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Rep. Anchia, Rafael

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REPRESENTATIVE ANCHIA JOINT-AUTHORS DOG MAULING BILL  print page

by: Rep. Anchia, Rafael
02/20/2007

~ HB 1355 Would Toughen Criminal Penalties Against Owners of Dogs That Make Unprovoked Attacks ~


Austin, Texas -- Representative Rafael Anchia has joint-authored House Bill 1355 that sends a strong message to irresponsible owners whose dogs cause serious bodily injury or death: "Properly secure your dog or face possible prison time." If the bill, co-authored by Representative Dan Gattis of Georgetown passes, owners of dogs that make unprovoked attacks on people at a location other than the owner's property could be charged with a third degree felony, punishable by a sentence of two to ten years. If such an attack results in a death, the charge would be a second degree felony, carrying a sentence of two to twenty years. The bill also provides for certain defenses such as for police and service dogs.

Commenting on the bill, Anchia said, "We've been hearing from constituents all over my district, in Oak Cliff and Northwest Dallas about problems with aggressive, unrestrained dogs, and it's past time to hold the owners accountable." He added, "This bill doesn't target a specific breed, but rather focuses attention on the owners, who have the responsibility to make sure their dogs are not a threat to the welfare of the community."

It is important to note that the bill does not criminalize every dog bite, but focuses on vicious, unprovoked attacks that cause death or serious bodily injury, which the law defines as "injury capable of causing death."

The bill is entitled "Lillian's Law" in memory of Mrs. Lillian Stiles, a 76 year-old Milam County woman who was mauled to death last November by six dogs who attacked her in her front yard.

Under current Texas law, the owner of the dogs that killed Ms. Stiles had no criminal liability in her death. That's because when a dog attacks a person in Texas, in order for the owner to be charged with a crime, it has to be proven that the owner had prior knowledge that the dog was "dangerous". To be considered "dangerous" the dog must have previously made an unprovoked attack on someone.

"This bill will close that gap in the current law" remarked Anchia. "What happened to Lillian Stiles is horrible and we must do whatever we can to stop these unprovoked attacks."


Representative Rafael Anchia is a former DISD school board trustee serving his second term in the Texas House and represents District 103 of Dallas County. Representative Anchia serves on the Elections, Financial Institutions and Local and Consent Calendars committees.


Contact: Tim Dickey
(512) 463 - 0746/(214) 649-2828 (cell)

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