County Gives Dangerous Dogs a Second Leash on Life

Doggie Death Row law overturned in Broward

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Pooches in Broward County will get a second chance to stay off doggie death row after commissioners voted to change the county's strict "one bite and you're out" dangerous dog law.

Despite some emotional pleas from concerned pet owners, commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to change the standard for a dangerous dog to two attacks.

Under the change, a dog wouldn't be euthanized until after a second attack, which is the law in Florida.

Some dogs could still be put down after the first bite, but only if they attack and severely injure a human. The law is more lenient if the dog attacks another pet, which angered some at the public hearing.

Natalie Cooke, whose cat and dog were viciously attacked by a pack of roving dogs, complained that the law protects dangerous animals instead of the pets and pet owners who follow the rules.

But many pet owners and animal activists have been critical of the old law, particularly after a deadly confrontation last year involving two Broward dogs.

Husky mix Brandie had been put on doggie death row for killing Jack, a 3-pound poodle, during a confrontation last May.

Owner Lon Lipsky said Brandie was on a leash, and that she's harmless and was provoked when the small poodle came running towards her without a leash on. Jack's owners said he didn't provoke Brandie.

After months on doggie death row, Brandie was finally released from a kennel in December. 

Over 50 dogs have been killed since the tougher law went into effect.

Commissioner Chip LaMarca, who got commissioners to agree to ask the county attorney to draft more lenient options, said in December that the law is too harsh.
 
"I don't think the county should be in the dog execution business," he said.

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