DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – In July 2018, eight-year-old Savannah Coleman was playing neighborhood children outside her home. Moments after going outside, her mother began to hear screams.
“It was the screams of our sweet Savannah getting viciously mauled by a pit bull. Once getting to her, I knew it was bad,” said Tierney Dumont.
Dumont said her daughter sustained a number of injuries including nine lacerations to the head, her ear cut in three places, a head fracture and severed nerves.
“My sweet girl who used to be tan from the summer sun was now pale. Her shirt that was once white was now red and soaked in blood. I remember the blood dripping down her leg and splattering on her new Adidas,” Dumont said.
She said the dog owner faced a misdemeanor and a $120 ticket.
“Savannah is still seeking mental and physical treatment as a result of this attack. This is something that very well could have killed Savannah,” Dumont said.
She asked lawmakers to support House Bill 37 during it’s first reading on Wednesday. The bill is nicknamed Savannah’s Law after her own daughter.
Under the bill, a dog owner would face a misdemeanor if their dog injures a person. Someone could be charged with a fifth degree felony if their dog causes serious injury or kills a person. A fifth degree felony could also be charged if an owner’s dog injures someone and had a history of doing so.
An identical bill failed in the Statehouse last year but State Representative Niraj Antani said he’ll continue to work on passing it.
“We want a bill that is going to be effective in reducing the number of vicious dog attacks,” said Antani.
This bill also requires 42 hours of initial training for dog wardens. That could come at a cost.