Ga. Senate passes vicious-dog bill 50-1From Morris News Service
ATLANTA – The Georgia Senate voted 50-1 Monday to pass legislation that would charge a dog owner with a felony for its second attack on a human.
The bill was inspired by recent reports of children in Savannah and Atlanta who were attacked by dogs that had been involved in previous incidents.
Current law already creates a mechanism for a court to declare a dog as “vicious” after a first attack on a person. House Bill 685 would boost the penalties for human attacks by a dog declared vicious.
Sen. Jesse Stone, R-Waynesboro, succeeded in amending the bill to exempt so-called working dogs, such as guide dogs for the blind, companion dogs for the handicapped and even dogs used in herding sheep.
“Dogs can kill, as much as I love ‘em,” said Sen. Steve Thompson, D-Marietta. “I’ve just got to say that on behalf of my own dogs.”
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle lightened the mood by responding, “Any other senator wish to speak on behalf of their dog.”
fter the Senate changed the version passed by the House earlier, the bill now must return to the House for another vote. Then it will go to the governor’s desk for his signature in order to become law.