It’s been more than a year since a loose pit bull attacked and killed a Glendale couple’s miniature poodle Fabian. The couple is now making a third attempt to pass a state law that would help prevent similar attacks in the future.
The legislation Richard and Sally Andrade have been working to pass would penalize owners of aggressive animals when that animal attacks another pet. They said the law would help keep both animals and humans safe.
“Even though this bill is [addressing] dog-on-dog attacks, in the long run it’s going to be a domino effect,” Sally Andrade said.
By: Haley Buntrock
By making dog owners more responsible, the number of dog attacks will decrease overall, making humans and other pets safer, Sally Andrade said.
“When you lose a dog to a dog-on-dog attack, it has a big impact,” Richard Andrade said. “For me to come home and see him gone, it was hard. He was my little buddy.”
Fabian’s Law, named after the couple’s deceased pet and sponsored by Rep. Steve Montenegro, R-Litchfield Park, was introduced twice in the last two legislative sessions. The bill failed to make it through the Senate before the sessions ended.
According to Montenegro’s office, the bill is going to be reintroduced this session with few changes to the language.
Some counties have passed ordinances dealing with dog-on-dog attacks, but Maricopa County is not one of them.
Maricopa County Animal Care and Control Services can cite dog owners for a violation of leash laws when their dog gets loose. But they cannot penalize owners if their dog attacks another animal while loose, director Rodrigo Silva said.
“It is important to strengthen our laws as they relate to vicious and dangerous dogs,” Silva said. “I hope that this will occur soon.”
Mesa has an ordinance that states if an animal that has been declared “vicious” is loose and attacks another animal or human, the owner can be forced to pay restitution to the family of the attacked animal.
Mesa resident Karen Gleason’s Chihuahua, Tiny, was attacked and killed by two loose pit bulls that got into her yard through an unlatched gate. The dogs had collars and tags but ran away before Mesa Animal Control arrived. The pit bulls were not found after a search of the neighborhood.
“They were somebody’s dogs,” Gleason said. “Animal control here told me that they would pursue this civilly and criminally, so it’s different in Mesa than in most places in Arizona.”
She said while losing a pet is hard, losing one to a dog-on-dog attack is worse.
“It would be horrifying no matter what happened, but this is a whole different level,” Gleason said. “People have to be responsible. If I have a poodle and I know that dog bites and I let it out of the yard, I am responsible for what may happen.”
After the initial period of shock over the death of her dog, Gleason said she is now looking at the bigger picture.
“If you choose to own that type of aggressive animal, you’re going to be criminally responsible and even civilly responsible,” Gleason said.
The Andrades now have five miniature poodles and are still gathering signatures at pet stores for a petition to have this law passed.
“Hopefully we’re making our legislators more aware that people are concerned, that people are supporting this kind of measure,” Richard Andrade said.
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