Lawmakers talk dangerous dog law - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lawmakers talk dangerous dog law

State lawmakers are discussing a bill that would create stiffer penalties for Georgians who let their dogs roam free. 

Some leaders say it's time for the state to crack down on people who don't control dangerous dogs.

The state wants you to control your dogs. The proposed bill would have any dog that is considered to be vicious must be euthanized after two attacks. South Georgians have mixed emotions about the bill.

The proposed bill comes after a girl in Decatur testified in a trial about losing her arm when a pit bull attacked her two years ago. The bill would classify dogs that attack as either dangerous or vicious. One Albany Vet says that will be difficult to enforce. 

"It's very difficult to make those definitions on what a vicious dog is," said Dr. Sonny Odom with Dockery, Odom, and Deriso. "What irresponsible is. I personally think that you have to look at where you are going to live. you have to take everything into consideration. You need to look at the breed. You need to look at the breed tendencies. Use that to guide which dog you get." 

But one Terrell County official thinks not enough people are choosing dogs carefully enough. After a Terrell County family lost thirty sheep to a pit bull attack last month, the chairman of the board of commissioners wants pit bulls out of the county. 

"I would really like to see pit bulls as a breed totally eliminated from Terrell County," said Wibur Gamble, Chairman of the Terrell Board of Commissioners. "I'm not sure that can be done. I think we are going to have to be really careful singling out a Pit bull because there might be some other dogs that are also included."

Dr. Odom says lawmakers must determine if they should help individual owners or the public as a whole. He says that all pit bulls are not dangerous. 

"There are breed tendencies," said Odom. "It's just like people or other things. You can make generalities about other folks, but not every individual fits that mold." 

Gamble says that some owners are just not responsible and there should be a higher cost to owning a dog that could severely hurt others. 

"I would like to see a million dollars worth of liability insurance," said Gamble. "If that dog did attack a child or did a lot of damage, particularly if it got a human being. You could run up a tremendous doctor bill."

Even if the state passes the bill, local governments could pass even stricter animal ordinances. 

We talked to a few Vets. They told us if one breed were to get banned, owners would keep them underground and they would be less likely to keep them healthy and up to date on shots. That may be one reason the state doesn't want to do that. 

Police and military dogs would be exempt under the state bill. 


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