Local News

Senate Approves Bill to Curb Animal Attacks, Cruelty

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): A bill authored by Senator Tom Wyss to curb dog attacks and animal cruelty has passed the Indiana Senate in a 37-11 vote. Senate Bill 251 would make it a Level 6 felony if a person recklessly, knowingly or intentionally fails to restrain a dog, and the dog attacks an individual, which results in serious bodily injury or death. Right now, this is categorized as a Class A misdemeanor for serious bodily injury. The legislation would provide that an individual who mutilates a vertebrate animal with the intent to threaten or terrorize a family member commits a Level 6 felony. Wyss said he authored the measure on behalf of the Fort Wayne and Allen County animal control departments. He thought the bill would give more accountability to dog owners, as well as support to victims of animal attacks.

“When a dog kills or injures a person, the dog is often punished while its careless owner is let off the hook,” Wyss said. “That’s unacceptable. My legislation would hold these owners accountable for their pets’ actions and hopefully prevent these incidents from happening.”

SB 251 now moves to the House of Representatives for more consideration. State Reps. Martin Carbaugh and Phil GiaQuinta are its sponsors.

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