Texas Dog Bite Cases and Lillian's Law

Lillian's Law H.B. 1355 is a law that was unanimously approved by the Texas Senate in 2007. Although the "one bite" law in Texas still stands, Lillian's Law provides stiffer penalties for owners of very dangerous dogs.

Lillian's Law is named after Lillian Stiles, a 76-year-old woman from Milam County who was riding a lawn mower in her front yard in 2005 when she was attacked by a pack of six mixed-breed pit bull/Rottweiler dogs. The dogs mauled her to death after breaking out of their pen and jumping a three-foot fence. Her husband Jack was inside at the time watching TV and said that the only way he recognized his wife after the attack was because of the clothes she was wearing. The owner of the dogs, Jose Hernandez, was charged with criminally negligent homicide, but was eventually found not guilty. Lillian's family was horrified because the court said it wasn't proved that the dogs were dangerous, even though they killed a person.

With Lillian's Law, if a dog causes serious bodily injury to a victim in an unprovoked attack, the owner would be charged with a third-degree felony. If charged, they could face anywhere from two to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If the victim of the attack dies, the dog's owner would be convicted of a second-degree felony and could face up to twenty years in prison. After the law was passed, Senator Eliot Shapleigh said, "In hundreds of horrific cases across Texas, the very young and old have been attacked, even killed by packs of pit bulls. With this bill, we send a strong message that we will protect people from dangerous dogs."

If you were bitten by a dog in Texas and you want to take legal action, contact Austin dog bite attorney Earl Straight for a free consultation at 512-454-1331.