GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - After four large dogs mauled a grandmother to death this week, the dogs’ owner is behind bars. A Glendale woman says a law she helped create makes harsher punishments after dog attacks.
Sally Andrade is the proud dog mom of five miniature poodles, but 12 years ago she had a sixth poodle, Fabian. In 2009, Andrade took him out for a walk – on a leash – while she held another one of her puppies.
"I heard a dog growl and I turned, and that's when he just mauled Fabian,” she said. “It just happened so quick. Seconds." The much larger dog was new to the neighborhood, and its attack killed Fabian. For the next two years, Andrade lobbied to make harsher punishments for dog owners whose pets hurt people and other animals.
"The penalties weren't strict. If it wasn't for Fabian's Law, Hernandez wouldn't have been booked this quick,” she said, referring to Alejandro Hernandez, the dog owner in this week’s deadly mauling. He’s facing a negligent homicide charge.
Ten years ago, a dog with a history of attacking people could get its owner only a class 1 misdemeanor for hurting someone again. Under Fabian's Law, that turned into a class 5 felony. But even that, Andrade says, could go further. She feels like dogs shouldn't have to have a history of viciousness for the owner to be charged after an attack. "It's just like a drunk driver or an illegal gun owner -- I mean, you're not gonna get a second chance, so why does an aggressive dog that has mauled to death get a second chance?" she said.
Andrade has turned her advocacy into a full-time endeavor, making sure state law is followed any time a person or pet gets hurt by a dog. "I'm a constant advocate for the victims of the dogs and the people, fighting for them as much as I can," she said. "This has become my passion and I won't stop."
Arizona was the first state with a law like this one on the books, and now Andrade is focusing on Capitol Hill, hoping one day there will be a federal law to hold pet owners responsible.