Lawmakers Pass Dog Attack Bill - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

05/22/07 - East Texas

Lawmakers Pass Dog Attack Bill

by Ramonica R. Jones

The next time your dog bites someone it could land you in prison. State leaders have now given final approval to a violent dog law.

Dog owners in Texas could face a third-degree felony if their pet seriously hurts someone in an unprovoked attack.

The crime carries a two to ten-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine. If the victim dies, the charge could be a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

State lawmakers passed the bill after an elderly woman was killed by a pack of dogs. Six dogs mauled her after she got off her riding lawn mower at her Austin-area home.

Small ones, huge ones, quiet ones and loud ones; go to almost any neighborhood and you're sure to find all kinds of dogs roaming the streets. Most of them belong to a loving family that tries to take the best care of them. That's why many pet owners believe the state's plan to lock them up if their pet attacks someone is unfair.

A.O. Smith said, "Prison term's a little harsh. A good stiff fine will be better."

Other dog owners agree they should be held accountable for their pets' actions, but believe the law should be lenient if they are abiding by leash rules and vaccination regulations.

Glenda Smiley said, "I think if you have any animal you should be responsible to spay, neuter, keep them from breeding and having unwanted babies. I have Abigail's record always on file with my vet so that anyone that might be nipped or bitten will have records that [she] have rabies shots and all [her] inoculations."

Many residents said they want to see a penalty for pet owners who own animals that attack, especially if they have pit bulls, rottweilers, and other aggressive breeds.

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