Austin, TX- The Texas House approved a bill Tuesday that will hold dog owners accountable for injuries or death their dog may cause.
House Bill 1389 would hold dog owners responsible for vicious acts done by their dogs.
Dog owners could face a first degree felony charge if their dog kills a child under the age of 18 or an adult older than 65.
The bill says children and senior citizens are the most vulnerable to attacks.
The maximum sentence for the first degree felony charge could be a life in prison.
If a dog attacks results in a serious injury the penalty could be a third degree felony.
According to the bill the owner would have to show criminal negligence and fail to secure the dog.
The bill says the felony charge would apply if the attack is unprovoked and off of the owner's property.
Supporters say the House Bill would not punish responsible dog owners, but only those who knew their animal was dangerous and may attack.
Opponents say first-degree felonies are intentional crimes and would charge people will a crime they did not intentionally commit.
Opponents also say the bill would not protect people from potential attacks.
The bill passed the house on a 123-7 vote and will now go to the senate for a vote.
If it passes it would take effect September 1, 2011.
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