Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Omaha, NE - At first glance, the passing of the new Nebraska law did not register well. The article reported: "Under the bill (LB494) sent to Gov. Dave Heineman for his approval, the owner of a dog deemed dangerous because of a previous attack could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine if the dog attacked again and injured someone. After a third attack by the dog, the owner could face a felony penalty of up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine."
Upon reading the bill, several clarifications were learned. Most importantly, the bill pertains to any dog deemed dangerous that is owned by the same person. For example, if the owner's pit bull killed a neighbor's dog (1 dog deemed "dangerous") and the owner's rottweiler attacked the mailman (1 dog deemed "dangerous"), the offending dog owner would still be subject to the first tier of penalties. In essence, the new law creates a sticky factor for the dog owner.
In many states, once a dog is deemed dangerous, the owner puts the animal down. When this happens, the "dangerous" label vanishes with the dog. This owner is then free to go out and buy a new aggressive dog. If the new dog attacks, the legal process begins again without a sticky factor. LB494 targets repeat offenders, by 1.) Prohibiting ownership of a dangerous dog for 10 years if the owner has a prior conviction 2.) Penalizing an owner with a history of attacking dogs.
Sec. 13. (1) Any owner whose dangerous dog (1st victim was created to gain the "dangerous" label) inflicts on a human being a serious bodily injury (2nd victim was created) as defined in section 28-109 is guilty of a Class I misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class IV felony for a second (3rd victim was created) or subsequent offense, whether or not the same dangerous dog is involved.The new law is a step in the right direction in that it focuses on repeat offenders, who clearly present a great danger to the community. But the penalties, particularly the first tier, do not nearly go far enough. Two victims -- that suffer "sutures or surgery or treatment or one or more broken bones" -- must be created before the misdemeanor charges apply (up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine), and a third victim for the felony charges to apply (up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine).
09/07/08: "Vicious" Dog Laws Stop at State Lines; Pit Bull-Mix Whisked to New State
06/28/08: Coverage of the Omaha Pit Bull Attack - DogsBite.org
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| 5/19/2009 12:44 PM |
This "baby steps" bill (more like insect steps) is also contingent on convictions of prior offenses. These convictions are not so simple to gain. Many dog attacks are only witnessed by the victim and the dog. How then can one prove that the attack was unprovoked (which is mandatory to gain a conviction)? This situation is worse when it involves a child victim (as it often does), who is nearly always blamed as a provoker. The first tier penalties for this new state law are definitely too low. State law, however, is often "base law," in that counties and cities can add more requirements/penalties to it. Hopefully this is the case, and hopefully, Nebraska cities will do so.
| 5/20/2009 2:07 AM |
In the case of pit bulls, this bill is too reactive and not proactive enough. There's no room for a first event where pit bulls are concerned. Action after the fact is not prevention. We remove drunk drivers from the road, not just drunk drivers who have crashed.
Pit bull ownership is the drunk driving of pet ownership, and that's what needs to stop. Something is better than nothing, but an outright ban is what needs to happen.
| 5/20/2009 3:20 AM |
In years past, these hindsight provisions may have worked. Unfortunately, with todays Pit Bulls, the "first bite" is likely to be six figure mauling.
Wolf hybrid regulations work great!
Prevent the Deed, Regulate the Breed.
| 5/20/2009 7:12 AM |
Prevention is the key. With these maulers, the first bite could mean death for the victim! Or years of reconstructive surgery and pt. My sister lives in Omaha, and her next door neighbors had two pits. They barked liked crazy everytime someone went out the backdoor. They had a four foot chain link fence. These dogs were not abused, and the neighbors were not drug dealers. But I was still scared of those beasts, and am glad those people moved!
| 5/20/2009 1:32 PM |
In the first reading of the bill, it was only "two" victims prior to receiving a Class IV felony. You can see how the influential aggressive dog lobby works -- NOT to sufficiently punish dog owners -- NOT to "punish the deed."
"Sec. 6. Any owner whose dangerous dog inflicts on a human being an injury which includes mutilation or the loss of a body part is guilty of a Class IV felony."
| 5/20/2009 2:04 PM |
Good eye Trigger. It was Senator John Wightman (District 36) that amended the original bill to ensure that THREE victims suffered serious injury prior to a dog owner receiving a Class VI felony instead of TWO victims.
AMENDMENTS TO LB 494
Introduced by Wightman, 36.
1. On page 5, line 4, strike "Class IV felony" and insert "Class I misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class IV felony for a second or subsequent offense, whether or not the same dangerous dog is involved".
| 5/21/2009 4:27 AM |
Just like White Wash Jimmy down in Bay County FL...Under his new law a dog gets three kills of domestic animals before being euthanized. A law only a Pit Bull lover could support!
Punish the Deed my azz!
| 5/21/2009 12:50 PM |
Holly Stump, a pit bull breeder in Ipswich Ma (member of NAIA) tried this stunt with her Rep, Brad Hill. Where the dog would have multiple bit oks, get its record wiped clean after a short period, and if it got some kind of worthless training certificate it would get wiped clean
It got shot down
The dog breeders try to get gutted, worthless bills in place with their pocket legislators to protect them and their aggressive dogs