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Dog BitesSteps to Take After a Dog Bite in Houston – A Quick Guide

November 2, 2023by Crystal Henry

Dog bite incidents can be traumatic experiences, leaving victims in pain and confusion. In Houston, the prevalence of dog bites has been a growing concern, with the city’s data showing nearly 2,560 dog bites each year since 2018. While the statistics might be alarming, knowing the right steps to take after a dog bite incident can make a significant difference in a victim’s recovery and legal recourse.

Understanding the Scope of the Problem

From October 2022 to May 2023, several incidents involving dogs required a response from BARC (the City of Houston’s municipal animal shelter) on various streets. These incidents include cases that involved dog bites on humans, and they underscore the pressing need for proactive measures to address this issue.

  • Braeswood Boulevard: Six incidents in this short timeframe required attention from BARC.
  • Cheena Drive: A total of 11 incidents were reported.
  • Creekbend Drive: The numbers are even higher here, with 13 incidents reported.

The numbers are concerning, and they reflect the broader trends of dog bite incidents in Houston.

The Growing Concern

From 2021 to 2022, stray dog pick-ups in Houston jumped nearly 30%. This increase indicates the rising population of stray and potentially unvaccinated dogs roaming the streets, adding to the risk of dog bite incidents.

Houston’s position in the U.S. Postal Service’s annual report on dog attacks is another concerning statistic. From 2017 to 2020, Houston was ranked as the city with the highest number of reported dog bites. Although it temporarily dropped to the second position in 2021, it reclaimed the top spot in 2022, with 57 reported dog bites. These statistics highlight the urgency of addressing the issue of dog bites in the city.

The Importance of Immediate Action

In a city as populous as Houston, where as of July 1, 2022, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated a population of 2,302,878, it’s crucial for residents to know what steps to take if they or someone they know falls victim to a dog bite.

Step 1: Seek Immediate Medical Attention

Medical care should be the first priority. Dog bites can result in a range of injuries, from puncture wounds to lacerations. The risk of infection is significant, with studies indicating that up to 18% of dog bite wounds become infected. Seeking immediate medical care is essential to address wounds and mitigate infection risks.

Step 2: Report the Incident

Local authorities must be notified of the incident. Reporting the incident is essential in creating a documented record and helps prevent future dog attacks. The Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care (BARC) should be contacted at 713-229-7300. Reporting the incident also provides an opportunity to address concerns about the dog’s behavior or the dog’s owner, especially if the owner is unknown.

Step 3: Gather Information and Document the Incident

Gathering information about the incident is crucial, especially if legal action becomes necessary. Victims should collect details such as the dog’s breed, its behavior during the incident, and the owner’s contact information. Document the scene and the injuries with photographs. Seek out witnesses who can provide statements supporting the victim’s account of the events leading up to the dog bite.

Step 4: Contact a Legal Professional

Legal action may be required to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress. The impact of a dog bite can be far-reaching, both physically and emotionally. In such cases, contacting a Houston dog bite lawyer is advisable. Law firms and attorneys specializing in personal injury cases, including dog bites, can assist victims in understanding their legal options and pursuing claims against the dog’s owner.

Step 5: Follow-Up Care and Documentation

The risk of infection following a dog bite is significant, so following up with medical care is vital. Victims should strictly adhere to their healthcare provider’s recommendations regarding wound care, antibiotic use, and any necessary vaccinations. Continuing to document the victim’s progress and any complications that may arise is crucial for assessing the overall impact of the dog bite on their health.

Final Thoughts

While the prevalence of dog bites in Houston is concerning, knowledge and prompt action can make a substantial difference in a victim’s recovery and potential legal recourse. By following these steps, dog bite victims can ensure they receive the necessary support, medical care, and compensation they deserve. It’s also a step toward creating a safer environment for all Houston residents.

*Please note that the statistics and information provided in this article highlight the importance of taking the right steps after a dog bite incident, but individuals should always consult local authorities, healthcare professionals, and legal experts for personalized guidance based on their specific situation.*

Related: Houston Area Animal Control Phone Numbers: Quick Reference

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do immediately after a dog bite in Houston?

After a dog bite incident, the first and most crucial step is to seek immediate medical attention. This is essential to prevent infections, ensure proper wound care, and evaluate the severity of your injuries.

When should I contact a legal professional after a dog bite in Houston?

If you’ve suffered a dog bite, it’s advisable to contact a legal professional as soon as possible. Given the potential medical costs and long-term impact, legal guidance can be crucial for pursuing compensation. Houston has law firms and attorneys specializing in personal injury cases, including dog bites.

What legal recourse do I have as a dog bite victim in Houston?

Dog bite victims in Houston have legal recourse to pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. This typically involves filing a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner or custodian. Legal professionals specializing in personal injury cases can guide victims through this process.

Is it necessary to contact a legal professional if my dog bite injuries seem minor?

Regardless of the perceived severity of the injuries, it’s advisable to consult a legal professional after a dog bite incident. Even seemingly minor injuries can lead to complications, and a legal expert can assess your case and provide guidance on the best course of action.

Can I handle the legal process myself after a dog bite in Houston?

While it’s possible to handle the legal process on your own, it’s highly recommended to consult a legal professional experienced in personal injury cases. They can provide the expertise needed to navigate Texas dog bite laws and help you secure fair compensation.

Is there a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim after a dog bite in Houston?

Yes, there is a statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including dog bites, in Houston. Typically, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the injury. It’s important to consult a legal professional promptly to ensure your claim falls within this timeframe.

Seeking Legal Guidance After a Dog Bite Incident? We’re Here to Assist You!

Dog bites can lead to unexpected hardships, but you don’t have to face them alone. If you’ve suffered a dog bite injury, seeking expert legal representation is essential. Crystal Henry, a dedicated personal injury attorney, is here to offer guidance and support in your time of need. We understand the challenges these incidents pose and can assist you in navigating the legal complexities effectively.

Crystal Henry Personal Injury and Accident Lawyer
3730 Kirby Dr #901, Houston, TX 77098, United States

Must Read: Houston Dog Parks and Bite Risk: A Legal Perspective

About the Author

Crystal Henry, a highly respected and compassionate personal injury lawyer based in Houston, is a force to be reckoned with in the legal field. With years of experience and a genuine passion for helping others, Crystal has become a trusted advocate for her clients. Her journey in law began with a strong desire to make a positive impact on people’s lives during their most challenging times.