Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: Texas Dog Owners Keep a Shorter Leash

Texas Dog Owners Keep a Shorter Leash


Starting September 1, Texas Dog Owners need to keep their pets on a shorter leash and closer to them.  A new law has passed that makes Dog Owners more responsible for their pets.  I don't know if I quite agree with the harshness of the sentences, but I'm glad something has been done.

If a dog attacks and seriously injures someone, the owner can face up to 10 years in jail.  If the dog attacks and it's fatal, the sentence is 20 years!  Yes, 20 years!!  Make sure you know where your dog is at all times.

What's interesting is that if the attack happens on the Dog Owner's own property, nothing happens because it's personal property.  We're talking only about attacks that happen if a dog has gotten loose or possibly at a dog park, or anywhere else that is not within the confines of the owner's property.


Comment balloon 8 commentsDonna Harris • September 05 2007 02:32PM


People in Texas are going to have to be really careful about who they hire to walk their dogs!  Here is it a very popular profession for the neighborhood teenagers.  That could get a little dicey!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 12 years ago

Having a tempermental German Shepherd rescue I can totally attest to the importance of keeping a dog on a short leash.  I take my girl out every day to socialize her but she is very weary of strangers and will lash out if approached in a threatening manner (threatening in dog language).  I am very careful with how I hold her leash and can usually spot any activity that may set her off.  It's definitely my responsibility to make sure she doesn't hurt anyone.

HOWEVER, something happened the other day at the park that really ticked me off.  I was walking her along the two directional trail when a guy with headphones was coming toward us.  He was walking down the center of the track and drifting close and closer to my lane as he looked back over his shoulder.  My dog was on my left and I literally had to start pulling her off the trail and into the grass to avoid him walking RIGHT INTO US because he just wasn't paying attention.  Needless to say, when he was a about foot from walking into my dog, she let him know he was about to get into some serious trouble and he quickly jumped out of the way.

Other people have to understand that all dogs are protective by nature.  Some, like my shepherd, are more protective than others, and I do everything I can to keep everyone else safe, especially children that want to come up and start petting her.  Strangers need to take caution.  There is ALWAYS a reason for a dog lashing out.  For me, I know that if someone stares my dog in the face looking at her, she will start to snarl.  For dogs, that is a dominance challenge.  However, if I am allowed to tell someone how to interact with her, there is usually no problem. 

 It really works both ways.  Don't assume all dogs are nice and you'll be ok.  If you or your child want to pet a strange dog, ask the owner if it's ok before you come too close.  If you're a dog owner, learn to know your dogs triggers so that you can avoid potential problems in advance!  That way no one gets hurt and no one goes to jail.

Side note: I also have a Doberman mix that is as sweet as can be and friendly to everyone, but if either dog is biting someone because they set them off, I'm not sticking my hand between it's mouth and the victim.

Eric C. Lowery,, The Good Broker, LLC.

Posted by Eric Lowery (RE/BOOST, Lawrenceville, GA Real Estate) over 12 years ago

I also agree that it's not always the owner's fault.  When I walk my dog, I'll go into the street when I see someone else on the same side of the sidewalk walking towards us.  I try to obide by the law that you're supposed to walk on the side of the street that is going into traffic so you can see the cars, and it irritates me when people walk with traffic, as you're only supposed to be on that side if you're riding a bike...

Anyway, someones with Oscar, he likes meeting new people, but I know he'll jump and lick, and with some people, the way they move their hand down to his level, he actually opens his mouth a little in order to reach the hand, and it turns into a bite, though he isn't actually biting.  I always ask people not to pet him, but they reach for him anyway... so walking in the street has been my way around those people. 

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - over 12 years ago

We take a BIG STICK when we walk.

If your dog charges me(i don't care if it would never hurt anyone) then it is going for a ride. Homerun style.

Posted by Tom Burris, Texas/Louisiana Mortgage Pro - 13 YRS Experience (NMLS# 335055) over 12 years ago

I haven't been a dog owner now for 5 years (don't miss it either). My perspecitve on this deal is simply that the people who are responsible pet owners that make a mistake are at the greatest risk. We used to walk our dogs and every night our dogs were approached by MULTIPLE dogs that owners let run loose without licenses. It's those irresponsible owners who will largely go unpunished because you can't locate the owner and even if you wanted to get near an "unknown" dog they were properly licesned anyway.

To me, this whole thing is simply more legislation with little impact.

Posted by Ken Stampe, iBrandPlan ( - Grow your e-Profile & Brand) over 12 years ago

Well, heck, Donna, if I can shoot someone on my own property (under specific circumstances), seems only fair my dog could bite someone there!  ;-)

Seriously, I can see the positives and negatives of this particular law, which was passed in response to one incident.  But at least it's holding the dog owners responsible rather than just the dogs. 

Fortunately, my dogs are only loose on our 55 acres, which seems to keep them pretty well occupied.  And they're more likely to lick you to death than otherwise, assuming you're not threatening me.  The heeler does act pretty threatening to strangers who drive up, but if I tell him the code word that says they're guests, not burglars, he's all wriggles and licks and "kick the ball!!!!".  And living out in the country, that works fine for me. 


Posted by Tricia Jumonville, Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense (Bradfield Properties) over 12 years ago

Tricia, yes, having 55 acres in the country would defintely make a difference... I saw a People's Court, or Jusge Judy a couple of days ago where a dog got out in the country and killed someon's pet peacock... yes, a peacock!  She claimed it was a great family friend, but only sued for $450!  If it was a dog, you would sue for much more if it was killed.

Tony, Sometimes those yippie dogs are worse than the bigger dogs because they have "little dog syndrome".

Tom, My dog would think it was for him to play with instead of just carrying it.

Ken, How could you not miss having a dog around always wagging its tag and licking you all over... unconditional love!

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - over 12 years ago
Can't pass up a dog blog. I have two myself - a husky and a black lab. If you broke into my house, the lab would roll over on its back and wait for a belly rub - the husky on the other hand would tear you apart. Both dogs raised from pups in the same environment. I agree that any dog can be trained to be vicious, but genes play a major role to start.
Posted by Jack Pearce, Broker - ABR, ASP, CSP, ePRO, GRI (RE/MAX Valley Real Estate) over 12 years ago