Texas One Bite Rule – Two Toddlers Mauled By Uncle’s Pit Bull

The people of Texas are being lied to by politicians who claim that the proposed dog law is going to end the one bite rule. In fact, House Bill 1355 does not mention the one bite rule, which pertains to civil liability for injuries by animals. The Gattis bill would simply put dog owners in jail longer. H.B. 1355 seeks to increase the jail time for owners who fail to reasonably secure their dogs, resulting in serious bodily injury or death. The new law will do absolutely nothing for victims, who will have to pay their own medical bills, will have no compensation for minimizing the effect of their scars, and will not be compensated for pain, suffering, lost income, loss of earning capacity, disability or anything else.

A duo of recent maulings illustrates the cruelty of the one bite rule in Texas, and how the proposed law will fail the victims. Last weekend, 4 year old Aladrien Simmons and her cousin, 18 month old Makayla Patterson, were left alone in the back yard of their uncle. Also present was a pit bull on a chain. This dog had never bitten anyone before, according to its owner. But it became agitated, broke free, and mauled the two girls. (To read the news story, click here.)

Here’s how the Texas one bite rule and the Gattis bill will work in this case. If the proposed bill passes, the uncle’s homeowner’s insurance company will be allowed to deny paying anything to the little girls. They will get nothing for their scarred bodies and their loss of future earning capacity if they end up disfigured or disabled. If they don’t have health insurance, their parents or the taxpayers will have to pay for their medical bills. 

The uncle will wonder what he was buying in exchange for all of those homeowner (or renter) insurance payments. His nieces will be scarred for life, and their parents will have huge medical bills which could destroy their credit. Family relationships will be destroyed. But the homeowners (or renters) insurance company will be a bit more profitable for its owners.

Is this justice? Is this fair to dog owners in Texas who purchase homeowners or renters insurance and believe it will protect them from disasters like this one? 

Ask the Texas legislature what they are thinking when they deceive the public into believing that they are ending the one-bite rule, when in fact the new bill does not mention the one bite rule and does nothing to end it. Texans should demand full justice for dog bite victims, meaning an end to the ancient English one bite rule.