State Senator’s Office Drafts Bill to Deal with Dangerous Dogs After Attacks

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. “The state senator’s office is currently drafting a bill that would increase oversight of dangerous dogs and their owners.

It comes after a Putnam County postman was killed by dogs on his way last year and an 86-year-old veteran had to have his leg amputated after being attacked by neighborhood dogs earlier this year in Hawthorne, Florida.

Proposed changes to the law include creating a statewide dangerous dog registry similar to a sex offender registry, educating the public about where dangerous dogs are located, and creating strict rules for their owners.

Postman Pamela Rock was killed by dogs after her car broke down while delivering mail in Putnam County in Putnam County. She was a civil servant, an animal lover, and the child of a family of 14 children.

In May, Gertrude Bishop, a beloved mother and veteran known as “Ms. Terry” was at home, fetching water from the car when she was attacked by two dogs.

Her son Wayne Thomas said she was in a care and rehab center. He said she was tired but slowly recovering after having to have her leg amputated.

“Her right ear is completely missing. She has multiple bite wounds on all her limbs…on both arms, both legs,” Thomas said.

Rock also lost an arm and part of her leg, but ultimately did not survive.

Roca’s family believes her death is the result of overlapping policy failures, which they are now trying to remedy by tightening regulations on dangerous dogs that attack people or pets.

“If we had done any of this before, we wouldn’t have lost Pam,” her brother Tom Rock said.

They want Florida’s dangerous dog laws to be more like those of Virginia, which require them to be neutered or neutered, microchipped, insured up to $100,000, and listed on the Dangerous Dog Registry.

Their owners have to share their location, contact information, and what the dog has been doing, all posted online.

Their owners also have to pay annual fees, which go to a register maintained by the state.

“We can’t get Pam back, but I think that’s what the state of Florida really needs,” her brother Dick Rock said.

Thomas said his mother wants to work with the Rock family to push for changes in the law as soon as she is physically able.

In an email, aide to Senator Travis Hutson, a Republican representing Putnam, St. Johns and Flagler Counties, told News4JAX:

“We have received several suggestions from the Rock family about what they would like to see in the dangerous dog law. We are looking at several areas, including:

  • How to speed up the process of recognizing a dog as dangerous.

  • Creation of a national register of dangerous dogs

  • Mandatory spaying, castration and disclosure of bite history

We are currently working on a draft of this legislation and are working on the feasibility of various reforms,” said Senator Hutson.

Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.

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