Travis County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Glenn Bass , who is running for re-election this November, has paid settlements to two county employees after they reported being bitten by the Maltese dog, named Justice, that he brought to work with him.... To be honest with you, I don't think the dogs should have been allowed in the building in the first place," said Villegas, later adding, "After the incident, he brought back the dogs. That totally mind-boggled me."
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Travis County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Glenn Bass
, who is running for re-election this November, has paid settlements to two county employees after they reported being bitten by the Maltese dog, named Justice, that he brought to work with him.
, who works in the warrants division of the Precinct 2 county constable's office, said Justice jumped up and bit him once on the back of each thigh when he was delivering paperwork to Bass' office in December 2011. Villegas said the bites later became infected.
Bass' insurance company sent Villegas' lawyers a check in September 2012 for$1,600, which reimbursed the workers' compensation costs that Travis County incurred for Villegas' injuries and paid for other costs such as attorney fees.
"To be honest with you, I don't think the dogs should have been allowed in the building in the first place," said Villegas, later adding, "After the incident, he brought back the dogs. That totally mind-boggled me."
Bass said he kept Justice away from the office for "months" afterward, and, that when he brought the dog back, he put a pet gate in his office and had the dog on a leash. Previously, Justice had been unrestrained in his office, though not in the public waiting area, Bass said.
In July 2013, Justice bit an adult probation employee while outside the justice of the peace office building. The lawyer who represented that employee declined to give details on the settlement, but Bass said he paid her $10,000. Soon after, Bass gave Justice and his other Maltese, Liberty, away to friends, though he still visits them.
"I believe that (the settlement) was extremely excessive," Bass said. "But I made the decision, put myself in the situation. I deeply regretted it."
Bass said he brought Justice and Liberty to work between 2011 and 2013, once or twice in some weeks, and in other weeks every day. Citing studies that show the positive impact of dogs in the workplace, Bass said his staff had asked him to bring his dogs into work, and that past judges had on occasion brought their dogs.
A city ordinance says dogs are supposed to be restrained in public areas, with few exceptions. Bass, who said he spoke with city officials about the ordinance, said that his office wasn't considered a public area, as it's the space of an elected official and has controlled access.
After Villegas was bitten, a constable's office administrator asked if other employees had experienced a run-in with one of Bass' dogs. The Precinct 2 constable and justice of the peace offices are in the same building.
A copy of a county report about Villegas' bite included four statements from other constable's office employees saying Justice had bitten their pants, shoes or socks. Two said the dog had narrowly missed their skin.
Two described Justice's behavior as "aggressive," and one said the dog acted with "aggression."
FYI - Judge Bass has never adequately explained the change in debt collection at Precinct II, which has now cost taxpayers millions of dollars. (The court and constable program receive monies from the collections to cover cost of operations. Loss of collecting these debts means a greater hit for taxpayers)