Legislature Looks To Put Bite On Lax Dog Owners

Nashville, Tenn. (AP) -- State senators heard testimony today on various dog-related bills, including those that would increase the penalty for watching a dog fight and impose stricter liability on the owners of dogs who injure people.

The four bills proposed by Senator Doug Jackson of Dickson passed unanimously in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Several dog-bite victims testified, including a Nashville teenager who was two years old when he was attacked by his neighbor's two rottweilers in 1994.

Fifteen-year-old Tyler Throneberry said such dogs should be off the streets so kids and parents don't have to worry.

The committee meeting came a few weeks after a 59-year-old Memphis man was mauled by two pit bulls after he got off a bus. The dogs ripped off James Chapple's hand, and doctors had to amputate his lower left arm.

Chapple did not attend the meeting in Nashville, but testified in a video.

In his words, "I tried to run but it wasn't any use. Once they get hold of you, they don't turn you loose. I thought I was dead."

Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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