What happens to owners when their dogs attack?

A pit bull attack that took the life of a poodle named Fabian led to an Arizona low holding owners accountable for the dangerous actions of their dogs.

What happens to owners when their dogs attack?

CREATED Mar 8, 2012

Reporter: Stephani Ruiz

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Governor Jan Brewer signed Fabian's Law last April. Its aim was to increase penalties for owners of dogs considered to be "vicious".

A Glendale couple lobbied state lawmakers to go after owners of vicious dogs after their miniature poodle, Fabian, was mauled to death in 2009. The culprit- a neighbor's unleashed pit bull.

"The dog just gripped all right here," Sally Andradesot said, pointing to her dog's body. "According to emergency vets, it punctured his lungs and he had no chance of surviving."

"I cannot describe the emotions I was going through," Richard Andradesot said. "He was my buddy. He was my friend."

The couple pushed for the law after learning they couldn't hold the pit bull's owner accountable for their pet's death. Now, if a dog attacks another dog, it's a Class 1 Misdemeanor. That can carry six months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

If a person causes a dog to bite a person without justification, it's a Class 3 Felony, which can carry multiple years in jail.

Fabian's Law also requires an owner to keep an aggressive dog from escaping from a home or a yard.

Even with Fabian's Law, some Tucson residents are pushing for an outright ban on dangerous dog breeds. During a 9 On Your Side investigation last month, we asked City Councilor Steve Kozachik his opinion.

"I've got a problem with breed specific legislation," Kozachik said. "To take a broad brush and say this breed, we're going to get rid of it, is an overstretch."

In last month's investigation, we contacted five cities that banned pit bulls to see if there was a decrease in bites and attacks. Bottom line- there's no conclusive evidence that breed specific bans always work.