In 2005, Lillian Stiles, a 76-year-old woman, was riding a lawnmower in
her front yard when a pack of 6 Rottweiler mixed-breed dogs attacked and
killed her. Her husband Jack was inside watching a football game and was
unaware that anything had occurred until a passerby knocked on the door.
Jack ran outside to find his wife already lying dead in the lawn.
Two years later, Jose Hernandez, the owner of the dogs, was found
not guilty of negligent homicide.
Lilian’s Law: Holding Dog Owners Responsible
In memory of Lillian and other victims of dog attacks, the Texas Legislature
passed Lillian’s Law in 2007. Under the law, a dog owner is charged
with a third degree felony if his or her dog causes serious bodily injury
to a victim in an unprovoked attack. The crime would be punishable by
two to ten years in prison and potentially a $10,000 fine. If the victim
dies as a result of the attack, however, the owner is charged with a second-degree
felony and can spend up to 20 years in prison.
Lilian’s Law: Fails to Address Major Loop Holes
The law has been criticized, however, for failing to address some glaring
dog bite issues. Texas still abides by the” one bite rule,” which essentially
says that a dog owner is not accountable for an attack unless:
- The dog was known to be dangerous
- The accident was caused by negligence
- The attack occurred while the owner was violating some other law (such
as a leash law)
Today, conviction is still not possible if the dog owner had no reason
to think the dog was dangerous. Jose Hernandez, for instance, convinced
a jury that he had no idea that his 6 Rottweiler mixes posed a threat
to human safety.
In addition, Lillian’s Law only applies to dogs running loose. So
if you were a victim of a
dog bite while visiting your neighbor, that neighbor still can’t be held
Contact The Kyle Law Firm Today
If you’ve been attacked by a dog and seriously injured you need experienced
legal counsel. The Kyle Law Firm is here to protect your rights and recover
the damages you deserve.
contact our New Braunfels dog bite lawyer today.