Man Killed in Dog Attack on Sheraton Oaks Drive in Houston, TX
Houston, TX — February 1, 2023, a Houston man died in a dog attack while trying to protect his own dog in the Greater Inwood area of Houston.
Authorities say the incident happened shortly before 4:00 p.m. at a home on the 5500 block of Sheraton Oaks Drive. Preliminary investigation suggests the 69-year-old man was in the house when he heard a neighbor's dogs attacking his pet outside. He went outside to break up the fight and one of the two attacking dogs reportedly mauled him, causing critical injuries.
Responding authorities pronounced the victim dead at the scene; officers were reportedly forced to shoot one of the attacking dogs that turned its attention to them.
The investigation is ongoing. No further information is currently available.
Reports are unclear as to whether the owner of the attacking dogs might be charged for their animals' fatal behavior. I can't and won't speak for the victim's family, but I think in their place I'd want to ensure someone was held responsible. If authorities don't charge the owner, is that the final say on the matter?
Not necessarily. If the justice system doesn't see the need for charges, there may still be other ways to hold them accountable—like civil action. Generally speaking Texas uses the One Bite Rule, which says owners aren't typically liable the first time their dogs hurt someone.
If the owner can prove they had no idea what would happen and there's no history of the dogs being violent, that person may not be accountable; if it's not the first incident, however, the law considers any further attacks both foreseeable and preventable. At that point the owner should have taken action to ensure their dogs couldn't hurt anyone, and is responsible if they do.
It's not clear if there was any history of prior attacks by the dogs on Sheraton Oaks, but knowing the whole story is always important. For the sake of that man's family I hope suitable steps are being taken to get all the facts.