Wednesday, October 31, 2007
The Virginia Court of Appeals recently upheld a felony conviction of a pit bull attack that killed a woman. This marks the first use of Virginia's new felony punishment for dog owners who recklessly allow their dogs to run at-large. The sentence includes a three year prison term and a $500 dollar fine.
The precedent-setting involuntary manslaughter conviction of a Spotsylvania County woman whose pit bulls killed a neighbor was upheld yesterday in the Virginia Court of Appeals. Deanna Hilda Large, 39, was also convicted in the trial two years ago of two misdemeanor counts of allowing dogs to run at-large, but she did not appeal those. Judges yesterday ruled against Large, saying her claims of insufficient evidence had no merit. Fredericksburg.comThe victim's family is also suing the Spotsylvania County for $5 million dollars. The suit alleges that the Animal Control officers in Spotsylvania were negligent in preventing the attacks because they knew the dogs were dangerous and didn't do something sooner.
Other victims across the country have also tried this route -- sue the county or city whose AC officers were negligent. If nothing else, this type of lawsuit gets the attention of local officials and stricter dog owner legislation usually follows.
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