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A Texas man was detained after police said seven dogs in his possession belonged to the same pack that fatally mauled a 71-year-old man on July 18.
The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook that Samuel Cartwright was arrested and charged with the attack by dogs resulting in death, a second-degree felony in Texas.
Freddy Garcia, 71, was strolling to the corner shop in his neighborhood in Fresno, Texas, roughly 20 miles southwest of Houston, around 1:30pm on July 18. According to authorities, the victim was attacked by seven pit bull mix dogs in an unprovoked assault.
Garcia was flown by helicopter to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in downtown Houston, where he was pronounced dead, according to the sheriff’s office at a press conference.
A further investigation by the sheriff’s office, Fort Bend Animal Control, and the Fort Bend County district attorney’s office identified Cartwright as the owner of the canines; sheriff’s deputies and animal control officers had captured all seven on July 19.
“This devastating tragedy didn’t have to happen. I extend my deepest condolences to the Garcia family and his neighbors as they adjust to the loss of Mr Garcia,” Sheriff Fagan said.
At the Fort Bend County Jail, Cartwright was held on $100,000 bail.
In Texas, if the owner is proven to have been “criminally negligent” in failing to stop the dog from escaping, the owner of a loose dog that results in harm or death may be charged.
Lillian’s Law is a third-degree felony charge that carries a sentence of 2–10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if a person is injured. If the victim dies, the dog owner can be charged with a second-degree felony, carrying a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. The law is named after a woman who died after being mauled to death on her front lawn by a pack of pit bull–rottweiler mix dogs in 2005.
“If you have a dangerous dog, it is your responsibility to keep that dog secure, to keep the members in our community safe,” said Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian Middleton during a press conference the day after the deadly attack. “If you fail to do that you will be held accountable.”