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Navajo Nation stiffens penalties for animal attacks

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Rick Bowmer/AP, file
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Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez has signed a resolution into law that increases criminal penalties for owners of free-roaming dogs and other animals that attack people.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez has signed a resolution into law that increases criminal penalties for owners of free-roaming dogs and other animals that attack people.

Nez says the measure is designed to hold owners accountable and provide justice for victims and survivors who suffer injuries and trauma from such attacks.

The Navajo Animal Control Program says about 3,000 animal-related injuries were reported last year on the reservation.

The new measure makes dog attacks a criminal nuisance and increases possible fines to a thousand dollars and prison sentences to 30 days.

Pet owners would also have to pay for physical and mental injuries suffered by victims.

Non-profit groups and the Navajo Nation Veterinary Program offer low-cost spay, neuter and vaccine services on the reservation.