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Old 01-22-2009, 01:32 AM   #1
JamesG
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Default "Lillian's Law" Passed In Texas; When Dogs Attack, The Owners Get Prison Time

What do you think of this? Should dog owners serve time for their dog's actions?


When dogs attack, owners can go to prison
05:49 PM CST on Monday, January 19, 2009

By JIM DOUGLAS / WFAA-TV



BRECKENRIDGE — Every year, 800,000 Americans are bitten by dogs; half of the victims are children.

Now, a new law in Texas is putting dog owners like Crystal Watson in prison.

"I'm scared," Watson said. "I've got three kids who are going to be without a mom to be there for them."

Watson was sentenced to seven years in prison; that's part of the reason she can't stop crying.

The main reason, she says, is she can't stop thinking about a little boy who used to play at her house with her kids.



Tanner Monk, 7, was mauled to death by four dogs owned by Crystal Watson and her fiance, Jack Smith.

The couple, now free on an appeals bond, are the first sent to prison under "Lillian's law," named for Lillian Stiles, who also was killed by a pack of dogs.

The legislation is an effort to reduce the incidence of maulings by locking up the owners.

"They were never agressive; never seen them agressive," Watson said. "Never bit no one."




Tanner Monk died in a dog attack last May. That doesn't matter.

Watson and Smith's four four pit bulls savagely attacked Tanner Monk last May near his home outside Breckenridge.

By the time medics reached the little boy, there was nothing they could do for him. He was already dead.

The scene was so gruesome that even seasoned emergency responders broke down and cried.

"Oh, it was terrible," said Stephens County Deputy Caleb Hodges. "Something you can't even imagine unless you've seen the pictures."

Hodges said responding lawmen had to shoot two of the dogs to protect themselves; the other two were captured and euthanized.

Crystal Watson said she didn't think twice about how her dogs were kept. "We lived out in the country. Everyone's dog ran loose — not just ours," she said.



But under Lillian's law, if dogs get off their property and make an "unprovoked" attack, owners now face up to 20 years in prison.

Steve Bristow prosecuted the Tanner Monk case, and summed it up in four short sentences: "They had dogs. They didn't secure them. They caused a death. They went to prison."

But defense attorney John Young says Lillian's law is a bad law. "In this case, we are sending Jack and Crystal to prison for seven years because they failed to maintain a fence."

Young said the law does not define the word "provoke." Could the little boy have unknowingly provoked the attack by simply peeking at one dog's puppies?

No one knows, because no one saw how it started.

"So what the law does, essentially, is require jurors to get into the mind of a dog," Young said.

But Steve Bristow defended the legislation. "I think that's a good law," he said. "You need to be held responsible."

The prosecutor concedes that Lillian's law does have problems, including the fact that not enough dog owners are aware of the stiff penalties that could could encourage them to be more responsible about securing their pets.

http://www.wfaa.com/sharedcontent/dw...o.d99567f.html
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Old 01-22-2009, 01:56 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesG
What do you think of this? Should dog owners serve time for their dog's actions?

If the dog causes serious injury or death then yes the owner should be punished. A pitbull, rottweiller or other mean-tempered dog has no business running loose regardless of where the owner lives. This is one reason why I hate most dogs and I was mauled when I was 2 years old but I have no memory of it.
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Old 01-22-2009, 03:48 AM   #3
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I have mixed feeling about dogs.

I don't like it when other people treat dogs in a bad way (see Vick, Michael), but I am absolutely TERRIFIED of all dogs and wish some of the dogs that are truly vicious or evil would die so they can't kill others.
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Old 01-22-2009, 03:52 AM   #4
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I know people value pets a lot, but if I had to save my parents or a dog from a fire, I'd save my parents. I feel that dogs can cause more harm than good.
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Old 01-22-2009, 04:30 AM   #5
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Hard decision on one hand you have a 7yr old boy who doesn't know what prevoke is, a curious mind wanting to see a puppy. The other hand, his parents should not have let him go over there in the first place knowing that couple had pitbulls as pets.
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoneboy
If the dog causes serious injury or death then yes the owner should be punished. A pitbull, rottweiller or other mean-tempered dog has no business running loose regardless of where the owner lives. This is one reason why I hate most dogs and I was mauled when I was 2 years old but I have no memory of it.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:25 AM   #7
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Yes I think it is a good law. So many people have been attacked by dogs and the owners should be held responsible.
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:34 AM   #8
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in every single case like this i hear about, the owner of the pit bull always says it was unexpected because the dog had never been vicious before. when are people going to get a clue?
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:09 PM   #9
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Pitbulls in themselves are not vicious dogs. It primarily has to do with the
way they were trained. That is why the world of dog fighting is such an
evil world. The people who train these dogs train them for one purpose only-
to kill. Why aren't they doing more prison time? I am not going to dispute
whether or not this couple broke the law because I know that people on
here are going to have their own opinions about it. What saddens me is that
three young children are going to be separated from their parents and that
is truly sad and truly tragic.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FSU
I feel that dogs can cause more harm than good.

Not always true. It completely depends on the people that care for them from the time they're puppies- it's nurture over nature with dogs. I know plenty of pit bulls that are sweethearts because their owners were never aggressive towards them or taught them how to fight.
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:12 PM   #11
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Yet one more act of accountability that makes no sense. I remember being attacked by a dog when I was about 12, but I deserved it - I was running away from it, which is one thing you should NEVER do, no matter how docile it usually is. Dogs have instincts, just like any other living creature - and they will follow those before following any trainer's commands.
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
Pitbulls in themselves are not vicious dogs. It primarily has to do with the
way they were trained.

Quote:
Originally Posted by littlebelle
It completely depends on the people that care for them from the time they're puppies- it's nurture over nature with dogs.

Sorry but this isn't the case with pitbulls, This breed of dog will attack especially when provoked regardless of whether or not the owner has trained it to fight. The owners of the pitbulls that killed that child claimed they were never aggressive but all it took was one innocent action from that child and they descended on him like a pack of wolves. Also, most dog attacks that are reported on the news whether fatal or not are almost always caused by pitbulls or rottweillers. Bottom line: pitbulls don't have to be trained to fight, it's in their nature and will do so and more often than not without provocation.
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:40 PM   #13
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I'm an animal lover and I love dogs but their are supposed to be leash laws and people just don't always follow them. When I was a kid in N.C. dogs were always running loose. Many of them chased after me. If a dog who is not on a leash attacks somebody and hurts or kills them, then the owners should be held responsible. I have a different opinion if the attack is in the dog's own yard.
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Old 01-24-2009, 02:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clint Eastwood Fan
I'm an animal lover and I love dogs but their are supposed to be leash laws and people just don't always follow them. If a dog who is not on a leash attacks somebody and hurts or kills them, then the owners should be held responsible. I have a different opinion if the attack is in the dog's own yard.
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Old 01-24-2009, 06:27 PM   #15
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I have a German Shepherd that is the most loving dog towards my wife and I. He doesn't leave my sight around strangers or kids, he's never shown any aggression, but I'm not taking any chances. I think Dog owners should be held responsible.
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