Proposed bill holds dog owners' responsible for attacks - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Proposed bill holds dog owners' responsible for attacks

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email
Posted by Elizabeth Thomas – email

AUSTIN, TX (KLTV) – It's the legislation one East Texas lawmaker hopes is enough to make dog owners think twice.

The proposed bill now puts more punishment against the owners' of dogs involved in attack related deaths.

It's the family calendar Grandfather Doug Wolfe is proud of. But the girl on the front means the most.

Last Halloween, a pit bull attacked Wolfe's granddaughter, Summer Adams.

"All those lacerations, that blood loss—if it wasn't for the doctors, yeah, we would have lost our granddaughter that day," says Wolfe.

Summer survived--prompting Wolfe to look for ways to keep kids like Summer safe.

"Every time you hear this and think how much of a tragedy it is, and you think something should be done and you sit on your butt and you don't do anything and then it hits home," expressed Wolfe, "Stories like Summer's… tougher actions against animal attacks in a movement that's now made its way to the State."

The death of ten-year-old Justin Clinton in an attack by two violent dogs, and the loss of two-year-old Kaden Muckelroy to a pit bull attack puts faces on what State Representative Chuck Hopson calls a serious problem.

"We're trying to make people responsible for their pets. It's an event that's happened all over the state. But, when it happens in your own territory, it makes a big difference," says Hopson.

Hopson calls House Bull 1389 a proactive step.

The Bill states if a child younger than 15 or adult over 65 is killed in an attack, the dog owner could face first degree felony charges.

Other attack deaths could bring second-degree felony charges, if the animal has been labeled dangerous, or criminal negligence can be proved.

"Our laws are never perfect, but this one puts teeth into it and it makes people much more aware that they have to be much more responsible for their pets," explained Hopson.

"As long as everything reacts after an attack, then nothing prevents the attack and until we can prevent the attack we have a problem," Wolfe expressed.

Leaving a situation Wolfe continues to fight, to keep other families from facing his greatest fear.

The City of Van will soon decide on whether to take tougher preventative measures for dogs in the city limits.

A proposal written by Doug Wolfe and others is expected to be voted on in April.

Copyright 2011 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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