Dangerous Dog Bill Dies With A Whimper

Monday, February 19th 2007, 7:53 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A state lawmaker said Monday he is encouraging an initiative petition to ban pit bulls after legislation that would give cities and towns authority to control dangerous dogs died in a state House committee.

Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, R-Moore, also urged city officials to defy state law and pass local ordinances to control dangerous dogs in their communities. Currently, the authority to regulate danagerous dogs lies exlusively with state lawmakers.

``Cities should decide what dogs they let reside in their area,'' Wesselhoft said. ``I want to see this go to the state Supreme Court. It is unconstitutional for the state to be able to restrict the cities from protecting its residents.''

Wesselhoft's bill died in the House County and Municipal Government Subcommittee when a motion to pass it failed to receive a second. The same committee took no action on the bill last week.

Wesselhoft said he named the measure Cody's Law after 3-year-old Cody Yelton, whose left arm was amputated at the shoulder following an attack by a pit bull in June 2005. Cody suffered severe bites from four pit bulls when he put his arm through a neighbor's chain-link fence.

In a separate incident six months later, a 4-year-old boy, Cody Tyler Adair, died when he was attacked by a pit bull at his uncle's home in Bartlesville.

Wesselhoft said a survey by Snodgrass and Associates showed that 74 percent of Oklahomans favor stiffer penalties and restrictions for attack dogs.