State lawmaker wants bite law changed

By: Teddy Safo Email
By: Teddy Safo Email

LONE GROVE, Okla. -- After a Tishomingo boy was mauled by a pit bull earlier in the week, an Oklahoma state lawmaker says it's time make pet owners more responsible for the actions of their dogs.

State Representative Paul Wesselhoft says he has heard too many incidents of pit bulls attacking, and the current "First Bite is Free" Law needs to be revised.

Wesselhoft says he wants to make pet owners felons if their animals attack.

Wesselhoft calls his bill the "First Bite Felony," which calls for owners to face stiffer penalties if their dogs attack anyone unprovoked, putting the victim into a hospital. The attack has to occur outside the pet owner’s property.

The bill calls for a mandatory one-year sentence and a $10,000 fine.

In the case of the 10-year old Tishomingo boy who was attacked earlier this week, he suffered severe injuries to his face which Tishomingo officials say will require reconstructive surgery to repair the boy’s upper lip.

While pit bulls appear to be one of the more common types of dogs involved in brutal attacks, Wesselhoft stresses his bill is not breed specific.

"I’m not going after the breed. I’m going after the owners," says the District 54 Representative.

The Tishomingo ten-year old is recovering at home, and his healing will be a long road.

The dog that attacked him has been euthanized, and its owner was arrested.

Despite these recent events, Wesselhoft's proposal won't be presented to lawmakers until next year's legislative session.


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  • by ss Location: Britton on Jan 10, 2008 at 04:30 AM
    Wesselhoff is a pansy primadonna. The only reason he does this crazy stuff is so he can get his mug on television--and because his dumb constituents keep electing him. He's the Ron Goldman of OK politics. He and Randy Terrier can be seen jello wrestling on most Sunday mornings. They can't tell us all who to vote for--but if they pass enough stupid laws they can make everyone into a felon who has lost the right to vote. I think this is their real goal.
  • by Matt Location: Ardmore on Aug 8, 2007 at 02:53 PM
    I own dogs of one of the bull & terrier crosses and I say if the animal has a temperament in question towards humans, put it down! There are too many idiots to blame out there that own potentially dangerous breeds that have trouble taking care of themselves let alone worring about a childs safety. I say make it more difficult for owners to own these types of breeds! It is irresponsible ownership the gives us respectable bully enthusiasts and our beloved breeds a bad rap!
  • by The Boy's Mentor Location: Oklahoma on Jul 25, 2007 at 05:22 AM
    The boy is doing good and has gotten all the stitches out. What has happened hasn't slowed him down much other then having to miss camp because of all this. Thanks to those who have been concerned. (about the boy that is)
  • by ROBIN Location: DURANT on Jul 24, 2007 at 07:28 AM
    NOT SAYING ANYTHING ABOUT PIT BULLS JUST VIOLENT ANIMALS IN GENERAL IN TRAINED MY DOGS WHEN THEY WERE PUPS NOT TO BE MEAN I CAN PUT MY HANDS IN THERE BOWLES WHILE THEY ARE EATING IF PEOPLE THINK THEY NEED MEAN DOGS THEY SHOULD HELD RESPONSIBLE WOULD YOU WANT TO BE MAULED BY A DOG MY KIDS CAN PLAY IN OUR DOGS FACES GROWLING SIT ON THEM AND THE DOGS COME BACK FOR MORE THEY WERENT RAISED TO BE MEAN OR THREATEND KEEP YOU DOGS UNDER A LEASH FENCED IN YARD INSIDE OR TRAIN THEM PROPERLY YOU NEED A WATCH DOG GET A SECURITY SYSTEM OR ANOTHER WAY TO FIGHT INTRUSION
  • by Anonymous Location: Oklahoma on Jul 20, 2007 at 09:39 PM
    Why is it that so many people in this country knock "PIT BULLS", saying they are the most aggressive dog ever bred. What about those so lovable Labs that everyone talks about, well I got news for some people I would never own any other breed of dog but a Pit Bull. One of those lovable labs that are so highly talked about attacked my brother when he was about three jumped out of the back of his owners truck and bit my brother in the face almost taking his eye with is bite. I own seven Pit Bulls and would trust them to babysit my daughter and younger family members before I would trust a so called licensed sitter. There needs to be more postings about all dogs that attack whether they weigh one pound or one hundred pounds. People need to be more educated on the Pit Bulls because all people hear about Pit Bulls is that they are aggressive they never hear about the Pit Bulls that save lives and protect their family from being harmed. My dogs would give their lives for my family. My oldest Pit stepped in front of me one evening when there was an "unnamed person" who forced their way into my home and then pulled a gun an allowed he was going to shoot if I didn't back off, if it wasn't for my Pit I would be dead, when the unnamed person seen him step in front of me he backed off. Enough said, not all Pit Bulls are aggressive. Its all in how they are raised and treated. Just like us humans.
  • by Logical Thinker Location: Texas on Jul 20, 2007 at 01:19 PM
    Wesselhoft is also trying to get a REDICULOUS law made for no texting while driving. Wesselhoft keeps coming up with all these off-beat, stupid "laws" that there are already laws to govern that just need to be inforced! He needs to spend more time inforcing old laws than trying to make a name for himself by coming up with these crazy laws. Thank Heaven I live in Texas, because I would never let a man like that govern me! I feel for you Oklahomans, that man is truely an IDIOT.
  • by Chris Location: Ardmore on Jul 20, 2007 at 08:21 AM
    Wesselhoff already went after the breed once, and it got shot down. He's on the right track now by going after bad owner's. It's not the breed, it's how they are raised. I own 6 and would trust them with anyone's children.
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