Are Georgia's dangerous dog laws strict enough? The city of Savannah doesn't think so.
While Savannah city leaders still work out details of their proposed changes to the local dangerous dog ordinance, moving towards more restrictive control and regulations of dogs, they are asking state lawmakers to add more bite to Georgia's current law.
"We wanted some kind of legislation to protect the public and I believe that the representatives and senators will be very open to revisiting and perfecting the law since it has been in law and out for a period of time," Ann Purcell, Republican state representative from Rincon, told WTOC.
Purcell, who did not run for re-election and will be succeeded by Bill Hitchens in January, helped write the state's dangerous and vicious dogs law which was revised this past year to require registration of dangerous dogs.
The city can adopt and enforce more strict regulations which would over rule the state law. Savannah has a dangerous dog ordinance on the books but council, with help from concerned community members, has explored making it tougher.
Some of the proposed changes the city is exploring include fines for no rabies shot licenses, muzzles for dangerous dogs and broadening the definition of what a dangerous dog is, including a dog which attacks another dog for no reason.
Council members are still wrestling with whether or not a first bite would result in a warning or severe punishment. Whatever they decide, they want the state to change the language of their law to match the city's, which Purcell says shouldn't be an issue.
"It may not be too hard. All of us were very interested in the dangerous dog laws and know exactly what has happened down here in Savannah and Chatham County area with dangerous dogs being out and you'll notice dangerous dogs are all breeds of dogs," Purcell said.
The Chatham County state delegation will bring the city's requests to Atlanta in January.