Rose Holt

FLORENCE– Police have provided ShoalsInsider.com with an update on the ongoing dog bite case from this past Friday on Bayless Avenue that has left a woman hospitalized.

Rose Holt remains in the hospital after she was mauled Friday while watering her plants in her front yard on Bayless Avenue. She is expected to remain there for at least a few more days.

Regarding the dog bite, a dangerous dog investigation has been initiated pursuant to “Emily’s Law.” Emily’s law was passed during the 2018 legislative session and provides a path to deeming a dog as ‘dangerous.’ The new law went into effect on June 1st according to authorities.

The law lays out a clear path for citizen’s, Animal Control Officers, and Law Enforcement to thoroughly investigate allegations and bring owners before the court to answer for the actions of their animals. Under the law, the animal(s) will remain under the control of Animal Services, either at the shelter or a licensed veterinarian, until the case is heard by the court.

At the hearing the judge has two options; 1- Confirm, based on the investigation, that the animal is dangerous or 2- Conclude that the circumstances do not meet the law in terms of dangerous behavior.

If the court determines that the dog(s) are dangerous then the owner has two options; 1- release the dog(s) to the custody of Animal Services for the dog(s) to be humanely euthanized or request to take the dog(s) back. If the owner fights to retain possession of the animals then he/she must provide the following:

The dog must be spayed or neutered.
The dog must be microchipped.
The dog must be kept in a locked pen that not only has four sides but a top and a concrete bottom (or fencing that extends at least 2 feet into the ground).
The owner must pay an annual $100 dangerous-dog registration fee.
The owner must secure a $100,000 surety bond that provides coverage for dog bites, injuries, or death caused by the dog.
If during, or prior to, the case going to court the owner signs a release to Animal Services the case stops and the animals are humanely euthanized. This set of events does not preclude the victim(s) from seeking a civil claim against the dog owner.

Under the new law, criminal charges apply only after the dog(s) have been deemed dangerous and attacks or if the investigation proves that the owner had prior knowledge of the dangerous propensity of the animal, yet demonstrated a reckless disregard of the propensities under the circumstances. We hope to answer both of those questions throughout this investigation. Once the investigation is complete the finding will be presented to the court for review and additional action may be taken based on the court’s findings.

This specific case involves two dogs, one of the animals is in the custody of the Florence/Lauderdale Animal Shelter. The second animal which was shot during the attack by a bystander has been transported outside Lauderdale county for treatment and efforts will be made to transfer that animal to animal control custody upon completion of treatment.

Police tell ShoalsInsider.com they are aggressively pursuing this case in conjunction with Animal Services and will update appropriately as the case moves forward.

This case is believed to be the first case in the state levied as a result of Emily’s Law.

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