Last summer, a Schenectady woman was attacked by three seemingly trained pit bulls who mauled her, dragging her by the head and seriously injuring her ears in the process. Prompted by that attack, an upstate politician has proposed new legislation that would allow cops to charge owners of dogs that injure people with a felony. “The Dangerous Dog Owner Deterrent Act targets criminally irresponsible dog owners who raise their dogs to be vicious weapons and is not limited to any one breed of dog because any dog can have a bad day,” said Assemblyman Jim Tedisco.
“Owning a companion animal is not a right but a privilege and it’s up to dog owners to be responsible for their pets. Dogs should be raised as companion pets, not trained to be killers,” said Tedisco. Tedisco has previously fought for Buster's Law—which created the felony category of aggravated cruelty to animals in 1999—as well as an animal advocacy day.
“Some dog owners create an environment that jeopardizes the safety of others. Recent incidents have demonstrated the need to strengthen the existing penalty levels in order to create a more effective deterrent and improve public safety,” said Sen. Hugh Farley, who will carry the bill in the Senate.
There have been several highly publicized tragic incidents involving dogs, including one in which a four-year-old Brooklyn boy was mauled to death by his family's pet dog, one in which a 62-year-old woman was bitten on her face, head, legs and arms, mangling her left arm badly, and one in which a man allegedly used his pit bull as a weapon to kill his roommate.