If you have a neighbor that routinely allows his or her dog to run loose, do not ignore the problem. A loose dog may harm others or become injured as well. As a good neighbor, you should notify your neighbor that the dog is loose and that you are concerned that it may get hit by a car or injured. If the neighbor disregards your concern and continues to allow the dog to roam free, notify the police the next time that you see the dog running loose. If you live in a HOA, you should report the problem to the HOA and/or management company for the HOA as well.
Houston Ordinance Chapter 6 and Harris County Animal Regulation Section 4 require dog owners to restrain their dogs. A dog owner who allows his or her dog to roam free without a leash or as a stray is in violation of the law. If a police officer sees the dog unrestrained, the officer may ticket the dog owner. Hopefully after receiving a fine, the dog owner will take measures to prevent the dog from running loose in the future.
Another benefit to reporting the bad dog owner to the police and/or HOA is that it makes a record of the negligent behavior of the owner. If the dog bites or injures a person in the future, the record can be used to show that the dog owner had a habit of letting the dog run free and that it was not just an unusual circumstance that allowed the dog to wander free and injure someone. In addition, the HOA may have some legal responsibility for the injury if it was aware that there was a problem with a homeowner allowing a dog to run loose repeatedly, and the HOA did not take any action to curb the dog owner’s behavior before the victim was injured.
If you were injured by a dog, contact The O’Hara Law Firm for a free consultation. The O’Hara Law Firm represents clients on a contingency fee basis, so we are not paid unless you receive compensation.