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Alabama lawmaker to introduce 'dangerous dog' legislation

The legislation would increase the penalties owners would face if their pet were to attack someone.

Posted: Jan. 15, 2018 6:21 PM
Updated: Jan. 15, 2018 9:34 PM

A group of lawmakers and local officials are coming together to introduce new legislation regarding dangerous animals.

The bill they are hoping to pass would increase criminal penalties for owners of dangerous animals if they were to attack someone.

This comes after two women were attacked and killed by packs of dogs on two separate occasions in north Alabama.

House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter told WAAY 31 losing one person to a dog attack is too many, but losing two is an even bigger problem; and he says something definitely needs to be done about it.

“Emily was just a light to everybody’s world."

That’s what Tiger Frazier had to say about her friend, Emily Colvin, who was attacked and killed by dogs in Jackson County back in December.

“She cared about everything in this world," Frazier added.

That’s why she’s hoping something will be done about what she calls the unnecessary death of her friend.

And she’s not the only one who feels that way.

“It’s tragic. I mean, the issues that’s happened in our area when somebody’s in their own yard and gets attacked by an animal and loses their life, it’s just something that should not be happening," says House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter.

He says owners of dangerous animals need to be held responsible for their animals’ actions.

And Frazier agrees.

“Families are losing people, losing their loved one, but yet the owner of the dogs—or a dog—they’re not losing anything," she said.

That’s why Ledbetter is a part of a group trying to prevent these kinds of attacks from happening again.

He, along with several other state and local leaders, formed a study group that will draft and introduce a bill that would increase the penalties on owners of dogs who attack people.

“Let people know that if you’re going to have those type of dogs, and you let them get out and out of control, there’s a penalty and price that has to be paid," Ledbetter said.

“I know it’ll just help the family heal better and not just: ‘we lost somebody but they’re just sitting over there and not being punished for it or anything,'" Frazier added.

Ledbetter says he thinks the harsher punishments--that could include jail time and fines--would impact the way people handle their dogs.

And Frazier agrees.

"For the most part, I think everybody will just be scared probably to not go to jail just because of a dog," she said.

Ledbetter says he expects a lot of support for this legislation, and he’s hoping the draft of the bill will be finalized within the next few days.

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