Dallas, TX asked in Personal Injury and Animal / Dog Law for Texas

Q: Will I have a case against a dog trainer if her method has caused physical and emotional injuries?

My girlfriend & I hired a trainer (P) from Thumbtack because our dog was showing signs of aggression. Our dog would bark at strangers & other dogs; he had snapped at my girlfriend a few times but had never caused any injuries.

We hired P, and she told us it will get better but don't hope to turn our dog to a Golden Retriever. P used a prong collar and no treats, "correcting" bad behaviors with a very hard pull on the with both arms when our dog is barking/growling. We trusted P because she was the "expert" and we were first-time dog owners. A few times I showed dissatisfaction but P insisted that this does not cause any pain for the dog as their neck is strong & made fun of me for being too soft.

We had agreed on 6 sessions of 1h each for 600$. A few days after the 5th session, our dog bit my girlfriend, causing physical and emotional injuries. When we sought help online, people told us it's because of the P's method, as it taught our dog to skip warnings and bite! Do we have a case?

3 Lawyer Answers
Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Animal & Dog Law Lawyer
  • Denver, CO

A: I realize the irony of what I'm about to say, but I'm going to say it, anyway: don't take advice from people on the internet - especially if they're not professionals.

That said, it's unclear from what you wrote whether liability can be imposed on the trainer. More information is needed because whether or not the dog bit your girlfriend from something your girlfriend did to the dog, or whether you did something to the dog, or whether the dog biting your girlfriend had anything to do with training from a person who was not present are questions that would have to be submitted to the trier of fact.

Also, if you don't like a trainer's methods, there is nothing prohibiting you from firing that trainer and hiring another one whose methods you feel more comfortable with.

Daniel John Christensen
Daniel John Christensen
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Austin, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: You need a consumer lawyer. You can call the Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas: (512) 472-8303, https://austinlrs.com/

Charles K Sanders
Charles K Sanders
Answered
  • Houston, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: We would need to know more facts and you would have to consult an attorney. Off the top of my head perhaps you may have a DTPA claim.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.