Pet owners upset over law stating a dog must attack twice before being labeled 'dangerous'

2009 changes to law were shortlived

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Six year old chow chow 'Ming' holds a special place in Sherry Leidig's heart. Ming came to live with Sherry after her last dog, Coco, was killed by two German shepards.

"She was still alive and we got her to the clinic and lost her. It was devastating, it broke our heart," said Leidig. 

Leidig has a hard time knowing the dogs responsible still live down the street. It takes two attacks for a dog to be labeled 'dangerous' by the state.

"The worst thing in my job is having to tell someone the state statute says the dog has to kill more than once before we can do anything," said Diane Sauve, Executive Director of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control.

Just last week a poodle was killed by three pit bulls in Lake Worth. The owners were fined, but the dogs remain at home.

Advocates for the two strikes rule want to give dogs a second chance. 

Sauve fought to strengthen the law. In 2009, Palm Beach County adopted an ordinance to label a dog as dangerous after just one attack. But that change was short-lived.

"Unfortunately, the 4th Court of Appeals ruled against a similar case in Broward County and the state called and said we were in conflict with the state statute," said Sauve.

"In order for the law to change a local legislator needs to sponsor a bill and take it to Tallahassee, and there isn't one to my knowledge right now," said Dave Walesky, of the Florida Animal Control Association.

That's unacceptable for Leidig, who doesn't want to see another deadly attack.

"They need to be taken care of and put down," said Leidig.

Print this article Back to Top