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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