Spurred by vicious dog attacks, the Senate on Thursday unanimously passed a bill that could send the animals’ owners to prison.
Dog owners could face felony charges the first time their pets attack and seriously injure or kill another person in an unprovoked attack. Under the current “one free bite” law, an owner can be charged with a misdemeanor only if their dog has already attacked someone or been deemed dangerous by a court or animal-control official.
House Bill 1335 returns to the House with Senate amendments that exempt attacks at dog shows, hunting outings, farm or ranch work and if the dog is on a leash or the owner is making reasonable attempts to regain control.
For serious injuries, an owner could be charged with a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Attacks involving death could bring a second-degree felony charge, with a maximum sentence of 20 years.
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