Dog Owners Face Life In Jail If Pet Kills Child Or Elderly

AUSTIN (AP) – Dog owners could face life in prison if their dog kills an infant or an elderly person.

If the attack results in serious injury, the possibly penalty is third degree felony.

In a bill passed Tuesday, owners of a dog that kills a child under the age of 18 or an adult older than 65 can be charged with a first degree felony. The maximum sentence for a first degree felony is life in prison.

The bill was authored by state Rep. Chuck Hopson, a Jacksonville Republican. The House approved the bill on a 123-7 vote.

Following a procedural vote, the measure will go to the senate for consideration.

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One Comment

  1. Yellil says:

    Way to go, Rep. Hopson! We appreciate you looking out for those who cannot protect themselves. In your district there has been needless loss of life and we hope this will make pet owners think twice about their animals and their responsibilities.

  2. 2sister says:

    I wonder what the limits are. For example, does the dog have to have a history of being violent? Would the owner be in trouble if the dog attacked a burglar or someone who was assaulting the owner?

  3. JB says:

    This is so far out of the park..This law is geared toward pitbulls and pitbulls only. SAD

    1. Gumby Rules says:

      Not necesarily. There are several breeds of dogs withy known violent tendencies. Rotty’s, Huskies, Shephjerds, Dobies, Chows; just to name a few.

      Some are more protective like dalmations and boxers.

      Some are more aggressive.

      Check out: for the top ten breeds.

      Still, it is best for the owner to take and keep control of their dogs. If they fail they should be punished.

  4. A says:

    This is just stupid. A pet owner can only do so much.. accidents happen. And usually dogs won’t attack unless provoked. Dogs may be domesticated, but they’re still unpredictable animals. Even the nicest of dogs can turn on people.

    This is almost like saying “if you’re friends with someone, and that friend commits a crime, you go to jail for being their friend.”

    1. A says:

      Since I expect someone to reply “yeah but you’re not responsible for your friends, you ARE responsible for your pet”. Change my friend analogy to a child analogy. “If your child commits a crime, you go to jail for being their parent.”

      1. Gumby Rules says:

        Have any kids in secondary or high school.

        See what happens when they become truants.

        The parent(s) get fined for repeat offenses.

        And, yes, it is the dog’s owner who is responsible for keeping their animal under control, not the public. When the public becomes responsible for the animal(s) then we get laws to punish.

        Try thinking aobut this for a while.

    2. Cathy Dean Musgrave says:

      Oh really? Well, if your child was attacked by a neighbors dog, I bet you’d be saying something different! My grandchild had his lips bitten off by the next door neighbor’s dog. He was playing with the little boy in his house and the dog attacked him. It was horrible. He will never have the same smile again. Multiple surgeries and still not corrected.

  5. j says:

    I agree with the premise but why the age exceptions? If you have dogs you must be responsible regardless of breed. If people are now facing these stiff penalties, maybe pit bulls and the like will not be so stygmatized since the irresponsible owners would be facing time.

  6. C Bauer says:

    Was there some peyote in my orange juice this morning, or is that dog greenish-yellow?

    1. Robin says:

      Yep, that’s a yellow pit bull!

      1. C Bauer says:

        Whew! Thanks.

  7. L G M says:

    This is yet again another emotion driven bill that should be voted down and I am sure attorneys will have a field day challenging it in court. Additionally, why is the law only geared toward infants and elderly, what about everyone else the handicap, women, men under 150 lbs, the list could go on. There are already laws in place to deal with negligent pet owners and negligent parents this is no pun intended “over-kill”.

  8. scott muirhead says:

    youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu suckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk arnie rules and ennis texas

  9. scott muirhead says:


  10. Dianne says:

    I protest the picture you chose…it suggests pit bulls are violent. People die from incidents with all kinds of dogs. I fear my neighbor’s coon hound. This is a very negative presentation. A law can be good. Your piece stinks.

  11. Nancy says:

    Let’s hope there are some limits on this sweeping legislation. For example, if you have secured your dog in your backyard and some kids decide to climb your fence and interact with the dog without your knowledge, I don’t see how anyone is responsible except the kids who went over your fence. A lot of dog bites are provoked by children who are taunting, abusing, or otherwise harassing dogs. Any dog will bite, and sometimes these bites come out of fear or a self-defense. No child deserves to be killed by a dog, even a child who is acting ignorantly or irresponsibly, but the owner in these instances should not be at fault.

  12. Good Dog says:

    If my dog attacks an intruder who is under 18, do I have to finish them off myself in order to not go to prison?

Comments are closed.

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