Vigil held on birthday of victim of dog attack

By: Liz Tedone
By: Liz Tedone

Knoxville (WVLT) - Another dog mauling victim would have turned 22 on Monday. Jennifer Lowe was killed back in November by at least two pitbulls, owned by her roommate.

Monday night, her family is remembering her and pushing for change.

Volunteer TV's Liz Tedone has more.

Jennifer Lowe's family doesn't want us to forget her. Monday night they celebrated what would have been her 22nd birthday in a candlelight vigil downtown. They're hoping to bring more attention to the laws surrounding dangerous dogs.

Jennifer Lowe's family is still aching for the dear girl they've lost, and for better laws to protect everyone from dangerous dogs.

"We have not had any closure with this so far with Jennifer's death, you know, it's very tragic how it happened," uncle James Pipes said.

The five pitbulls Jennifer was living with inside this Knox County trailer suddenly turned on her and took her life. Her roommate and the dog's owner, Charles Smallwood, was ordered by Knox County Animal Control back in August to keep the dogs under control. This after they bit another dog in the neighborhood, but just days before Jennifer died, control officers say they found Smallwood playing in the yard with the dogs without a leash and or a muzzle. The current county dangerous dog ordinance didn't give officers the power to seize the dogs.

"Yeah if they would have taken the dogs when they drove past and when they seen the boy playing with the dogs, then Jennifer would still be alive today," aunt Henrietta Bowe said.

Knox County Commission will be hearing a second reading of a newly proposed dangerous dog ordinance. Among related items, it gives animal control officers more recourse when dealing with owners of dogs classified as dangerous.

"It's just hard knowing what she went through," Bowe said.

Under the newly proposed ordinance, officers would have been able to seize the dogs in Jennifer's trailer, issue Smallwood a citation, and keep the dogs until a hearing. At the end of the month, Knox County Commissioners will hear a second reading of these proposed changes, and we understand the ultimate goal is to combine city and county dog ordinances in the future.

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