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Why dogs outside of someone’s home should always be on a leash

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2024 | Personal Injury

When people take their dogs out for a walk, they often want to give the animal some freedom. Letting them off of their leash might seem like the easiest way to achieve that goal. Dogs enjoy having control of their movement and choosing where to go sniff.

Unfortunately, many animal owners in Texas end up making unsafe choices because of their desire to offer their animals a pleasant experience. For example, people may let their dogs off of their leashes while at a park or beach even though there may be signs warning them against that exact decision.

Why is it so important for dog owners to keep their animals on a leash?

Loose animals cause safety issues

A dog running free in a park or down a sidewalk could it startle someone. While the dog may not intend to cause any harm to someone else, a human could fall and end up seriously injured after encountering a dog that scares them. In fact, the dog could potentially also injure itself. Leo the golden retriever recently made national news after he fell off the edge of a cliff while running unleashed during a park visit with his owners. The Coast Guard had to use a helicopter to rescue the dog.

Animals may fight with each other

Even a dog who usually seems like a happy, friendly animal can turn aggressive in a moment if they encounter another dog that they dislike. They may take off running before their owner ever notices the other animal. The scent of another dog or its behavior might trigger aggression in a typically friendly animal. An unleashed dog may attack someone else’s pet, leading to major animal injuries and veterinary bills. When one animal attacks another, the animal’s owner may sometimes be liable for the damages the animal caused.

Dogs may perceive people as a threat

If someone adopted a rescue dog, they may not know its history with humans. The dog may have experienced abuse before or witnessed human criminal activity that could trigger volatile behavior. When dogs feel threatened, they can act in a way that is contrary to their normal behavior. They may become aggressive even toward humans. They may attack someone that they believe poses a threat to them or their owner. A dog in an unfamiliar location might also be more likely to lash out toward others because it feels anxious about its environment.

In Texas, the owner of an aggressive animal may incur legal and financial liabilities for the damages it causes others. Someone who lets their dog run loose in public puts themselves at risk of major expenses and puts other people at risk of preventable injuries. As such, taking legal action against an irresponsible dog owner is a reasonable reaction if someone gets hurt by an aggressive canine.