Tyler Dog Bite Lawyer | Tyler Dog Mauling Lawsuit | Tyler Dog Attack Attorney

Smith County Dog Bite Accident Attorney

Dangerous Dog Facts:

  1. An estimated 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year;
  2. Approximately 334,000 people are admitted to US emergency rooms annually with dog bite-associated injuries, and another 466,000 are seen in other medical settings;
  3. An unknown number of other people who have been bitten do not sustain injuries deemed serious enough to require medical attention;
  4. Almost half of all persons bitten are children younger than 12 years old; and
  5. People more than 70 years old comprise 10% of those bitten and 20% of those killed.

According to Zoonosis Control Division of the Texas Department of Health, domesticated dogs comprise most the dog bites in any given year. Even more shocking, Texas was the leader in dog bite fatalities in 2007, with seven fatalities stemming from dog bites that year alone. There is a regional Zoonosis office in Tyler located at Texas Department of State Health Services, Zoonosis Control, 1517 West Front Street, Tyler, TX 75702 - (903) 533-5243 for all of your needs and questions.

Responsible Dog Ownership in Tyler Definitely Can Reduce Tyler Dog Bites

As so many things in life, dog bites can be reduced by what happens in the home. A dog is not always the one to blame in the instance of a dog attack or dog bite injury.  Many owners use their dogs for illegal dog fights and these dogs are victimized every bit as much as the victims of their attacks, and they too are often severely injured or even killed in dog fighting rings as they fight for their lives.  Negligent and abusive dog owners should be held liable for their actions.  A decision to be a responsible dog is a personal decision and one that requires responsibility. There are many places in and around Tyler, Texas to have your dog trained for obedience. Dog owners are also able to take their dog to an area designated for dogs to play.  Dog parks are there so that the owner can take their dog to an area where they can run around and play in an fenced-in and safe place.  Dog parks are a responsible place to take your pet to ensure that when they are running off their leash that they will not run away from you and/or cause harm to a person or another animal.  Some Dog Training Facilities and Dog Park locations in the General Tyler Area include:

Dog Training in and around Tyler, Texas:
5610 South Broadway Avenue
Tyler, TX 75703‎
(903) 534-5261
Circle Star Pet Resort and Training
Farm to Market Road 2339
Murchison, TX 75778
(903) 469-4320
Petco Animal Supplies
405 W Loop 281
Longview, TX 75605‎
(903) 663-9442

Fetch'em Up Kennels
1813 Lime Tree Lane
Gilmer, TX 75645‎
(903) 261-2184

Dog Parks in Tyler, Texas:
Bed, Bath n' Bonz
20110 Us Highway 69 S
Tyler, TX 75703
(903) 894-9333
KE Bushman's Camp
Us Highway 69 N
Bullard, TX 75757
(903) 894-8221

Dogs should be trained and any sense of aggressive behavior exhibited by a dog should be immediately attended to by the pet owner in order to avoid a future incident.  What it boils down to is that if you or a loved one have been bitten, attacked, maimed, or killed by a dog or other animal, you should be entitled to some degree of compensation from the animal’s owner or handler. Contact one of the experienced Tyler dog bite lawyers above for a consultation regarding your claim.

Texas’s “One Bite” Rule & Dog Bite Claims Based on Negligence

Texas follows the arcane “one bite rule.” This means that a pet owner is liable when:

  • the owner knew that the dog had bitten someone before or had a “dangerous propensity” for biting;
  • the bite was caused by the negligence of the person handling the dog;
  • the bite was caused by a violation of a leash law, prohibition against dogs trespassing or running at large, or a similar animal control law; or,
  • the bite injury was caused intentionally by the owner or person handling the dog.

An animal attack, mauling, or serious dog bite can be devastating, especially when a child is injured. Contact a Tyler dog bite lawyer today to discuss your case.When it cannot be proved that the dog’s owner or handler knew of the dog’s propensity to bite, negligence can form the basis of a claim. An example of a negligence-based claim could occur when the owner of a dog whose breed is notorious for its violent propensities — such as a pit bull, Rottweiler, or German Shepherd — allows their dog to run loose in a children’s park or other public area without supervision. The dog’s owner will be held liable based on negligence if the dog bites a child in the park.

However, a person does not have to be the dog’s owner to be held liable for a bite victim’s injuries. A child bitten at a day care facility for dogs could, through the child’s parents, make a claim against the pet care center, even though the dog was owned by a third party who was absent at the time of the bite. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite, you should contact a Tyler dog bite attorney to pursue your personal injury claims. Even if the dog has no prior history of aggression and has never bitten anyone before, Texas’s “one bite rule” may allow a Tyler dog bite injury lawyer to fight your claim successfully, and you deserve compensation for your injuries.

Tyler Negligence Per Se Dog Bite Lawyer

When a statute or ordinance is violated and the violation leads to an injury, this is called negligence per se.

Negligence per se is frequently found in cases of dog bites, dog maulings, and dog attacks, often resulting from a violation of:

  1. leash laws;
  2. dog trespass laws; or,
  3. no “free-run” laws.

Usually, these types of dog control laws and ordinances are only found in large Texas cities; however, Tyler has an ordinance requiring that dogs be "restrained" at all times. Furthermore, Tyler requires that all dogs over four months of age be licensed with the city officials. If you or a loved one has been bitten or mauled by a dog running loose in violation of the law of Tyler or Smith County, you should contact a local Tyler dog bite attorney immediately.

Lillian’s Law (H.B. 1355)

The so-called “Lillian Stiles Law,” sponsored by Senator Eliot Shapleigh and passed in 2007, increases the jail time for owners who fail to secure their dogs in a reasonable manner, resulting in serious bodily injury or death to another. Under the law, a dog owner will be charged with a third-degree felony if their dog causes serious bodily injury to a victim during an unprovoked attack. A third-degree felony is punishable by 2-10 years of prison time as well as a potential fine of up to $10,000. If the victim dies from an unprovoked dog attack, H.B. 1355 would impose a charge of second-degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Click here for more information on the passage of Lillian’s Law,

Texas still allows a dog to be chained up, which is not only bad policy, but also dangerous to children and others who are routinely attacked by dogs that have been chained. Lillian’s law helps protect Tyler residents from dogs that attack when not reasonably secured and allows Tyler dog bite lawyers to sue the dog owners despite lack of previous history of aggression or any provocation from the injury victim. Call a Tyler dog bite lawyer today.

Some of Texas' Laws on Dog Bites

Some of the laws are found in the Texas Health & Safety Code, Title 10, Chapter 822 Regulation of Animals:

Smith County Dangerous Dog Laws


A. “Dog” means any member of the canine family.
B. “Animal” means any mammal, domesticated or wild. (Tex. Admin. Code Title 25, Part I, Ch. 169.22)
C. “Animal Control Authority,” hereinafter Sheriff, means any peace officer of the State of Texas, officer of the Northeast Texas Public Health District (hereinafter “NETPHD”), animal control officer, or other entity that the Commissioners Court considers appropriate. Among other duties, the Sheriff shall enforce the provisions of this ordinance by issuing citations when deemed appropriate, and shall impound animals when appropriate.
D. “Owner” means a person, or persons, who harbor, shelter, keep, manage, possess, or has any interest in any dog.
E. “Dangerous dog” means any dog that

(I) makes an unprovoked attack on a person that causes bodily injury and occurs in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and such enclosure was reasonably certain to the ordinary person to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own; or
2) commits unprovoked acts in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and such enclosure was reasonably certain to the ordinary person to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own, and those acts cause a person to reasonably believe that the dog will attack and cause bodily injury to that person.

F. “Neighborhood” means:

(1) any subdivision as defined in Texas Local Government code Section 232.021 on which the filing of a plat is required under Chapter 232 of the Texas Local Government Code, regardless of whether a plat is actually filed or not; or

(2) any area specifically designated by Commissioners Court by Ordinance for inclusion in this ordinance. Such area should be included as a neighborhood under this ordinance when two or more of the property owners and residents of the proposed area request the area to be included in this ordinance, and after public hearing and approval by the Commissioners Court.

(3) an area included within the definition of a “neighborhood” may choose to “opt out” of this ordinance by petitioning Commissioners Court subject to public input and approval by the Commissioners Court.

G.“Secure” means a restraint or enclosure that is reasonably designed to confine a dog, taking into account the size, strength, agility, age, and history of’ the dog.
H.“Vaccinated” means properly injected with a rabies vaccine licensed for use in that species by the United States Department of Agriculture and administered by a veterinarian licensed to practice in the State of Texas.


1.Animal control officers are those officers specifically hired to enforce this ordinance. The sole responsibility of an animal control officer is to enforce this ordinance.
2. Animal control officers shall wear distinctive uniforms as required by the SheriWs office.
3.Animal control officers shall drive a marked vehicle which has red and blue light bars on top.
4. Animal control officers must either be certified animal control officers when they are hired, or shall become certified animal control officers within 12 months of their date of hire.
5. It is discretionary with the Sheriff whether to conduct patrols in the enforcement of the ordinance. In general, the enforcement of the ordinance will be complaint driven.
6.The Sheriff should respond to complaints regarding dogs that fall under this ordinance. It is discretionary with the Sheriff whether to respond to calls under this ordinance that do not pertain to dogs.
7.The order of response, if any, to calls under the ordinance, is discretionary with the Sheriff. With respect to animal control officers, final approval of decisions pertaining to response to calls should be made by the Sheriff.
8.All provisions of this ordinance shall be enforced by the Sheriff in the exercise of his or her discretion, with final approval of any decisions by an animal control officer to be made by the Sheriff.
9.All issues not specifically addressed in this ordinance andlor these guidelines are discretionary with the Sheriff, in compliance with all applicable laws, with final approval of any decisions by an animal control officer to be made by the Sheriff.


A. Vaccinations: Every owner of a dog four (4) months of age or older shall have such dog(s) vaccinated against rabies, and shall vaccinate each dog annually thereafter. Any person moving into Smith County from a location outside of Smith County shall comply with this ordinance within (30) days after having moved into Smith County. If a dog has inflicted a bite on any person, then the owner of such dog shall report the bite to the NETPHD, and no rabies vaccine shall be administered until after a ten-day observation period. (Tex. Admin. Code Title 25, Part I, Ch. 169.25)
B. Certificate of Vaccination: Upon Vaccination, a veterinarian shall execute and furnish to the owner of a dog as evidence of vaccination, a certificate upon a form furnished by the veterinarian. The veterinarian shall retain a duplicate copy of such certificate. Such certificate shall contain the following information (Tex. Admin. Code Title 25, Part 1, Ch. 169.29):

(1) The name, address and telephone number of the owner of the vaccinated dog;
(2) The date of the vaccination;
(3) The type of rabies vaccine used, including producer, serial number, and expiration date;
(4) The year and number of rabies tag issued;
(5) The predominate breed, approximate age, color, size, and sex including neutering of the vaccinated dog; and
(6) The signature of the Veterinarian.

C. Rabies Tags: Concurrent with the issuance and delivery of the certificate of vaccination referred to in section 111(B), a veterinarian shall issue a metal tag serially numbered to correspond with the vaccination certificate number, and bearing the year of issuance and the name of the issuing veterinarian and the veterinarian’s address. The owner shall cause a collar or harness with the attached metal vaccination tag to be worn by the vaccinated dog atall times.
D. Duplicate Tags: In the event of loss or destruction of the original tag provided in section II, C, the owner of a dog shall obtain a duplicate tag. Vaccination certificates and tags shall be valid only for the dog for which it was originally issued.
E. Furnishing Proof of Vaccination: It shall be a violation of this ordinance for any person who owns or harbors a vaccinated dog to fail or refuse to exhibit his or her copy of the certificate of vaccination upon demand to any person charged to enforce this ordinance.
F. Harboring an Unvaccinated Dog: It shall be a violation of this ordinance for any person to harbor any dog that has not been vaccinated against rabies, as provided herein, or that cannot be identified as having a current vaccination certificate.
G. Animals Exposed to Rabies: Any person having knowledge of the existence of any animal known to have been, or suspected of being exposed to rabies must immediately report such knowledge to the NETPHD, giving any information that may be required. For any animal known to have been, or suspected of being exposed to rabies, the following rules must apply. (Tex.Admin. Code Title 25, Part 1, Ch. 169.30)

(1) Animals having a current vaccination must be revaccinated immediately and confined according to the method prescribed by the NETPHD for a period of not more than forty-five (45) days at a facility approved by the NETPHD.
(2) Animals not having a current vaccination should be humanely destroyed. However, if the owner of such an animal elects, he or she may, at the owners own expense and in a manner prescribed by the NETPHD, confine said animal. Such animal must be vaccinated immediately following exposure and isolated (as determined and approved by the NETPHD) for not less than three (3) months. A revaccination shall be done at the third and eighth weeks of isolation.
(3) Each day an owner of an animal described in section III, G, (1) and (2) above fails to abide by those sections constitutes a separate offense.

H. Any person having knowledge of an animal bite to a human shall report the incident to the NETPHD as soon as possible, but no later than twenty-four (24) hours from the time of the incident.

(1) The owner of the biting animal shall place that animal in quarantine (as required under state law) in a facility acceptable to the NETPHD.(Tex. Admin. Code Title 25, Part I, Ch. 169.27)
(2) Bites from rabbits and rodents are excluded from these reporting requirements.
(3) If a licensed veterinarian determines that the animal does not show clinical signs of rabies, the animal may be reclaimed by its owner upon satisfying the applicable vaccination requirements as determined and approved by the NETPHD, and upon payment of any costs or fees if applicable.

I. The Sheriff, animal control officer, and/or Sheriffs deputy will report any exposure to rabies or animal bite to a human to the NETPHD.
J. Sheriff office, animal control officers, NETPHD, and any other applicable peace officer will work in conjunction to enforce the ordinance, including, but not limited to, quarantine violations and quarantine enforcement.


A. It is prohibited and shall be unlawful for any person to willfully abandon any animal, or to withhold food or water from any animal such that its health is endangered, or to cause an animal to suffer unduly.
B. Abandoned or neglected animals shall be handled in cooperation with the Sheriffs Department on a case-by-case basis, at the discretion of the Sheriff.


A. Each dog found to be in a neighborhood must be restrained by its owner, regardless of whether the dog or the owner reside in the neighborhood and regardless of the owner’s knowledge or mental state. A dog shall be considered “restrained” if:

(1) The dog remains on the premises of its owner;
(2) The dog is under the control of a person by means of a leash or is at heel under the verbal command of its owner.
(3) The dog is secure within its owner’s vehicle.

B. Notwithstanding the above, a dangerous dog or a dog that is a danger to other animals must be restrained at all times by a secure leash or in a secure enclosure.
C. Each unrestrained dog may be detained or impounded by the Sheriff. At his option, the Sheriff may elect to issue a citation to a person who violates Section V. of this ordinance without detaining or impounding the dog if the Sheriff deems the public health safety and welfare is no longer in eminentdanger.
D. A person commits an offense if the person fails or refuses to restrain a dog owned by the person that is required to be restrained under this ordinance. An offense under this section is a Class C Misdemeanor.


A. The owner of a dog that is accustomed to run, worry, or kill livestock or domesticated animals may not permit the dog to run at large. This provision applies regardless of the owner’s knowledge or mental state.
B. A person who violates this section commits an offense punishable by a fine.
C. Each time a dog runs at large in violation of this section constitutes a separate offense.


A. The Sheriff is authorized to detain or impound:

(1) Any dog that is required to be restrained and is not restrained;
(2) Any dog that has bitten or scratched a person, or is reasonably suspected to be rabid, or is kept under conditions that could endanger the public health or health of any animal;
(3) Any dog that is a danger to animals; or
(4) Any dog not exhibiting evidence of being vaccinated.

B. When a dog is impounded, the Sheriff authorized by the Commissioners Court shall collect the fees as approved by ordinance of the Commissioners Court, from the owner before the dog may be released to the owner,
C. If any dog is found upon the premises of any person, the owner or occupant of the premises shall have the right to confine such dog in a humane manner until he or she can notify the Sheriff to retrieve the dog for impoundment, provided, however, that they notify the Sheriff as soon as possible of such confinement.
D. Reasonable efforts shall be made by the Sheriff to contact the owner of any dog impounded that is wearing a current rabies vaccination tag, however, final responsibility for location of an impounded dog is that of the owner.
E. The owner may reclaim possession of any impounded dog, except a dog under quarantine or observation under this ordinance, upon payment of impoundment fees and any veterinarian bills incurred by the Sheriff for the welfare of the dog, and upon compliance with the vaccination provisions of this ordinance.
F. Commissioners Court shall select and establish a place for impounding dogs under the provisions of this ordinance.
G. Any dog not reclaimed by the owner, if any, may be humanely euthanized after being impounded for three (3) working days, except that any dog wearing a current rabies tag may be impounded for six (6) days before the dog is euthanized. Any dog not reclaimed after the three (3) or six (6) day period described in this paragraph may be provided for adoption except those dogs in quarantine, or under observation.
H. An owner who no longer wishes to have responsibility for a dog, or believes the dog to be ill or in an injured condition may sign a written waiver supplied by the Sheriff allowing the dog to be immediately euthanized in a humane manner, providing that no dog that has bitten a human being shall be euthanized before the expiration of the ten (10) day quarantine period. The owner shall pay all such related costs of a quarantine and br euthanization.
I. Any vicious or wild animal, unless there is reason to believe it has an owner, may be immediately disposed of as may be deemed appropriate by the Sheriff.
J. The Sheriff may elect to issue a citation to an owner of a dog that is in violation of this ordinance, in addition to, or in lieu of, impoundment.
K. All dogs picked up by the Sheriff under the impoundment provisions of the ordinance will be taken to a designated location in the County.
L. If a dog picked up by the Sheriff has tags identifying its owner, the Sheriff will attempt to contact the owner. Upon impoundment, another attempt will
be made to contact the owner.


1. Sheriff may impound for treatment of an injured or ill dog.


1. Dogs may be euthanized by a licensed veterinarian or by the personnel of a recognized animal shelter or humane society who are trained in the humane destruction of animals.


1. In addition to the provisions set forth in the “Euthanasia” section above, the Sheriff may humanely destroy an animal posing an imminent threat of danger to a person under a circumstance of emergency.


1. If there is an identifiable owner of the dog, then the owner must pay all applicable fines, fees and/or costs associated with the enforcement of the ordinance.
2. If no identifiable owner exists, then the County may pay any applicable costs or fees associated with the enforcement of the ordinance, at its discretion. If, at a later time, an owner is identified, the County may seek reimbursement andlor collection of any applicable fees, costs and fines from said owner.

City of Tyler Dangerous dog Laws

Sec. 14-1. Definitions.

Animal means any warm-blooded vertebrate creature, domestic or wild, excluding the human species.

Astray or Stray means any animal running free or otherwise without physical or other restraint whether on or off the premises of its owner.

Cat means any domesticated member of the family felis catus.

Director means the Director of the Smith County Public Health District (SCPHD) or authorized designee.

Dog means a domesticated member of the family canidae but shall not include a wolf, jackal, fox, or other wild animal of this family.

Fowl means any heavy bodied, terrestrial bird of the order Galliformes, including but not limited to chickens, ducks, geese, pheasants, turkeys, grouse, guineas, or other common domestic fowl, but not including caged pet birds kept inside a building and otherwise not a bird defined as fowl herein.

Livestock means any horse, swine, cattle, sheep, goat, mule, jack, jenny, emu, ostrich or rhea.

Owner means any person, corporation, partnership, trust, or association or other entity owning, keeping, or harboring an animal or who has possession or control or has the responsibility to control an animal.

Person means any individual, corporation, partnership, trust, association or other legal entity.

Quarantine means strict confinement under restraint by closed cage or paddock or on the premises of the owner in any other manner approved by the Local Rabies Control Authority or designee or at a facility approved by the Local Rabies Control Authority or designee.

Reptile means any cold-blooded vertebrate of the class reptila, such as lizards, snakes, etc.; of particular concern are those that are poisonous, constrictors, and/or carnivores.

Restraint, except as otherwise provided, an animal shall be deemed to be restrained when it is:

1. Confined on the premises of the owner within a fence or enclosure; or

2. Fastened or picketed by a lead, rope, or chain so as to keep the animal on the premises of the owner; or

3. Under the control of a person by means of a harness, leash, chain, or similar device attended by a person of sufficient strength to prevent the animal from running at large; or

4. On or within a vehicle being driven or parked if the owner is present to control the animal from jumping or falling out; or

5. At heel beside or otherwise controlled and obedient to a person competent to restrain the animal by command;

Rabies means an acute viral disease of human and animal affecting the central nervous system usually transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal and/or including the condition commonly known as rabies.
(Ord. No. O-96-13, 2-21-96)

Sec. 14-2. Local Rabies Control Authority designated; duties.

a. The Director has designated the SCPHD Health Authority as the Local Rabies Control Authority pursuant to state law.

b. The duties of the Director and the Local Rabies Control Authority shall include but are not limited to:

1. Enforcement of all ordinances and/or rules of the City pertaining to rabies and animal control;

2. Enforcement of the provisions of state law and administrative rules of the Texas Board of Health pertaining to rabies and animal control.

c. The Director may employ such Animal Control Officers or inspectors as are necessary and feasible to carry out the purposes of this chapter. (Ord. No. O-96-13, 2-21-96)

Sec. 14-3. Designation, operation of animal shelter.

a. The City Council shall select and establish, by contract or otherwise, facilities for impoundment, maintenance, shelter and destruction of stray, diseased, injured, or vicious animals.

b. The Director shall insure that any facility so selected or designated by the City Council shall, at all times, comply with Federal, State, City or U. S. Humane Society standards and regulations.

c. Any such facility shall require proof of rabies vaccination prior to the release of any dog or cat. In the absence of a current rabies vaccination, the shelter facility shall:

1. Require vaccination on the shelter premises prior to release of the animal; or

2. Collect from the owner or adoptive claimant an amount equal to the cost of vaccination and issue a credit voucher therefor to such owner or adoptive claimant.

The owner or adoptive claimant may then present the credit voucher provided under part c.2. above to any member of the Tyler Area Association of Veterinarians as payment for a current rabies vaccination. In turn, the inoculating veterinarian may present the credit voucher to the shelter facility for reimbursement of the costs of providing such inoculation. (Ord. No. O-96-13, 2-21-96)

Sec. 14-4. Citation of person in control; interference or false reports unlawful.

a. Whenever an animal is found in violation of this chapter and when ownership is known to an Animal Control Officer of the NETPHD, a peace officer or other authorized official, such person enforcing this Chapter may elect, in lieu of or in addition to impounding such animal, to issue a citation to the owner, harborer, or other person in control of the animal which shall require the person to appear in the Municipal Court within ten (10) business days to answer a charge of violation of this chapter.

b. The signature of the owner, harborer or other person in control on a citation shall constitute only a promise to appear at the appointed date and shall not be construed as an admission of guilt.

c. It is unlawful for any person, upon being issued a citation for violation of this chapter, to fail to provide proof of identification, or provide a false name, address, or other false information concerning an animal or its ownership to an Animal Control Officer or other enforcing official.

d. It is unlawful for any person to interfere with, hinder or obstruct an Animal Control Officer or other official engaged in the enforcement of this chapter, including but not limited to the failure to release an animal for impoundment or any manner of interference with such impoundment.

e. It is unlawful for any person to make a false report or complaint concerning a violation of this chapter to the Director, to any Animal Control Officer or to any other enforcing official.
(Ord. No. O-96-13, 2-21-96) (Ord. No. 0-2004-79; 10/13/04)

Sec. 14-5. Authority to impound or destroy certain animals.

a. The Director, the Police Chief, or their designee are hereby authorized to:

1. Impound any stray animal found running at large within the City limits or within five thousand (5,000) feet thereof, or any animal being kept in violation of this chapter;

2. Impound any animal which is diseased and endangers thereby the health of a person or another animal;

3. Impound any animal which has bitten a human or which has acted in a vicious manner as described herein;

4. Destroy humanely, an animal posing an imminent danger to persons or property under circumstances of emergency, or an animal that has bitten or scratched a person above the shoulders.

5. Impound for treatment or, in the alternative, humanely destroy an animal that is injured to a degree presenting little or no likelihood of recovery.

b. If an animal running astray is found upon the premises of any person, the owner or occupant thereof shall have the right to confine the animal temporarily in humane fashion pending notification and response by the NETPHD or other authority.
(Ord. No. O-96-13, 2-21-96) (Ord. No. 0-2004-79, 10/13/04)

Secs. 14-6­14-9. Reserved.

Sec. 14-20. Regulation of fierce or dangerous animals.

a. No person who owns or keeps an animal shall allow the animal to engage in fierce or dangerous conduct. If any person witnesses an animal engaging in fierce or dangerous conduct as described herein, a complaint can be filed in Municipal Court against the owner or keeper of the animal.

b. An animal engages in fierce or dangerous conduct when it threatens to attack or terrorizes a person on public or private property or in a public place, or has behaved in such a manner that the person who keeps the animal knows, or should reasonably know, that the animal is possessed of tendencies to attack or bite persons. This Article shall not apply to animals that are in the service of law enforcement agencies or guard dogs restrained as provided in Sec. 14-22. (Ord. No. O-96-13, 2-21-96) (0-2012-14, 3/7/12)

Sec. 14-21. Procedure for impoundment of fierce or dangerous animal.

a. Upon receiving a report concerning a fierce or dangerous animal, and before taking any impoundment action, the Animal Control Officer or police shall obtain the following information:

1. Name, address, and telephone number of complainant;

2. Date, time, and location of the incident;

3. A specification of the facts and circumstances of the


4. A description of the animal;

5. A sworn statement describing how the animal either bit the complainant or acted in a vicious manner;

6. The sworn statements of any witnesses; and

7. Other aggravating facts or circumstances, if any, relating to the incident.

b. After a sworn affidavit has been obtained, the animal shall be investigated by an Animal Control Officer, a police officer and a veterinarian. Neither the Animal Control Officer nor the police officer shall be the same person who conducted the initial investigation of the animal pursuant to section 4-20. If they agree that the animal has or is behaving in a fierce or dangerous manner, then, a if necessary, the animal can be impounded as a public nuisance in addition to any filing of a complaint pursuant to Section 14-20. If impoundment of said animal cannot be made with safety to the Animal Control Officer or other persons, the animal may be destroyed without prior notice to the owner or harborer.
(Ord. No. O-96-13, 2-21-96) (Ord. No. 0-2012-14; 3/7/12)

Sec. 14-22. Guard dogs.

Except for law enforcement agency dogs, it is unlawful to place or maintain any dog which has been specifically trained to attack, in any area for the protection of persons or property unless the dog is physically confined to a specific area or is under complete and absolute control. If a guard dog is to be maintained in a building, or adjoining fenced area, of a business after work hours, then the Fire Department must be notified. The area or premises in which a guard dog is confined must be conspicuously posted with warning signs bearing letters not less than two (2) inches high and placed not less than every twenty-five (25) feet on or adjacent to the structure or barrier which confines the animal; at least one (1) warning sign shall be conspicuously posted.
(Ord. No. O-96-13, 2-21-96) (Ord. No. 2004-79, 10/13/04)

Secs. 14-23­14-29. Reserved.

Sec. 14-30. Proof of vaccination required.

a. All dogs and cats within the City limits must be vaccinated against rabies annually and obtain some sort of proof confirming that vaccination.

b. The minimum fine for violation of the requirement to have dogs and cats vaccinated for rabies annually shall be twenty-five dollars ($25.00).

c. Each veterinarian or other person giving a rabies shot shall keep a list with all the license information required on all vaccinations given. (Ord. No. O-96-13, 2-21-96)

Sec. 14-31. Reserved.

Sec. 14-32. Impoundment, quarantine of animals; redemption by owner.

a. Pursuant to state law, the Director or designee are authorized to impound and/or quarantine an animal when there is probable cause to believe that a person may have been exposed to rabies.

b. A quarantined animal with rabies or rabies symptoms shall be confined in the City animal shelter or a veterinary hospital and disposition shall be made in accordance with state law.

c. In the case of other animals quarantined, the Director or designee shall determine whether to confine the animal in the City shelter, a veterinary hospital, or on the premises of the owner.

d. Home quarantine on the premises of the owner shall be permissible where:

1. The owner is a City resident;

2. The owner possesses facilities adequate to restrain the animal so as to prevent exposure of persons or other animals;

3. Adequate documentation exists that the animal was vaccinated against rabies in the preceding twelve-month period; and

4. The animal currently possesses no apparent symptoms of rabies.

e. It is unlawful for any person to remove an animal from the premises of the owner following issuance of an order for home quarantine.

f. During confinement, an animal may be inspected at any time by the Director or designee.

g. The Director or designee shall determine the length of confinement and safety procedures. A licensed veterinarian shall make a determination of whether or not the animal is free of rabies pursuant to state law.

h. If a licensed veterinarian determines that the animal does not show the clinical signs of rabies, the animal may be reclaimed by the owner upon satisfaction of applicable vaccination requirements pursuant to state law.
(Ord. No. O-96-13, 2-21-96)

Family Bystander Mental Anguish Claims

Texas recognizes the right of bystanders to recover damages for mental anguish caused by witnessing an accident, with the following limitations: the bystander must be a parent or child of the victim and the victim must have been killed or severely injured in the animal attack or mauling. Therefore, if you have witnessed a close family member mauled or bitten by a dog, you may want to pursue legal action on behalf of the injury victim as well as your own claims for witnessing such a horrific event. Contact a Tyler dog bite lawyer today to discuss bystander and mental anguish claims.

Negligence Based on Failure to Stop an Attack

A Texas dog owner owes a duty to attempt to stop his dog from attacking a person after the attack has begun. This is a civil duty, meaning that the Tyler dog bite victim can sue for monetary damages if the dog owner does not attempt to stop the attack.

If you or a loved one have been bitten or mauled by a dangerous dog in Tyler or Smith County, TX, please contact one of the experienced Tyler dog bite injury lawyers listed on this page.

What Should You Do if You Have Been Bitten by a Dog?

  1. Make every attempt to keep the animal in sight, find its owner, and obtain the owner’s contact information, preferably verified by their photo ID.
  2. Immediately wash the wound out with soap and warm water.
  3. Make sure that you are up to date on your tetanus shots.
  4. Seek the help of a physician or visit a local hospital.
  5. Report the bite to the Tyler Planning and Development Services Department (contact information below). 
  6. Seek the help of a Tyler dog bite attorney, if necessary, and maintain copies of all medical records and other relevant evidence.

For more information on dog bites and their victims, visit DogsBite.org

Dog Bite Reporting:

If you would like to report a Tyler area or Smith County dog bite or ask other questions pertaining to veterinary public health, do not hesitate to contact the Tyler Planning and Development Services Department office at:

Animal Control
815 N. Broadway
Tyler, TX 75702
(903) 535-0045

General inquiries:

For general information regarding Environmental Health programs and activities, please visit the Tyler Planning and Development Services Department website.

If you would like to report a dog bite, in Tyler, Smith County, or any of the surrounding communities listed below, please visit
  Tyler Animal Services website for reporting rabies.

If you live within Tyler city limits call: (903) 597-2471

Animal Training:

A variety of animal training classes and services are offered by the Tyler SPCA.  The Tyler SPCA may be reached at:

P.O. Box 132899
Tyler,TX 75713
(903) 596-7722

If you would like to report an instance of animal cruelty to the Tyler  click here, and follow the recommended procedures.

Contact a Tyler Dog Bite Lawyer if you have been attacked or bitten by a dog.

Contact one of the experienced Tyler dog bite lawyers above for a consultation regarding your claim.

Personal Injury Attorneys Serve Tyler and Surrounding Cities

Serving clients throughout Eastern Texas, including Arp, Ben Wheeler, Brownsboro, Bullard, Carroll, Chandler, Douglas, Edom, Flint, Ganado, Garden Valley, Grand Saline, Hawkins, Henderson, Hideaway, Jacksonville, Kilgore, Leagueville, Lindale, Longview, Mineola, Moore Station, Mt. Sylvan, Murchison, New Chapel Hill, Noonday, Overton, Selman City, Sinclair City, Swan, Troup, Whitehouse, Winona, Wright City and other communities in Smith County.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, please contact one of the experienced Smith County dog bite lawyers listed on this page.