Kona's Law: Change VA Law to Prevent Euthanasia of Dogs
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*Update: Our sweet beautiful Kona was put to sleep on May 9, 2017. We will not let his death be in vain. Please help us change this law before other innocent dogs die.
On March 12, 2017, a terrible accident occurred between a dog and a toddler. A truly unfortunate accident where an amazingly friendly 8-year old dog, Kona, went to great a sweet 2-year old toddler who had been placed by an adult a few feet from playing dogs. The excited greeting betwen the two ended in a tragic injury to the child requiring numerous stitches to his face. Thankfully the child is recovering nicely. The dog did not in any way attack or intentionally bite the child. This could be described in no way other than a tragic accident.
Four days after the event, charges were pressed, demanded Kona be picked up by Hanover County Animal Control, and Kona has remained in the county shelter ever since. On April 26, 2017, a Hanover County Judge deemed Kona to be a "vicious dog" and sentenced he be euthanized.
Kona is an 8 year old energetic, friendly and loving family dog with no previous behavioral issues or a demeanor that would denote cautionary measurements when in new situations or around new people. This includes adults, children, and other small animals. Kona is set to be killed all over an accident because of the way the current Virginia law is written.
Section 6540.1, Vicious dogs; penalties, under Title 3.2 of the Code of Virginia mandates any dog deemed to be "vicious" which inflicts a "serious injury" must be penalized by euthanasia.
"Serious injury" is defined as: an injury having a reasonable potential to cause death or any injury other than a sprain or strain, including serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health, or serious impairment of bodily function and requiring significant medical attention.
"Vicious dog" is defined as: a canine or canine crossbread that has (i) killed a person, (ii) inflicted serious injury to a person, or (iii) continued to exhibit the behavior that resulted in a previous finding by a court or, on or before July 1, 206, by an animal control officer as authorized by ordinance that it is a dangerous dog, provided that its owner has been given notice of that finding.
Subsection B states "If, after hearing the evidence, the court finds that the animal is a vicious dog, the court shall order the animal euthanized".
According to the current language, as an example, even if a person were accidentally knocked over by a dog resultiing in a concussion, the dog would be ordered to be euthanized.
After enduring this awful tragedy where Kona is being killed due to an accident and the current mandates in the Virginia Code, we are requesting the code be ratified. The modified law shall be named "Kona's Law" and include consideration of the following elements in instances of injuries involving dogs:
1) Full account of the situation in which the incident occurred. Eyewitness accounts and statements shall be considered as evidence.
2) Behavioral history of the dog in question. Testimony of witnesses familar with the dog's past behavior shall be considered. Veterinarian records shall be taken into consideration. Behavioral evaluations from experienced trainers, not exclusive to Certified Veterinarian Behaviorists, shall be allowed.
3) Language shall be changed so that euthanasia is only deemed appropriate in severe cases and if rehabilitaiton is found to be an impossible option.
Although it may be too late to save Kona, we hope by changing the current language, we can save many other innocent dogs in the future. Please help support this cause by signing and sharing our petition.
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