• June 30, 2022

Rebecca Hatcher Critically Injured in Dog Attack on Pine Bark Ln in Magnolia, TX

UPDATE (July 26, 2022): Later reports indicate that the dogs' owner Mitchell Weemes was murdered on July 15 in a dispute at a Magnolia convenience store. The nature of the altercation is unknown.

Magnolia, TX — June 20, 2022, local resident Rebecca Hatcher was attacked and severely injured by dogs on Pine Bark Lane in Magnolia.

According to reports the incident happened around 10:30 p.m. on the 37000 block of Pine Bark in the Hazy Hollow subdivision. Preliminary investigation suggests Hatcher was walking near her home in the area when she was attacked by three pit bulls that seriously injured her and dragged her into a ditch. The dogs ran away as local residents reached the scene after hearing Hatcher scream.

Hatcher was rushed to an area hospital in critical condition and underwent multiple surgeries.

Animal control later located the dogs and took them into custody. A county judge ordered them destroyed.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Rebecca Hatcher Dog Attack in Magnolia

This incident was clearly serious enough that authorities seized the animals and a judge ordered them put down--steps not always taken after dog attacks. The savagery of the attack does make it seem like such consequences were warranted, sad as it always is to put an animal down.

However, there could be other factors to consider as well. Even if the dog is no longer able to hurt anyone, that does little to help the critically-injured victim heal from the damage done. Would the dog's owner be responsible for her injuries? According to Texas legal precedent, that depends.

Rebecca Hatcher Critically Injured in Dog Attack on Pine Bark Ln in Magnolia, TX

The Lone Star State and many others use the One Bite Rule. While not a formal statute, this general precedent says dog owners aren't typically liable for the damage done the first time their animal attacks someone based on the idea they couldn't have known it was coming. Animals can be pretty unpredictable, so a sudden attack isn't always reasonably preventable.

After the first incident, however, the risk becomes clear. The dogs' owners must then take precautions to make sure no future attacks occur. That could mean building fences high enough and strong enough to keep the animals penned, keeping them leashed, or otherwise ensuring they aren't free to roam around a neighborhood doing damage.

If the owner takes no action or what they do isn't enough, then they may be liable for any further damage their dogs do. It's not clear if the pit bulls in this situation had attacked anyone before, but that's important information to know when finding ways to help the victim. I hope suitable steps are being taken to learn all the facts of this terrible incident, and in the meantime my heart goes out to the victim and her family.

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