I’ve heard a lot of people say that “the first dog bite is free” meaning that there is no liability for a dog owner the first time that a dog bites someone. This saying simply isn’t true. After a dog has bitten someone in the past the owner of the dog is clearly on notice that the dog has a propensity to bite and the owner will have a harder time arguing that they were unaware of the dog’s aggressive tendencies but that still does not equate to a dog owner getting a pass the first time that a dog nails someone. The fact that a dog has not bitten in the past does not mean that there is not other good evidence which places the owner on notice that their dog will bite. Evidence that a dog is extremely territorial might indicate that a dog would attack. A dog that is unfriendly toward strangers might reasonably be expected to bite.
Regardless of what the dog nuts like to claim certain breeds are also just more likely to be aggressive and bite. Historically, Rottweilers, Pit Bulldogs and Doberman Pinchers are all more likely to attack. Centuries of breeding these dogs for security purposes and fighting have been successful. Sure, there are individuals in these breeds that are big sleepy lapdogs but as a group their breeding causes them to be more likely to go on the offensive and hurt someone. Certain individual dogs are also aggressive because of their training. Most dog trainers will agree that the way a dog is raised and trained has a big impact on the dog’s behavior. A dog that is trained to be a watchdog and to become aggressive when strangers approach can be counted on to bite, regardless of whether it has bitten in the past.
The first bite is not free in Texas. The fact that a dog has not bitten in the past is nothing but one fact to be considered when determining whether the owner knew or should have known that the dog would bite.
For more information contact a Tyler Dog Bite Lawyer today.