State officials draft bill to hold pet owners liable for dog attacks

JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. -- State officials are drafting a bill to help put a stop to vicious dog attacks. Numerous cities across the state have seen attacks occur, some have even turned deadly.

"One life lost is too many," said Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter. "I think it's just become such a problem in Alabama, it's not just north Alabama.

Ledbetter said he's received several messages from people all over the state who want stricter punishments for dog attacks. He said he went straight to work with the state's district attorney's office to draft up a bill to vote on during this year's session.

"We got a bill that will hold the owner liable. If you're the one feeding it and keeping the dog up, you're the owner. That's the way this bill reads. It has changed it from a class C felony to a class B felony so that you can serve time," explained Ledbetter.

When a person is taken to court for their dog's actions, the bill gives the judge permission to euthanize the animal, especially if the animal killed a person.

"We will finish the draft Tuesday. It's a good possibility that I will drop the bill this coming Tuesday," said Ledbetter. Once the bill is introduced to the House and Senate it will be up to them to put the law in motion.

"At the end of the day, if you own a vicious dog, it's your responsibility to keep it up and keep it where it won't harm anybody," said Nathaniel Ledbetter.

Ledbetter added that holding people accountable for their pets is the key to helping stop these type of attacks.