Lubbock Dog Owners Agree With Indictment - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/12/08

Lubbock Dog Owners Agree With Indictment

A vicious dog attack here in Lubbock puts the animal's owner on trial.  A Lubbock County Grand Jury handed down the first felony indictment for a dog attack Tuesday afternoon.

William Cox told police two pit bulls attacked him in September.  The dogs seriously injured Cox, and killed his rat terrier.  Both pits have since been put to sleep.

Now, the dogs' owner, Javance Johnson faces a 3rd degree felony charge and possibly time in prison because of a new law that went into affect just weeks before the attack.

Cox told NewsChannel 11 that he wants the owner to receive the maximum punishment, and folks we spoke with say the owner should be held accountable.

"They got him instead of me," Cox said. 

He's talking about his rat terrier, Patches. Back in September, Cox told authorities he was taking out the trash when two pit bulls ran into his yard.

"My little rat terrier was blind. They tore the heck out of him.  I used everything, I even had a piece of cement banging on that male dog trying to get him to let go," Cox said.

Cox says the dogs turned on him, biting his arm so hard that it was still in a brace when Cox spoke with NewsChannel 11's Julia Bruck Tuesday afternoon.

"I had it in a cast for almost two months," Cox said. 

"It's really been quite alarming for us," Lubbock's Director of Animal Services Kevin Overstreet said.

The number of recent attacks is cause for concern at the Lubbock Animal Shelter.  Overstreet says people need to know what they can face if their dog attacks.

"This not only could cost you financially, it could also cost you your freedom," Overstreet said. 

State law now holds a dog's owner criminally responsible if the animal attacks a person unprovoked and off its property.

"If you raise that dog then you should be responsible for that dog," one Lubbock dog owner said. 

"It's the owner that is responsible for the dogs. Dogs aren't bad themselves. It's the owner that makes them that way," another Lubbock dog owner said. 

Cox went before the grand jury Tuesday morning, and he says he wants the owner to be punished. 

"The maximum punishment they can get and then some and they're liable for this, and for my stress and having to wear this.  I'm going to have to wear this wrist brace for at least 8 more months," Cox said. 

We want to remind folks that an indictment only means the grand jury decided there is enough evidence to go to trial.  Johnson is not convicted of a felony right now.

If convicted he faces up to 10 years in prison. If a dog kills a person, the owner faces double that.

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