First Arrest Under Harsh New Texas Law

A Texas man whose pit bull mauled a 12-year-old boy was arrested on felony “attack by dog” charges Friday. He appears to be the first person who has been charged under “Lilian’s Law,” which makes it a felony in Texas if a dog owner, through criminal negligence, fails to prevent his dog from escaping and the dog injures or kills a person. (Click here to read the article.)

The third-degree felony charge can bring a sentence of two to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If the victim dies, a dog owner can be charged with a second-degree felony, which could bring up to 20 years in prison.

In 2007, Texas led the nation in canine homicides. Fatal dog attacks have increased in the USA from 15 to 20 per year in the 1990s, to 30 to 35 per year during the past several years. There is nearly universal agreement that dog owners are responsible for vicious behavior by domestic dogs. (For more, see Dangerous and Vicious Dogs on the main site.)