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The pit bull as 'dangerous weapon'

Prosecutors have offered the 28-year-old dog owner stark options: a plea deal that would have him pleading guilty to the felony of having a dangerous animal that caused serious injury, or face the more serious felony of assault with a dangerous weapon, among other charges.

Option number one, the plea deal, means that the dog owner must have his dog euthanized, but prosecutors say they won't ask for prison time. Alternatively, if he takes the case to trial, he could ultimately face substantial time behind bars, all for having told his dog to "get" the 24-year-old he was fighting with in his apartment.

As Cole Waterman reports, the dog owner's defense attorney has argued that the dog should not be put down, that it "acted as any dog would under the circumstances."

Generally speaking, dog owners face criminal liability in Texas if the dog, unprovoked, attacks and bites someone outside of the kennel or house and causes injury. The dog owner also faces civil liability from the injured person, in the form a lawsuit asking for financial compensation as damages for the pain and suffering caused by the dog bite, as well as for the medical treatment required to recover.

Source: Bay County pit bull owner faces tough choice: Put dog down or face felony trial

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