Lawmaker Proposing Stiffer Penalties for Owners of Dangerous Dogs

By: Brad Broders
By: Brad Broders

Most of the time, dogs are a man's best friend. Until, on those rare instances, they become a person's worst enemy. That's why an Illinois lawmaker wants to crack down on dog owners, whose unattended canines wreak havoc on innocent bystanders.

"We gotta throw the book at them, because these attacks have seemed to increase as the last few years have gone by," Illinois State Representative Mike Boland said.

The legislation would go after owners of vicious dogs that aren't fixed. It would mean heavier fines and even prison time.

"The responsibility is for the owner. Keep your animal confined and away from the public, and we'll make a big dent in the amount of animal bites and attacks that's occurring here in Winnebago County," Animal Services Director Gary Longanecker said.

However, Winnebago County Animal Services Director Gary Longanecker says Boland's legislation isn't tough enough. He says a broader dog owner bill - that has broader support - is already been discussed downstate.

However, Boland says more than 70 percent of dog bites come from un-neutered dogs. He believes his proposal has a better chance of getting passed in spring session than one that includes both altered and unaltered animals.

"That bill will probably not go anywhere, because of opposition from farmers, and from many dog owners," Boland said.

A proposed crackdown on irresponsible dog owners, whose rambunctious pets run the risk of serious injury, or even death.

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