Lawmakers target negligent dog owners

A pair of Georgia lawmakers are pushing legislation that would penalize negligent dog owners whose animals attack and either kill or seriously injure another person.

“Dog attacks typically should not happen because they are so easily preventable,” state Rep. Amy Carter, R-Valdosta, said in a statement.

“While we are all free to own any type of dog we wish, all dog owners must realize their responsibility to protect their family, neighbors, and the public at large from the possibility of being attacked and injured by their dog,” Carter added. “If you choose to own a dog, then you have a duty to secure the dog so that it cannot harm innocent people.”

Under HB 717, a dog owner can be charged with a felony and could face one to three years in prison and the possibility of a $20,000 fine.

“HB 717 is an opportunity for us to save innocent lives,” state Rep. Penny Houston, R-Nashville, said in a statement. “By reminding dog owners that they are responsible for their dog’s behavior, we should see a dramatic decrease in dog attacks. This legislation, which is similar to Texas legislation, will cause people to take their duties as a dog owner seriously by letting them know that they will be held accountable if their dog seriously hurts someone.”

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