All About the Dog
5150 Twin City Highway
Port Arthur, TX 77642
▼Lucas Gusher RV
407 Hillebrandt Road
Beaumont, TX 77705
Dogs should be trained and any sense of aggressive behavior exhibited by a dog should be immediately attended to by the pet owner in order to avoid a future incident. What it boils down to is that if you or a loved one have been bitten, attacked, maimed, or killed by a dog or other animal, you should be entitled to some degree of compensation from the animal’s owner or handler. Contact one of the experienced Port Arthur dog bite lawyers above for a consultation regarding your claim.
Texas’s “One Bite” Rule & Dog Bite Claims Based on Negligence
Texas follows the arcane “one bite rule.” This means that a pet owner is liable when:
- the owner knew that the dog had bitten someone before or had a “dangerous propensity” for biting;
- the bite was caused by the negligence of the person handling the dog;
- the bite was caused by a violation of a leash law, prohibition against dogs trespassing or running at large, or a similar animal control law; or,
- the bite injury was caused intentionally by the owner or person handling the dog.
When it cannot be proved that the dog’s owner or handler knew of the dog’s propensity to bite, negligence can form the basis of a claim. An example of a negligence-based claim could occur when the owner of a dog whose breed is notorious for its violent propensities — such as a pit bull, Rottweiler, or German Shepherd — allows their dog to run loose in a children’s park or other public area without supervision. The dog’s owner will be held liable based on negligence if the dog bites a child in the park.
However, a person does not have to be the dog’s owner to be held liable for a bite victim’s injuries. A child bitten at a day care facility for dogs could, through the child’s parents, make a claim against the pet care center, even though the dog was owned by a third party who was absent at the time of the bite. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite, you should contact a Port Arthur dog bite attorney to pursue your personal injury claims. Even if the dog has no prior history of aggression and has never bitten anyone before, Texas’s “one bite rule” may allow a Port Arthur dog bite injury lawyer to fight your claim successfully, and you deserve compensation for your injuries.
Port Arthur Negligence Per Se Dog Bite Lawyer
When a statute or ordinance is violated and the violation leads to an injury, this is called negligence per se.
Negligence per se is frequently found in cases of dog bites, dog maulings, and dog attacks, often resulting from a violation of:
- leash laws;
- dog trespass laws; or,
- no “free-run” laws.
Usually, these types of dog control laws and ordinances are only found in large Texas cities; however, Port Arthur has an ordinance requiring that dogs be "restrained" at all times. Furthermore, Port Arthur requires that all dogs over four months of age be licensed with the city officials. If you or a loved one has been bitten or mauled by a dog running loose in violation of the law of Port Arthur or Jefferson County, you should contact a local Port Arthur dog bite attorney immediately.
Lillian’s Law (H.B. 1355)
The so-called “Lillian Stiles Law,” sponsored by Senator Eliot Shapleigh and passed in 2007, increases the jail time for owners who fail to secure their dogs in a reasonable manner, resulting in serious bodily injury or death to another. Under the law, a dog owner will be charged with a third-degree felony if their dog causes serious bodily injury to a victim during an unprovoked attack. A third-degree felony is punishable by 2-10 years of prison time as well as a potential fine of up to $10,000. If the victim dies from an unprovoked dog attack, H.B. 1355 would impose a charge of second-degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Click here for more information on the passage of Lillian’s Law,
Texas still allows a dog to be chained up, which is not only bad policy, but also dangerous to children and others who are routinely attacked by dogs that have been chained. Lillian’s law helps protect Port Arthur residents from dogs that attack when not reasonably secured and allows Port Arthur dog bite lawyers to sue the dog owners despite lack of previous history of aggression or any provocation from the injury victim. Call a Port Arthur dog bite lawyer today.
Some of Texas' Laws on Dog Bites
Some of the laws are found in the Texas Health & Safety Code, Title 10, Chapter 822 Regulation of Animals:
- Subchapter A General Provisions; Dogs That Attack Persons or Are a Danger to Persons;
Subchapter D Dangerous Dogs;
- 822.041. Definitions;
- 822.042. Requirements for Owner of Dangerous Dog;
- 822.0421. Determination That Dog is Dangerous;
- 822.0422. Reporting of Incident in Certain Counties and Municipalities;
- 822.0423. Hearing;
- 822.043. Registration;
- 822.044. Attack by Dangerous Dog;
- 822.045. Violations;
- 822.046. Defense; and
- 822.047. Local Regulation of Dangerous Dogs
Jefferson County Dangerous Dog Laws
A. Definitions: As used in this ordinance, the following words shall have the following meaning:
"Registered Guard Dog" means any guard dog registered annually with the Jefferson County Animal Control Department by providing the following information.
Owner's name, home address, home and business telephone numbers;
Dog's name, age, sex and physical description;A current rabies tag number and veterinarian's name, address and telephone number;
A list and description of commands known by the dog;
A description of the training given to the dog including dates and name and telephone number of trainer; and
The name, address and telephone number for an alternative person to contact regarding the dog in the owner's absence.
"Vicious Dog" means any dog which, while off the dog owner’s premises, in a dangerous, threatening or terrorizing manner attacks a person without causing bodily injury, or any dog while off the dog owner’s premises which causes injury to, or kills another animal.
Note: The owner of a dog causing injury or death to a person or domestic animal, or showing tendencies to do so or a dog trained or engaged in animal fighting may be prosecuted under Section 18-9-204.5, C.R.S., Unlawful Ownership of a
B. Duties of the Animal Control Officers.
The Animal Control Director and Animal Control Officers shall have the duty and the authority to enforce all sections of this regulation which pertain to animals. Open Space personnel designated by the Director of Open Space and trained by Jefferson County Animal Control shall have the duty and authority to enforce all sections of this regulation on Open Space lands.
Pursuant to the provisions of C.R.S. 30-15-102 and 30-15-105 the Animal Control Director and Animal Control Officers, Sheriff's Deputies and Open Space personnel designated by the Open Space Director are hereby designated and authorized to issue, sign and serve summons and complaints in order to enforce the provisions of this regulation and to make all administrative determinations required by this regulation.
It shall be lawful for the Animal Control Director, an Animal Control Officer or a Sheriff's Deputy (hereinafter "officer") to go upon private property to capture an animal to be impounded for violation of this regulation if:
a. The officer has obtained a search warrant, or
b. The officer has obtained consent of the owner or authorized agent of the property, or
c. The officer is in pursuit of an animal, which is or has been at large. (Nothing in this sub-paragraph three shall authorize entry into any enclosed building on private property.)
d. Nothing in this regulation shall be construed to prevent an Animal Control Officer from taking whatever action is reasonably necessary to protect his person, members of the public, or another animal from injury from any dog.
It shall be lawful for designated Open Space park personnel to capture an animal to be impounded for violation of this regulation on Open Space lands.
It shall be the duty of the Animal Control Director to keep or cause to be kept, accurate, detailed, and complete records of all complaints, warnings and violations of this regulation.
C. Licensing, Rabies Control and Biting.
A dog license shall be required for each dog over the age of four (4) months, residing in unincorporated Jefferson County to promote responsible pet ownership and animal welfare.
a. The Jefferson County Animal Control Department will administer the dog-licensing program and distribute the dog licenses. All records relating to the dog-licensing program will be maintained by the Jefferson County Animal
b. To obtain a dog license, a dog owner must submit proof of a rabies vaccination administered by a licensed veterinarian within 365 days prior to licensing, or, if a booster vaccination, within the time period recommended by the
annual compendium of animal rabies control. The dog owner shall also pay a licensing fee of $15.00 for a spayed/neutered dog, and $30.00 for an unaltered dog. Owners of service dogs (as defined in State and Federal Statutes)
will be exempt from the annual license fee as to the extent provided by State and Federal legislation.
c. A dog owner must renew this dog license once every 365 days.
d. Proof of spay/neuter from a licensed veterinarian is required to be eligible for a reduced license fee.
e. A dog owner may request an exemption to these provisions and request a reduced license fee if, for medical reasons, his/her dog cannot bevaccinated or spayed/neutered. In this event, a dog owner must submit an affidavit from a licensed veterinarian stating the reasons why he dog is unable to be vaccinated or spayed/neutered.
f. Licensed facility owners as defined in this regulation shall be exempt from the license fee provided they submit proof of licensing by the United States Department of Agriculture or the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Licensed facility owners shall be subject to all other licensing provisions, as set forth in this regulation.
Failure to have a Jefferson County Dog License.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a.if he/she fails to obtain a license from the Jefferson County Animal Control Department for any dog that is four months old or older.
No License Tag Attached To Dog.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a.if he/she fails to attach the County license tag to his/her dog by means of a collar or harness. The license does not need to be attached by means of a collar or harness when the dog is on the dog owner's premises, at a local or national dog association competitive event or at a licensed facility. Dogs that do not have the license tag attached to the collar (when on the dog owner's premises or at the local or national dog association competitive event or at a licensed facility) must have an implanted microchip that identifies the dog owner.
Misrepresentation of Licensing.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a., if a tag evidencing licensing for another dog is affixed to the collar of his/her dog.
Duty to Report Animal Bite.
Any person having knowledge of a dog or cat bite causing bodily injury to a person shall report the incident to the Animal Control Department as set forth below. Every physician or other medical practitioner who attends and treats a person or persons for a bite inflicted by a dog or cat shall report such treatment to the Animal Control Department within twenty-four (24) hours of the treatment. This report shall include the name, address and phone number of all persons treated. When no physician attends, the parent or guardian of any child bitten, when the bite caused bodily injury, shall, within twenty-four (24) hours after first having the knowledge that the child was bitten make a complete report. When no physician attends a bitten adult, when the bite causes bodily injury, the adult or person caring for him/her shall make the report.
Failure to Report Animal Bite.
A person (over 18 or guardian of a minor) commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a., if he/she fails or refuses to report to the animal control officer a dog or cat bite which causes bodily injury to a person within twenty-four (24) hours of occurrence. A complete report must include the dog/cat owner name, address, and phone number and specific information regarding the bite. Each day of such failure or refusal shall constitute a separate violation.
Biting Animals – Quarantine.
Any dog, cat, ferret, or other animal, that has bitten or is suspected of having bitten a person causing bodily injury and has been determined by either the Jefferson County Department of Health and Environment or the Colorado Department of Health and Environment to need to be quarantined, shall be immediately confined for a minimum of ten (10) days from the date of the bite to be observed for symptoms of rabies. During the quarantine period, the animal may not be taken for a walk, taken on vacation, sold, given away, euthanized, killed, relocated or allowed contact with people or animals other than those with whom it resides. The quarantine location is to be at the discretion of the Jefferson County Animal Control Department. Any costs incurred as a result of any quarantine are the sole responsibility of the animal owner.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a., if his/her dog or cat violates the quarantine requirements.
Duty to Produce Animal – Quarantine.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a., if he/she refuses to produce a dog or cat that has bitten, or is suspected of having bitten a person causing bodily injury. Each day of such refusal shall constitute a separate violation.
Dogs at Large, Dogs Off Leash and Biting Dogs.
a. Dog at Large.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a.if his/her dog is at large in the County or commits an encroachment as defined by this regulation.
b. Dog at Large or Encroachment and Biting.
A dog owner commits a Class II Misdemeanor punishable under E.5.b.if his/her dog is at large in the County and bites a person causing bodily injury, or commits an encroachment and bites a person causing bodily injury.
c. Unlicensed Dog and Biting.
A dog owner commits a Class II Misdemeanor punishable under E.5.b.if his/her dog bites a person causing bodily injury, and said dog has not been licensed.
d. Dog Biting Off Premises and Under Owner's Control.
A dog owner commits a Class II Misdemeanor punishable under E.5.b.if his/her dog bites a person causing bodily injury while off the dog owner's premises and under the control of the dog owner.
e. An affirmative defense to a violation of D.1.cor D.1.d. shall be:
(1) at the time of the bite, the victim was committing or attempting to commit a criminal offense against the dog's owner; or
(2) at the time of the bite, the victim tormented, provoked, abused, or inflicted injury upon the dog in an extreme manner, which resulted in the bite.
f. Dog Off Leash.
Except as permitted in designated locations, a dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a.if his/her dog is off leash.
g. Dog Off Leash and Biting.
A dog owner commits a Class II Misdemeanor punishable under E.5.b. if his/her dog bites a person causing bodily injury while the dog is off leash.
Nuisance Dogs and Dogs At Large Causing Bodily Injury.
a. Nuisance Dog.
A person commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a.if he/she owns, harbors, keeps, controls or has custody of a nuisance dog as defined in this regulation.
b. Dog Off Leash or Dog At Large and Dog Causes Bodily Injury.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a.if his/her dog is off leash or is at large in the County or commits encroachment and, as a result of either of the foregoing, a person sustains bodily injury other than a dog bite (i.e., an injury sustained in the process of avoiding, retreating from, or impounding a loose dog).
c. Vicious Dog.
A person commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a.if he/she owns, harbors, keeps, controls or has custody of a vicious dog as defined in this regulation.
d. Dog at Large or Off Leash or Encroachment Causing Property Damage.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a. if his/her dog is at large or off leash or commits encroachment and, as a result of any one of the foregoing, causes property damage as defined in this regulation.
Habitual and Persistent Barking Dog.
a. Harboring a Habitual and Persistent Barking Dog.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a.(8) if he/she fails to prevent his/her dog from disturbing the peace of any person by loud, habitual and persistent barking, howling, yelping, or whining, whether the dog is on or off the dog owner's property.
b. Warning Notices.
An Animal Control Officer will issue a warning notice to the dog owner after receiving a complaint of a barking dog. The complainant must provide the dog owner’s address, dog description, and the date and duration of the violation. The dog owner will be allowed three days from issuance of the warning notice to correct the problem before being charged under the summons and complaint process.
c. Citations/Summons and Complaints.
After the three-day grace period and within 180 days after issuance of the warning notice, a citation, or summons and complaint may be issued if two persons from separate households have signed complaints and are willing to testify at trial. The complainants must provide the dog owners' address, dog description, date and duration of violation, but need not be reporting the same date and time of a violation. In the event there is only one occupied residence in the immediate area of the location of the barking dog, only one complaining witness shall be required to sign the complaint prior to the issuance of a summons and complaint if the complaining witness is willing to testify at trial.
d. Service of Warning Notices.
A dog owner shall be deemed to have received and been issued a warning under this subsection if the warning was personally served on the dog owner, posted on the residence of the dog owner, or placed in the U.S. Mail, postage prepaid and addressed to the dog owner. Warning notices so served shall constitute notice to all members of that residence.
e. Second Offense.
If a second complaint of a barking dog is received within 180 days of issuance of the first citation or summons and complaint, a citation or summons and complaint for a second offense may be issued without issuing a warning notice.
f. Proof Required for Conviction.
No person shall be convicted at trial of violating this section unless a person in the immediate area has signed a complaint and testified to the persistent, habitual, and offensive noise generated by a barking dog.
Section D.3.a. shall not apply to dogs working livestock, dogs locating or retrieving wild game in season for a licensed hunter, dogs assisting law enforcement officers, or dogs being trained for any of these pursuits. Further it shall not apply to licensed kennels, breeding, boarding and/or training facilities, or veterinary offices and hospitals, provided these facilities comply with all applicable zoning, commercial, and business regulations, laws and statutes.
a. Committing Cruelty to Animals.
A dog owner commits a Class I Misdemeanor under §18-9-202, C.R.S., if he/she commits Cruelty to Animals as defined in this regulation and by State law.
b. Unlawfully Harboring a Guard Dog.
Unlawfully Harboring a Guard Dog. A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a.if he/she places or maintains a guard dog(s) on non-residential property or on property used in whole or in part for any business
unless the following conditions are met:
(1) The guard dog is registered with the Jefferson County Animal Control Department;
(2) Warning signs are conspicuously posted around the premises indicating the presence of a guard dog and such signs plainly show a telephone number where a person responsible for controlling the guard dog can be reached at all
times; and the guard dog is either:
(a) confined to an enclosed area adequate to ensure that it will not escape; or
(b) under the complete control of the handler at all times.
c. Unlawfully Harboring a Female Dog in Season.
(1) A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a.if he/she keeps, harbors, controls or has custody of any unaltered female dog in season unless the female dog in heat is confined during such period of time in a house, building or secure enclosure so that said dog shall not create a neighborhood nuisance.
The Animal Control Officer shall impound any unaltered female dog in season that is not adequately confined as provided for in D.4.c.(1), or any such dog that is creating a neighborhood nuisance. If necessary in the judgment of the Animal Control Director, the dog shall be removed to a boarding kennel, to a veterinary hospital, or the Animal Shelter. All expenses and or fees incurred as a result of the confinement shall be the sole responsibility of the dog owner.
d. Interference with an Animal Control Officer - No Bodily Injury.
A person commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a. if he/she interferes with, hinders, or obstructs an Animal Control Officer (not involving bodily injury) and knowing him/her to be an Animal Control Officer discharging his/her duties under this regulation.
e. Habitual Offender.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a. if he/she is convicted, pleads guilty to, enters a no contest plea, receives a deferred judgment, or arranges any plea bargain for violating any section of this regulation three or more times in any twelve month period.
f. Feces/Urine - Accumulation; Disposition.
An owner of dogs, cats or other household pets commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a. if the pet's owner allows excessive animal feces or urine to accumulate. The accumulation of animal excrement shall be deemed to be excessive if there is sufficient quantity to generate odors off the premises of the dog owner or, if in the judgment of the Animal Control Officer, the accumulation is detrimental to the health and well being of neighbors or the animals.
g. Failure to Redeem or Relinquish Animal from the Animal Impound Facility.
After notice by phone, mail or in person, a dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a. if he/she fails or refuses to redeem or legally relinquish his/her dog(s) that is/are impounded at the designated animal impound facility.
h. Failure to Clean Up Dog Feces in Public Places.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a. if the dog owner or custodian of any dog which has defecated in any park, parkway, sidewalk, roadway, community center, school, or recreational facility fails to clean up and remove such excrement or feces.
An Animal Control Officer may take into custody and impound at the Animal Shelter any dog found without a microchip or license tag when in violation of section C.3., any dog found at large, any dog or cat that has allegedly bitten a person or any dog or cat that is sick or injured and in need of medical attention.
Disposition After Impoundment.
No dog or cat shall be disposed of prior to six animal shelter business days after the date of impoundment unless it is critically injured or ill, the owner cannot be located, and it is deemed in the best interest of the animal that the dog or cat be disposed of as determined by the Manager of the Animal Shelter or his/her designee. In the event a dog or cat is not claimed by the owner within the six day period, the Animal Shelter may at its sole discretion, dispose of the dog or cat by adoption or euthanasia. In the event the Animal Shelter disposes of the animal as set forth in this section, the owner of such dog or cat shall be obligated to pay any and all fees required by the Animal Shelter.
Liability for Accident or Subsequent Disease from Impoundment.
The Board of County Commissioners, any assistants or employees, or any other person authorized to enforce the provisions of this animal control and licensing regulation shall not be held responsible for any accident, non-deliberate injury, or subsequent disease that may occur in connection with the administration of this regulation.
Special Sanctions Upon Conviction of Biting Dog, Nuisance Dog, Vicious Dog and Habitual Offender Violations.
In recognition of the serious nature of biting dog, nuisance dog, vicious dog and habitual offender violations and in the interest of protecting and promoting public safety, the Jefferson County Animal Control Department and/or the District Attorney's Office has the authority to recommend that a Special Sanction be levied against the dog owner convicted of one or more of the above enumerated offenses. This recommendation will be presented to the Jefferson County Court by a motion of the District Attorney as a proposed condition of sentencing upon conviction of one of the offenses enumerated above. The Animal Control Department and/or the District Attorney will present the prior history and documentation on a dog owner that has been so convicted and will propose the imposition of further restrictions or sanctions against a dog owner. This special sanction may be in lieu of or in addition to the specified fine at the discretion of the Court. The Court shall be asked to take into consideration the severity of the incident, the prior history of the dog owner and the recommendation of the Animal Control Department and the District Attorney's Office when ruling on a disposition. The Court shall be asked to consider each case as unique, and to adapt a special sanction or limitation to the particular facts and circumstances of the given case. The Animal Control Department will be responsible for conducting the follow up visits with the dog owner to ensure compliance with the court-ordered sanction, and will report back to the court in a timely manner. The following is a list of available, but not all inclusive, sanctions and limitations to be completed within a time specified by the court.
a. Construction of a secure dog kennel (built to the specifications of Animal Control).
b. Spaying or neutering of the dog.
c. Dog obedience training.
d. Community Service work at an animal sheltering facility.
e. Euthanasia of the dog.
f. Pet Management Class.
h. Micro-chipping of the animal at owner’s expense.
i. When outdoors in a private yard, the animal must be in an escape proof enclosure or with a responsible adult, who is a minimum of 21 years of age, in the rear yard with the animal, and a secure six-foot fence must enclose the rear yard.
j. When walked, animal must be muzzled and walked on a leash no longer than 4 feet in length by a responsible adult, who is a minimum of 21 years of age, and is capable of effectively controlling the animal.
k. When the animal is away from the property of the owner, the owner shall keep the animal either in a secure temporary enclosure or securely leashed with a leash no longer than four (4) feet in length held by a responsible adult, who is minimum of 21 years of age, and is capable of effectively controlling the animal and animal must be muzzled.
l. Extension style leashes may not be used.
m. The leash may not be attached to inanimate objects.
n. Owner must post, at each entrance to the owner’s property where the animal is kept, a conspicuous and clearly legible sign of at least eight (8) by ten (10) inches, which shall contain the words, “BEWARE OF DOG” in lettering at least two (2) inches in height.
o. The owner shall not sell or otherwise transfer the animal to any person except to an immediate family member who will then be subject to all the same restrictions imposed on the owner. This transfer of ownership information must be provided to animal control.
p. The owner shall be responsible for the payment of all impoundment fees, boarding fees, and any reasonable and necessary medical expenses incurred during the impoundment of the animal regardless of whether or not the animal is redeemed by the owner from the animal shelter.
q. Prohibition of ownership of other animals during the period of court ordered supervision.
r. Owner must obtain a homeowners or renters insurance policy showing at least $100,000.00 in liability coverage for any damage by injury caused by the animal. The policy must be for a 12-month period with the requirement that the policy be maintained during the life of the animal.
Penalties and Enforcement.
a. Class II Petty Offenses.
All charges and proceedings relating to commission of Class II Petty Offenses may be cited in compliance with the penalty assessment procedures pursuant to Section 16-2-201, C.R.S., as amended. Any person(s) who acknowledges guilt or is found guilty of a Class II Petty Offense shall be punished by a mandatory fine of not less than the amount set forth in this section nor more than $1,000.00 for each separate offense, plus customary court costs when applicable. An incremental fine shall be assessed for all Class II Petty Offenses, beginning with the minimum mandatory fine for a first offense and with increases for each recurring offense up to a maximum of $1,000.00. The minimum fine as well as the assessed incremental increases for second and subsequent offenses shall be mandatory and shall not be suspended in whole or in part. Class II Petty Offenses include:
(1) Failure to have a Jefferson County dog license, $50.00 mandatory minimum fine, $100.00 for a second offense, and increased $50.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum of $1,000.00.
(2) No license tag attached to dog (and dog not meeting exception provided in C.3.), $30.00 mandatory minimum fine, $60.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $30.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(3) Misrepresentation of licensing, $30.00 mandatory minimum fine, $60.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $30.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(4) Violating quarantine, $100.00 mandatory minimum fine, $200.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $100.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(5) Failure or refusal to produce an animal for quarantine, $100.00 mandatory minimum fine, $200.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $100.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(6) Dog at large, $50.00 mandatory minimum fine, $100.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $50.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(7) Dog at large causing bodily injury, or dog off leash causing bodily injury, $100.00 mandatory minimum fine, $200.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $100.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(8) Habitual/persistent barking dog, $50.00 mandatory minimum fine, $100.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $50.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(9) Unlawfully harboring a guard dog, $50.00 mandatory minimum fine, $100.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $50.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(10) Unlawfully harboring a female dog in season, $50.00 mandatory minimum fine, $100.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $50.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(11) Failure to dispose of feces/urine as provided in D.4.f., $50.00 mandatory minimum fine, $100.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $50.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(12) Nuisance dog, $100.00 mandatory minimum fine, $200.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $100.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(13) Habitual offender, $300.00 mandatory minimum fine, $600.00 for a second offense, and $1,000.00 for each subsequent offense.
(14) Interference with an animal control officer, no bodily injury, $200.00 mandatory minimum fine, $400.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $200.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(15) Failure to report dog bite, $50.00 mandatory minimum fine, $100.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $50.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(16) Off leash, $30.00 mandatory minimum fine, $60.00 for second offense and an increase of $30.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(17) Failure to redeem or relinquish animal from the designated animal impound facility, mandatory minimum fine of $150.00, $300.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $150.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(18) Failure to clean up dog feces in public places, mandatory minimum fine of $30.00, $60.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $30.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(19) Vicious Dog, $200.00 mandatory minimum fine, $400.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $200.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(20) Dog at large causing property damage, $100.00 mandatory minimum fine, $200.00 for a second offense, and a $100.00 increase for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
b. Class II Misdemeanors.
All persons who acknowledge guilt or who are found guilty of a Class II Misdemeanor shall be punished by a fine as set forth in this section with a maximum fine of $1,000.00 and/or imprisonment in the county jail for three to twelve months. The minimum Class II Misdemeanor fine shall be as set forth below unless it is suspended as a condition of probation.
(1) Unlicensed dog and biting, $250.00 fine.
(2) Dog is at large or Encroachment and biting, $500.00 fine.
(3) Dog biting off premises and under owner’s control $500.000 fine.
(4) Dog Off Leash and Biting $500.00 fine.
Disposition of Fines and Forfeitures.
All fines and forfeitures for the violation of this regulation and all monies collected by the County for licenses or otherwise shall be paid into the general fund of the County except as otherwise provided herein. The Board of County Commissioners may authorize by intergovernmental Agreement or separate resolution the payment of all or a portion of license fees to the Table Mountain Animal Center or designate the fees be used for any other purpose authorized by the Board of County Commissioners.
License Fee Contingency Fund.
One percent of the Jefferson County dog license fees collected pursuant to C., shall be allocated to and segregated in a separate Animal Control Department account for the payment of emergency medical treatment for stray animals. This fund shall be administered by the Animal Control Director or his/her designee.
G. Off Leash Area/Exception to Dog Off Leash Offense.
A governmental agency with the power to own or operate a park or a home owner’s association that owns and manages common property may designate an area or park land that it owns or manages as an Off Leash Area if it obtains an exemption from the Board of County Commissioners. Dogs shall be permitted to be off leash in such areas so long as the owners are observed to be present and within visual site of his or her dog. This shall be an area where there is an exemption to the Off Leash offense.
The governmental entity seeking an exemption shall submit a request for an exemption to the Animal Control Division of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. The governmental entity must submit proof that at a minimum it has notified all property owners within a one quarter mile radius of the boundary of the proposed Off Leash Area. It is recommended that special districts notify all district constituents. If the Off Leash Area is a trail on Forest Service land or Open Space, the Forest Service or Open Space, at a minimum, shall notify all property owners adjacent to the trail and all property owners whose property is within 100 yards of the parking area designated for the Off Leash Area. The notification must direct people to submit written comments, whether pro or con, to the Animal Control Section within 30 days after the postmark date of the Notice. A list of addresses of all persons notified must be submitted to the Animal Control Section with a copy of the notification. The application must include a map depicting the boundary of the proposed Off Leash Area.
Within 60 days after receipt of a complete application, the Animal Control Section shall conduct a site evaluation to determine if the site meets the criteria of this section. Animal Control will submit a written report to the Board of County Commissioners. The report will summarize the public comment, confirm that the area meets or will meet the specified criteria, and will make a recommendation to either approve or deny the application. The Board of County Commissioners’ decision will be final. The report will contain a signature page for the approval/denial and a copy of the document will be maintained at the Animal Control Office.
Park Off Leash Area.
All park areas designated as Off Leash Areas, except trail areas, must comply with the following criteria:
a. Have a minimum of one acre of land surrounded by a 4 foot to 6 foot secure, chain link fence (or other similar material). The fenced area must have a double-gated entrance to prevent escape.
b. The area must be accessible to people with disabilities.
c. The area must have covered garbage cans and pooper-scooper stations provided, stocked and maintained.
d. The area must have shade and water available.
e. Signs must be posted that specify park hours and rules, including a "participate at your own risk" statement.
f. Adequate parking must be close to the site.
U.S. Forest Service Trail Area or Jefferson County Open Space Trail Area.
All U.S. Forest Service Trail Areas and Jefferson County Open Space Trail Areas designated as Off Leash Areas shall comply with the following criteria:
a. Adequate parking close to the trailhead or area.
b. Covered garbage cans and trash removal service.
c. Signs that specify trail rules and clearly designate the area as off-leash to warn/notify other hikers or patrons. Also, signs shall include a "participate at your own risk" statement.
Enforcement of Off Leash Areas.
All complaints, except complaints concerning dog bites, will be handled by the entity having jurisdiction over the park (the "park jurisdiction"). All bites must be reported within 24 hours to Animal Control.
Revocation of Off Leash Exemption.
a. The Off-Leash designation can be revoked at any time by the park jurisdiction or County Open Space Division. The park jurisdiction or County Open Space Division must notify Animal Control, immediately, in writing of the decision to un-designate the Off Leash Area. The park jurisdiction would have to wait 6 months to re-apply if they wish to reinstate the Off Leash designation.
b. If Animal Control receives repeated complaints that are not being adequately addressed by the park jurisdiction, Animal Control can petition the Board of County Commissioners to revoke the Off Leash exemption. If the revocation is approved, the park jurisdiction or Forest Service will be notified in writing to close the area to Off Leash activity and that leash law enforcement will resume in the area.
No vicious or nuisance dogs as defined in Section A.32. are permitted off leash within areas designated as Off Leash Parks.
Existing Open Space Areas Designated as Off Leash."
Open Space areas already designated by the Open Space Division as areas permitting dogs to be Off Leash shall be deemed already granted an exemption from the Board of County Commissioners.
H. Special Event Permit For Off-Leash Dog Activities In Unincorporated Jefferson County
Jefferson County Animal Control Director or his/her designee may issue a Special Event Permit allowing for temporary off-leash dog activities when the applicant has complied with the requirements of this section. Activities may include, but are not limited to, dog agility trials, fly ball, rally, dog obedience, conformation, and field trials.
In order to be granted a special event permit, an applicant must be an established and organized club or group, submit an application to animal control and comply with the criteria and guidelines set forth in this section.
The applicant must submit an application to Animal Control which includes the following information:
a. Documentation to confirm reservation and authorization from the park district or other venue;
b. Documentation acceptable to the Animal Control Director to establish that the applicant is an existing legal entity (such documentation may include, but is not limited to, articles of incorporation, bylaws, or group, pamphlet, mission statement, event calendar, meeting minutes, etc. To illustrate the existence of the organization);
c. A business address and complete contact information (name, address, phone, cell phone) for the event organizer/liaison;
d. Must have adequate liability insurance as determined by Jefferson County Risk and provide a certificate of liability insurance naming the County as an additional insured;
e. Specify a specific date or dates and start and end times for the proposed event; and
f. A diagram showing the location of the event and the area or areas that will be fenced.
Once a complete application is submitted, Animal Control will within two weeks send one copy of the application with its approval or denial to the group organizer/liaison and one copy to the event venue. In the event that the permit is
denied, the application will include an explanation of why the event was not approved. Re-application for the same event may be made one time. A copy of the permit will be kept at the Animal Control Office.
The Applicant shall ensure that the event is conducted in a safe and orderly manner and that the event is conducted in compliance with the following requirements.
The area to be used for the event will, to the extent possible, be demarcated by temporary fencing or staked in a manner acceptable to the Animal Control Director and as represented in the diagram approved by the animal control director;
Dogs will only be allowed off leash during the time the dogs are competing, performing, or practicing for an event;
Participants will be supervised by the applicant to assure that good order is maintained and that rules are being followed;
Applicant will assure that all dog waste is picked up and properly disposed;
All animals shall be provided with adequate water and protection from the elements;
All other Jefferson County animal regulations are followed; and
Applicant will report all dog bites (to humans) within 24 hours to Jefferson County Animal Control. Applicant will assure that all park district or other venue rules and regulations are followed.
Should any section, clause, sentence or part of this regulation be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be unconstitutional or invalid, the same shall not affect, impair or invalidate the regulation as a whole or any part thereof, other than the part so declared to be invalid.
City of Port Arthur Dangerous Dog Laws
Sec. 10-161. - Limited numbers.
(a) Limitation on the number of dogs and cats in dwelling units.
(1) A person commits an offense if he harbors more than five dogs, cats or any combination of dogs and cats on the premises of a dwelling unit that shares a common wall with another dwelling unit;
(2) A person commits an offense if he harbors more than five dogs, cats or any combination of dogs and cats on the premises of a dwelling unit that shares no common wall with another dwelling unit and that is located on not more than one-half acre of land; or
(3) In determining the number of dogs or cats harbored on the premises of a dwelling unit under subsections (a)(1) and (2) of this section, the director shall not count any dog or cat under six months of age or any feral cat participating in a trap, neuter and return program approved by the director.
(b) Tethered dogs.
(1) An owner of a dog commits an offense if he tethers the dog or allows the dog to be tethered in any manner or by any method that:
a. Allows the dog to leave the premises owned, leased or occupied by the dog's owner;
b. Allows the dog to become entangled;
c. Does not allow the dog access to food, water and appropriate shelter if outside; or
d. Does not meet the requirements for tethering a dog under subsection (2) of this section.
(2) The following requirements apply to a dog tethered within the city:
a.The dog must be properly fitted with and wearing a harness or collar made of leather or nylon.
b.The tether must be attached to the dog's harness or collar and not directly to the dog's neck.
c.The tether must be at least ten feet long.
(c) Defecation of dogs on public and private property; failure to carry materials and implements for the removal and disposal of dog excreta.
(1) An owner of a dog commits an offense if he knowingly permits, or by insufficient control, allows the dog to defecate in the city on private property or on property located in a public place.
(2) An owner of a dog commits an offense if he:
a. Knowingly permits the dog to enter or be present on private property or on property located in a public place; and
b.Fails to have in his possession, materials or implements that, either alone or in combination with each other, can be used to immediately and in a sanitary and lawful manner both remove and dispose of any excreta the dog may deposit on the property.
(3) It is a defense to prosecution under subsection (c)(1) that the owner of the dog immediately and in a sanitary and lawful manner removed and disposed of, or caused the removal and disposal of, all excreta deposited on the property by the dog.
(4) It is a defense to prosecution under subsections (c)(1) or (2) that:
a. The property was owned, leased or controlled by the owner of the dog;
b. The owner or person in control of the property had given prior consent for the dog to defecate on the property; or
c. The dog was a service dog being used in official law enforcement activities.
(5)This section does not apply to a service dog that is specially trained to assist a person with a disability and that was in the custody or control of that disabled person at the time it defecated or was otherwise present on private property or on property located in a public place.
(d)Confinement requirements for dogs kept outdoors.
(1) An owner of a dog commits an offense if he fails to provide a fenced yard or other outdoor pen or structure, used as the primary living area for the dog or used as an area for the dog to regularly eat, sleep, drink and emit excreta is not:
a. At least 150 square feet for each dog six months of age or older;
b. Designed, constructed and composed of material sufficient to prevent the dog's escape;
c. Designed in a manner that provides the dog access to the inside of a doghouse, building or shelter that meets all requirements of subsection (d)(2) of this section; and
d. A height of at least five feet.
(2) A doghouse or other building or shelter for a dog must:
a. Have a weatherproof top, bottom and sides;
b. Have an opening on no more than one side that allows the dog to remain dry and provides adequate shade during daylight hours to prevent overheating or discomfort to the dog;
c. Have a floor that is level and dry;
d. Be free from cracks, depressions and rough areas that might be conducive to insects, parasites and other pests;
e. Be of adequate size to allow the dog to stand erect with the dog's head up, to turn around easily, and to sit and lie down in a comfortable and normal position;
f. Have sufficient clean and dry bedding material or other means of protection from the weather that will allow the dog to retain body heat when the weather is colder than what a dog of that breed and condition can comfortably tolerate;
g. Provide a suitable means for the prompt elimination of excess liquid;
h. Be structurally sound, maintained in good repair, and constructed with material that protects the dog from injury; and
i. Allow the dog easy access in and out.
(Code 1961, § 4-52; Ord. No. 09-36, § 2, 5-5-2009; Ord. No. 09-42, § 2, 6-2-2009)
Sec. 10-162. - Licensing.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to own, keep, harbor or have custody or control of any dog or cat over four months of age within the city without first obtaining a valid license for each such animal as provided in this section.
(b) Application for a license and payment of fees shall be made to the city animal control officer. The application shall include the name of the applicant, a description of the animal and a currently valid rabies vaccination certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian.
(c) A person whose license has been revoked may reapply for another license after a period of one year. Reapplication for a license and payment of fees shall be made to the city animal control officer. The application shall include the name of the applicant, a description of the animal and a currently valid rabies vaccination certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian.
(d) Fees are as follows:
(1) Guard dog .....$15.00
(2) Documented neutered dog or cat .....5.00
(3) Nonneutered dog or cat .....10.00
(4) Duplicate tags .....2.00
(5) Reapplication fee (nonrefundable) .....10.00
(e) No fee shall be charged for a license issued for any dog used by a blind or deaf person.
(f) All licenses shall expire on December 31 of the year in which issued, unless revoked earlier.
(g) Application for a license must be made within 30 days after obtaining a dog or cat over four months of age, except that this requirement shall not apply to a nonresident who keeps a dog or cat for less than 30 days in the city.
(h) Upon approval of the license application, a durable license tag, stamped with an identifying number and the year of issuance, shall be issued. Tags shall be designed so that they may be conveniently fastened or riveted to the animal's collar. In case a tag is lost or destroyed, a duplicate tag may be purchased upon presentation of proof showing the payment of the license fee for the current calendar year.
(i) Dogs and cats must wear license tags at all times in a conspicuous place on the collar when off the premises of the owner.
(j) The license tag shall be used only on the animal for which it was issued.
(k) The animal control section shall maintain records of serial numbers of licenses and license tags issued and the names and addresses of persons to whom they are issued.
(l) A license shall not be issued if the applicant has withheld or falsified any information on the application or if the applicant has been convicted of cruelty to an animal under any applicable law, or if the applicant has been found to have cruelly treated an animal under V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code § 821.021 et seq.
(m) This section shall not apply to pet shops.
(n) No refunds shall be made on any license fee.
(Code 1961, § 4-38)
Sec. 10-163. - License revocation.
(a) The city animal control officer may revoke any license issued to a person pursuant to section 10-162 for any one or more of the following reasons:
(1) The licensee withheld or falsified any information on the application.
(2) The licensee has been convicted of animal cruelty or the court under V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code § 821.021 et seq. has found that the licensee cruelly treated an animal.
(3) The licensee's cat or dog has been impounded by the animal control section more than three times during a 12-month period.
(4) The licensee's cat or dog has been determined to be a vicious animal or has on two or more occasions without provocation bitten or otherwise mauled or attacked any human being or animal.
(5) The licensee is not in compliance with V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code § 822.042.
(b) Written notification of the proposed revocation, hearing date and location shall be accomplished by depositing a certified letter, return receipt requested, in the United States mail and addressed to the last known address of the owner.
(c) The hearing shall be conducted no earlier than seven days following the date of certification by the United States Postal Service of the written notification to the owner.
(d) Any person whose license is revoked shall immediately after the decision divest himself of the animal. The revoked licensee shall determine whether he will award custody of the animal to the animal control section or remove the animal from within the city limits.
(e) No animal whose license is revoked may be kept within the city limits.
(f) Where a license is revoked, no fees shall be refunded.
(g) No person whose license has been revoked under this section may reapply for a period of one year after revocation.
(Code 1961, § 4-39)
State law reference— Dangerous dogs, V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code § 822.041 et seq.
Sec. 10-164. - Restraint; at large.
(a) Restraint; at large.
(1) The owner of a dog shall keep the dog under restraint at all times while in the public. However, no person shall stake a leashed dog so that it can go on any sidewalk or street, or enter property belonging to another, without the consent of the owner.
(2) The owner of a cat shall not permit the cat to enter property belonging to another, without the consent of the owner.
(b) Proper restraint.
(1) An owner of an animal commits an offense if he fails to restrain the animal at all times in a fenced yard, in an enclosed pen or structure, and by a tether or leash.
(2) Leashed dogs in enclosed pens shall not be restrained over a three-hour period during a 24-hour period.
(3) It is a defense to prosecution under subsection (b)(2) that the animal was a dog and was tethered for a reasonable period of time, not to exceed three hours in a 24-hour period, and no longer than necessary for the owner to complete a temporary task that required the dog to be restrained.
(Code 1961, § 4-40; Ord. No. 09-36, § 3, 5-5-2009)
Sec. 10-165. - Rabies vaccination.
(a) Any person owning, keeping, harboring, or having custody or control of a dog or cat four months of age or older, shall have such animal immunized against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Continuing vaccinations shall be no more than one year apart.
(b) Every owner of a dog or cat immunized against rabies shall procure a rabies vaccination certificate from the veterinarian administering the vaccine.
(Code 1961, § 4-42)
Sec. 10-166. - Guard dogs.
All dogs shall be registered with the director of community services or his designee prior to being used as guard dogs and thereafter re-registered annually during the month of January. The dog license tags for a guard dog issued under section 10-162 shall identify the animal as a guard dog and must be worn by the dog at all times. Premises guarded by a guard dog shall be marked on all sides with clearly visible signs in at least four-inch letters stating "GUARD DOG".(Code 1961, § 4-51; Ord. No. 00-60, § 2, 10-3-2000)
Secs. 10-167—10-200. - Reserved.
Family Bystander Mental Anguish Claims
Texas recognizes the right of bystanders to recover damages for mental anguish caused by witnessing an accident, with the following limitations: the bystander must be a parent or child of the victim and the victim must have been killed or severely injured in the animal attack or mauling. Therefore, if you have witnessed a close family member mauled or bitten by a dog, you may want to pursue legal action on behalf of the injury victim as well as your own claims for witnessing such a horrific event. Contact a Port Arthur dog bite lawyer today to discuss bystander and mental anguish claims.
Negligence Based on Failure to Stop an Attack
A Texas dog owner owes a duty to attempt to stop his dog from attacking a person after the attack has begun. This is a civil duty, meaning that the Port Arthur dog bite victim can sue for monetary damages if the dog owner does not attempt to stop the attack.
If you or a loved one have been bitten or mauled by a dangerous dog in Port Arthur or Jefferson County, TX, please contact one of the experienced Port Arthur dog bite injury lawyers listed on this page.
What Should You Do if You Have Been Bitten by a Dog?
- Make every attempt to keep the animal in sight, find its owner, and obtain the owner’s contact information, preferably verified by their photo ID.
- Immediately wash the wound out with soap and warm water.
- Make sure that you are up to date on your tetanus shots.
- Seek the help of a physician or visit a local hospital.
- Report the bite to the Port Arthur Planning and Development Services Department (contact information below).
- Seek the help of a Port Arthur dog bite attorney, if necessary, and maintain copies of all medical records and other relevant evidence.
For more information on dog bites and their victims, visit DogsBite.org
Dog Bite Reporting:
If you would like to report a Port Arthur area or Jefferson County dog bite or ask other questions pertaining to veterinary public health, do not hesitate to contact the Port Arthur Planning and Development Services Department office at:
A variety of animal training classes and services are offered by the Port Arthur SPCA. The Port Arthur SPCA may be reached at:
Contact one of the experienced Port Arthur dog bite lawyers above for a consultation regarding your claim.
Personal Injury Attorneys Serve Port Arthur and Surrounding Cities
Serving clients throughout Southeastern Texas, including Baytown, Beaumont, Bridge City, Central Gardens, East Jefferson, Galveston, Groves, La Porte, Liberty, Lumberton, Nederland, Orange, Orangefield, Port Neches, Sabine Pass, Sulphur, Texas City, Vidor and other communities in Jefferson County.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, please contact one of the experienced Jefferson County dog bite lawyers listed on this page.