The last thing Cindy or I need on location or even in my own neighborhood is to be bitten, chased or attacked by a dangerous dog. 

Most owners who don’t secure their pets claim “their dog is friendly” but, if you’ve been attacked by a “friendly dog,” you realize where I’m going with today’s blog.

When Cindy and I arrive at your home, trailer, barn or office to Appraise your trade, we obviously aren’t carrying mace or self defense items for a dog attack.

From pet pigs to dangerous dogs, Appraisal Appointments are becoming far less predictable these days for the Texas Twins. 

Due to having to “run for our lives” on location the past four years, our contract will be updated to include our safety at your location as a liability of sorts. 

Please cage your pet or secure them in another area to prevent further “incidents or accidents” to Cindy or I while walking your trade. 

Speaking of “incidents” since not only our clients mistakenly believe that their pets are friendly, last night while walking my dog, Foxy Wortham, my neighbors dog, Lucy, jumped the fence and attacked me, my dog and my grandniece, Madyson. 

I would love to tell you that these types of attacks either on location or even in my own neighborhood are isolated events but, I’ve been attacked eight times in the past six years and have suffered numerous cuts, abrasions, bites and pulled muscles because of an angry dog who isn’t on a leash or controlled attacking both me and my dog. It’s actually becoming a “regular occurrence.”

In order to protect me, my dog and my grandniece, my husband, Matthew was forced to mace our neighbor’s dog, Lucy. Seriously, it was as if Lucy had become a mad dog in her ferocious and never ending attack. 

Because we are “good neighbors,” my husband and I went to the neighbors home to advise them of being forced into protecting ourselves and how to treat their dog to relieve the mace. Sadly, only the daughter was home. Her parents were away from home but, had installed a doorbell video cam and spoke with me via the device. 

I explained that soap and water would relieve some of the symptoms of the mace to their dog and that they returned home, I would like to show them video that documented Lucy escaping their fenced backyard and viciously attacking us in the alley behind our home. 

Surprisingly, my husband and I are the only home in a three block radius with video cameras and three of those cameras had filmed the attack. 

Had I not been near our home, there wouldn’t be any video documented alerting my husband to the fiasco behind our garage. Much less any evidence of what had happened and more importantly, why we had no other option than to use mace.

Watching the video, our neighbors were shocked that their dog was behaving in a vicious manner. Since my husband and I are “good neighbors,” we advised them that we weren’t going to report the incident to police after careful consideration of the financial and in Texas, criminal aspects of a dog attack against the owner in an attempt to educate them that if someone else had been attacked by Lucy that they may not fare as well.

Texas Law includes not only Civil but also, Criminal Liability for Texas Dog Bite Claims.

In dog bite cases that cause severe injury, the dog’s owner may face criminal charges as well as civil liability. Texas Health and Safety Code section 822.005 states that a dog’s owner may be charged with a felony if:
the owner “with criminal negligence” fails to secure the dog, and the dog attacks someone, unprovoked, at a location away from the owner’s real or personal property, or

the owner knows the dog is a “dangerous dog” and the dog attacks someone, unprovoked, outside its own secure enclosure, and

either of these situations causes serious bodily injury or death.

In addition to facing criminal charges in either of these situations, the dog’s owner may also face a civil lawsuit filed by the injured person (or a Texas wrongful death claim filed by the family of the deceased person).

If your friendly dog is a repeat offender, your pet may be registered as a Dangerous Dog– Tarrant County, Texas Dangerous Dog Registration.

My first experience with a dog attack was in Lompoc, California. I was eight years old and playing in the park with my baby brother, Jerry Lee who is four years younger than I and my twin sister, Cindy when a Doberman came out of nowhere and began biting at all three of us. 

My father was at least 120 yards away and while trying to save my siblings, I put Jerry first and then Cindy up in a tree near the slide before having my ear ripped off before our father could reach us. I had turned my head to tell my brother to climb higher which is why the bite intended for my neck and cartroid artery was missed and subsequently all the damage was to my ear and side of my head. 

If I didn’t stutter at the time, I could’ve called out to my father but the screaming was what gave him a heads up that our play day at the park had gone to Hell in a millisecond. 

The subsequent damage to my ear was so severe that I lost hearing. The owner of the dog was at fault and my fear of dog attacks would forever haunt me. Yes, I’m terrified of a violent dog and, I have more than a few reasons to be.

One summer while at my Aunt Shirley’s house in Gordon, Texas, my niece, Stephaney was mauled so badly by the family pet that she nearly lost her eye. 

Even today, the scar covers half of her face. Stephaney was six years old and has never forgotten having a dog on top of her trying to bite her throat.

Being a pet owner carries a responsibility to keep your pet controlled. I CANNOT stress this enough. 

Since moving to Westover Hills some seven years ago, I have been viciously mauled by dogs who were either not on a leash “because they were friendly” or who simply escaped their fences or who ran out the door to attack Foxy and I. 

At my age, you would think a stroll in an upscale neighborhood wouldn’t be dangerous but, you would be wrong. 

I’ve been to the hospital on six of the eight occasions I’ve been attacked by an unleashed dog due to the extent of injuries and my dog, Foxy has been to an emergency vet on seven occasions. 

My idiotic neighbors continue to let their dogs lay on the lawn unleashed and ready to attack. “Oh, my dog wouldn’t hurt a fly. He doesn’t like leashes. He’s just playing.” I could go on and on here. 

Owning a pet means you are a responsible pet owner. My dog has never been out of our home without a leash. Ever. Last night, my neighbors were horrified to watch their sweet dog continue to come at my dog and I over and over and over again. 

Trying to explain that this particular dog has escaped over and over again, I let them know that other neighbors being mauled “would most likely report the incident if it were to happen to them and/or file a Civil Suit” in order to educate my neighbors  about either fixing their fence or more importantly, controlling their pet. 

Ironically, the fact that these neighbors are constantly looking for their dogs seemed to “slip their minds?” It happens so frequently that my husband and I have even helped them search the neighborhood to find Henley or Lucy. The need for a secure backyard for these neighbors isn’t “new.” It’s been an issue for years.

I have no idea why pet owners don’t understand the liabilities of their pet attacking either a stranger or a neighbor. You don’t drive a car without insurance do you? You don’t own a home without insurance do you? 

Having your dog or even cat, pig, horse, cow or any pet injure a child, adult, neighbor or friend falls on you. 

Two years ago at an Appraisal Appointment, Cindy and I were literally chased through a trailer by a deranged pig. I’m not talking about a small pig either, this pig was at least two hundred pounds and snapping at us like a starving bear. 

I fell out the front door of the trailer hyperventilating and yelling for the clients to “hogtie” the crazy pig that we unwittingly found in one of the bedrooms while trying to view an antique dresser. I hate surprises. If you have a 200 lb “pet,” please advise us of this prior to us being mauled. It will save us all a lot of time.

Four years ago while searching a barn to view an old tractor barter, a turkey started attacking me. Since we were half an acre from the main house where the clients were, trying to get away from an angry turkey and get help wasn’t an easy as you think.

Donkeys are equally dangerous, the last thing I want when “rolling up” to an Appraisal Appointment is a donkey kicking my SUV and trying to kick me. 

If you have animals that you know are a problem, please for Heavens Sakes, put them up. That donkey left four dents in the side of my SUV and would’ve done far more damage to Cindy or I.  

When we had a pool, my husband and I were overly cautious because we realized if someone jumped our fence and drowned, we would be held accountable. 

Being educated adults, we realized that the dangers of a pool often involve far more of a chance of “an accident.” 

My husband and I were “safety freaks” because we knew the danger of a pool accident. 

When I had a lake house on Beavers Lake, if you were a guest, you were REQUIRED to wear a life jacket on the dock or in any of the boats or other watercrafts. “I’m a good swimmer- I don’t need a life jacket.” Not on my watch buddy. It’s not a request- it’s a demand. 

If you were with me, you were my responsibility. I don’t take risks and on the one occasion my twin sister refused to wear a life jacket, she nearly drowned right off the dock. I should’ve insisted but, my sister didn’t like any of the Life Jackets and “felt like she couldn’t breathe.” 

Had I known what would happen some 60-80 feet from my dock less than twenty minutes later, I would have insisted. I did insist on the twins wearing Life Jackets.

When you are on the lake every summer, you hear all of the tragic drowning accidents that could have been prevented. I was “Mrs Safety” on Beaver Lake with the kids but, made an exception for my twin sister and, I made a terrible decision that fateful day.

To better explain one of the most horrific things I’ve ever had to witness and resolve, let’s start by how it happened. I was on the dock with Makenna. I had bought life jackets for Maryssa and Makenna at the marina. They were about a year old at the time. Their Life Jackets featured hoods at the back of the neck to keep their head elevated. That head flap saved Maryssa from flipping over and having her face in the water.

Cindy had Maryssa on her float when I turned around from the dock hearing flapping water and saw Maryssa floating off and Cindy going under. 

If you’ve never had to save someone from drowning, try TWO PEOPLE. I had to save Cindy first because her float was drifting off and swim her to the dock with Makenna in a playpen before dashing off to grab Maryssa. 

I knew the lake and I knew that there weren’t any other boats in the cove and by the Grace of God, I saved my family but, had Maryssa NOT been in a life jacket, I would’ve been forced between choosing who to save. It’s horrifying to think how that could’ve turned out.

On my honeymoon at the fabulous Las Brisas, I was the one who didn’t need a life jacket or so I thought. Not knowing an earthquake had caused an undertow, I swam out of the bay and nearly drowned. Yet again, God put a Navy Major “in the right place at the right time” who literally saved my life. 

Had my husband tried or attempted to save me, he would’ve drowned. Why? because I was panicking and deliberately lied to him on the shore saying “I’m okay- don’t come out.” Why? I had already accepted my fate and didn’t want my husband to die trying to save me. 

I had went did too many times to save myself and knew the distance, the undertow and the circumstances would’ve prevented Matthew from saving me and most likely would’ve killed us both. 

If not for the excellent swimming skills of our Navy Hero, I wouldn’t be here today. I had accepted that I was going to die to give you a clearer picture. By the time that man literally threw me over his shoulder to swim me to the cove, I was nearly in shock and delirious. “I don’t need a Life jacket. I’m a good swimmer.” I did too need that Life Jacket and, an undertow caused by an earthquake is like a tornado pulling you down. I no longer skip the Life Jacket on the ocean waters. I learned my lesson as did Cindy on Beaver Lake. 

Life Jackets SAVE LIVES. If you have a boat, pool, lake house or even a Sea Doo, you have a responsibility to protect your family and friends from drowning. 

If you are on a vacation and don’t think you need a Life Jacket, take it from me, you do. They may not be fashionable but, they are functional. 

Let’s get back to liability and responsibility. 

On three occasions in my life, I’ve been sued due to someone falling on my property and getting hurt. That’s right THREE. 

In 1989, I was living in San Clemente, California when a neighbor tripped walking by my landscaping and fell into the street. Although my landscaping wasn’t “covering the sidewalk” by more than a few inches, I was held liable for her injuries. Learning from that eye opening experience, I cut everything (bushes, plants and all) back and learned to keep my sidewalk clear.  

After moving back to Texas, I was having a yard sale in 1994 when an elderly lady asked to use my restroom. Not foreseeing an issue, I opened my home to her. Apparently, leaving the restroom, the lady slipped in my kitchen and filed a lawsuit. 

The end result? My homeowners insurance paid out over $60k for a broken hip and bumped my fees tremendously on my homeowners insurance. 

In 2001, while living one street away from where I live today on Collinwood, my garage had been left open and a homeless man had entered to help himself to Gatorade and other items in my back up refrigerator in the garage. 

Walking out to close the garage, I was shocked to find him standing between both Cadillac’s. My unwelcome intruder told me he had fell behind one of the cars and wanted medical attention. Walks into my garage. Helps himself to my refrigerator and sues me? I couldn’t believe it.

Yep, I cannot make this $hit up ya all. Your home, your dog, your car, your pool and your property are YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. 

Hell, I’ve been sued so much that when my husband and I were building the pool, I created a waiver for friends who wanted to come by. Seriously. “Swim At Your Own Risk” signs were on either side of our pool. 

It shouldn’t be rocket science to realize that there are leash laws in place in order to protect others but, on West Byers Ave, it apparently is for the majority of my neighbors who either don’t own a leash or simply refuse to use one. 

After one attack, a neighbor asked “what I had done to make her dog attack me?” These neighbors are one day going to get sued or charged with Gross Negligence or a Homeowners Claim that wakes them up. 

“My dog has never bit anyone and we don’t need a leash.” If I had a nickel for everytime a pet owner told me this before a disaster happened, I’d be rich by now. YOUR dog is REQUIRED by LAW to be on a LEASH you knucklehead. 

This morning while donning a Home Depot apron in order to “arm myself” with a phone, mace and house keys, my husband told me that the neighbors had fixed their fence last night. 

I thought to myself “after all these years? I doubt it.” Going down to the basement to view my garage monitor, I saw that what they had done was simply close the gate and put a piece of plywood back up. They hadn’t “fixed or secured” that fence at all. In fact, it was the same way it had been before Lucy pushed the plywood down and attacked me the night before. My husband was unaware of this as I’m the one that walks Foxy around here. I’m the one that notices these things. My husband hates Alleys. As a builder and developer, Matthew believes that “Alleys are a criminals goldmine. They sneak in they sneak out.” 

Our alley is the reason we have so many video cameras. “We live in a nice neighborhood. Why are you and your husband taking all of these security measures? There’s no crime in Westover Hills!” Umm, yes, friends there is which is why all of you send the police to our house because we have video cameras. Those video cameras aren’t pointed at our neighbors homes for a “fringe benefit” either. They are pointed at our property. Why these people don’t get their own cameras I have no idea. Burglars are looking for nice cars and nice homes to rob they don’t go where there isn’t anything of value. 

“Common sense is like a belt. The people who need it the most refuse to wear it.” 

I advised my husband “nope. That’s the same piece of plywood that was there yesterday and the small wood dowel is the one that was kicked out of place for Lucy to bust out and attack us.” 

If you live in a $600-800k home, you CAN AFFORD to fix your fence! My neighbors explained that they are having work done on their backyard and need “easy access” to the yard for their contractors so, “we can’t put the fence back up because our yard isn’t finished.” This “backyard project” of our neighbors has been underway for about a month. That fence has been useless for seven years. 

My husband has been a developer and home builder for over forty years and I can guarantee you that he would never allow a contractor to rig up a fence and leave it that way. He’s as OCD about construction as I am about everything. 

My husband isn’t OCD about anything outside work. When he leaves the office, he prefers a martini, a nice dinner and NASCAR or the Golf Channel. I’m OCD 24/7.

As an experienced builder, my husband reminded the neighbors that their dogs have been getting out for years. The refusal of our neighbors choosing to skip securing the fence and their dogs not only upset me but also my husband. I’m adding a photo of the fence to better show you how “non secure” it actually is.

We shouldn’t have to be afraid to go into our garage, go for a walk or walk into an Appraisal Appointment but, due to previous experiences, we now are. I ask if you have pets or animals and Request that you put them up prior to your appointment with us now because I’ve learned it’s good to know what to expect and have a handle on things. 

I can promise you that if my other neighbors, Mary or Cris we’re knocked over or attacked walking their dogs that at their ages (65 and up), their injuries would also be significantly serious. A broken hip at seventy years old can and does kill people. But, my warnings of someone else being a victim of Lucy fell on deaf ears. 

My neighbors think this was an isolated incident with Lucy. A dog that attacks will attack again. Three of my dog attacks were from THE SAME DOG on West Byers. I finally called that dog and his owner in and reported them. I had no choice. 

Neighbor or not, if you are so blatantly stupid to continuously allow your dog to attack others, you need a wake up call. I gave him one. A four thousand dollar ER Visit for me and an $876 Vet Bill for my dog later, my neighbor finally put a leash on his dog four years after I had been bitten nine times. Poor Foxy was bedridden over a week from his injuries. 

My neighbor wanted to put his foot down about “his dog- his yard- his Rules.” But, his dog was a danger to every jogger, dog walker and elderly person in the neighborhood. When you walk your dog three times a day, you have three times the danger!

Macing a dog isn’t something that I would ever do unless it was in self defense. If you kicked my door in, you’d be met with a heavy arsenal. We don’t call 911- we protect our home. We call 911 AFTER IT’S OVER. 

I shouldn’t be forced to arm myself to leave my house but experience is a great teacher. I’ve been to the hospital far too many times due to negligent neighbors. 

If you are a pet owner, educating yourself about YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES is a great teacher too….