Many Texas dog owners like to let their dogs go unleashed. While your furry friend might enjoy this freedom, this choice can occasionally leave the owner facing fines and sometimes even losing their dog. 

So before you let your dog go unleashed, take the time to learn the Lone Star State’s position on leash laws. And if an unleashed dog has harmed you, you should know what Texas state law has to say about who should pay for the damage.

Understanding Texas Leash Laws

Some states choose to place state-wide restrictions on dog owners, but many states don’t. But regardless of whether a state has a leash law, most cities usually set their own ordinances that dictate when and where a dog owner is required to keep their dogs restrained. 

Texas is one of many states that doesn’t have a state-wide leash law. However, nearly every Texas municipality has dog leash laws (also known as running-at-large laws). 

Most Texas cities require dogs to be leashed at all times. For example, Houston’s running-at-large law states that dog owners must maintain physical control over a dog unless it’s confined to an area where it can’t access a street or sidewalk. 

Generally speaking, Texas dog owners must keep their dogs leashed unless they’re on fenced-in private property.

Consequences For Breaking Leash Laws in Texas

A Texas leash law violation isn’t typically a criminal offense. However, it can still come with some serious consequences. 

Breaking Texas leash laws typically becomes a problem when the dog causes harm to someone. If an unleashed dog bites or attacks someone, it can be legally deemed a “dangerous dog.”

The one exception to identifying a dog as dangerous is if the attack was provoked. The law allows for more leniency if the dog is being harmed, abused, or protecting its puppies or food.

If someone is injured and files an unleashed dog complaint, the city will likely conduct an investigation. In some cases, the dog owner will be given orders for how to maintain the dog, such as having a “dangerous dog” tag attached to the collar at all times. The owner may also be fined — for example, Houston’s dangerous dog fines can range from $500 to $2,000. 

In the most unfortunate cases, an investigation can even result in an order to surrender the dog to be euthanized. 

Suing Over a Dog Bite in Houston, TX

Finally, the person injured by a dog can also sue the owner in civil court. If this happens, there’s a good chance that the owner will be found legally responsible for paying for the damage. Dog bite injury compensation can be costly, especially if the injuries are serious. 

The responsible dog owner may be expected to pay compensation to cover various losses, including: 

Ultimately, allowing a dog to go unleashed in Texas can have financially ruinous consequences — not to mention the chance of the city seizing the dog and possibly euthanizing it.

Leash laws exist to help keep people safe. When an unleashed dog hurts someone, the law is usually on the victim’s side, holding owners responsible for their pet’s actions.

If an unleashed dog has bitten you, a Houston dog bite lawyer can help you recover compensation. Before paying the price for a dog owner’s negligence, consult a lawyer and learn more about your options for recovering the compensation you deserve.

Contact the Houston Personal Injury Lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help

For more information, contact the Houston personal injury law firm of Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers by calling (713) 500-5000.

Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers
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Houston, TX 77098
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