Can You Be Jailed For Hitting a Dog in Texas?
One of my neighbors was devastated yesterday. He was driving home from work, and someone's dog ran out in front of his vehicle. He struck the dog with his truck. He immediately stopped to render aid, but the dog was severely injured and did not survive.
It is devastating to see someone's pet hurt. It can ruin my whole day when I see a pet dead by the side of the road. I can only imagine some child is waiting for their pet to come home.
My neighbor did the right thing when he hit that dog. He immediately pulled over and rendered aid. If you fail to leave an injured dog and drive off, not only are you a cruel and heartless individual, you face legal jeopardy in Texas.
In Texas, it is illegal to unreasonably abandon an animal. Hitting a dog and leaving the scene can meet the legal definition of this crime and you can be prosecuted for animal cruelty.
Immediately after the accident, check on the animal's condition. Render immediate aid will include carefully removing the injured animal from the roadway where he can be hit by other vehicles. Remember to protect yourself, as an injured animal may bite out of fear or pain.
Call Animal Care Services as soon as possible or the police. If you bring the injured animal to the vet, you will be responsible for paying its bills. This is why it is essential to call the police or animal control.
If you take the dog to the vet and do not know the owner, ask the vet if they have a standard procedure to deal with such situations. If the owner is present, they will be responsible for the vet bills. Unless you intentionally struck the dog, the pet owner assumes responsibility for the vet bills as they were negligent for letting the dog run on the roadway.
If the pet owner is at the accident scene, explain what happened but don't admit fault. Take photos of the damage to your vehicle. Document everything you can. This will help if the animal's owner tries to prove that you were negligent.
While you could be liable for any damages resulting from the accident, depending on the circumstances, it is doubtful that you will face any criminal action if you injure someone's pet while driving. The only way you might face charges is if you leave the scene and do not render aid to the wounded animal.
Unfortunately, if you are an animal lover like me, even when you know you did the right thing, harming an innocent pet can be emotionally devastating. In the end, feeling hurt and guilt is the most challenging part.