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State Lawmaker Proposes Allowing Dogs Off-Leash if Insurance can Pay for Injuries Dogs may Cause


State lawmakers are weighing whether to let those who have insurance to pay for injuries their dogs may cause ignore county leash laws and homeowner association rules. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.

The proposal comes from Sen. Lori Klein.

"I've had several of my constituents come to me about the fact that little old grandmother with her little Chihuahua comes out with the dog, the dog gets off leash and she's fined," Klein said. "Twenty five percent of the fines in homeowner associations are over dogs off leash. And most of it is very silly."

Her measure says that anyone with a $50,000 liability policy against dog bites and damages does not have to comply with county ordinances that dogs in public parks and property have to be on a leash. And she said it would also preclude those H-O-A fines. But Phoenix Police Lt. Mark Cousins told members of the Senate Committee on Government Reform that the purpose of such laws is preventing injuries, not whether victims can be compensated later. And he was not reassured by Klein's comments that this is meant to help responsible owners who have well-behaved dogs.

"Even good dogs that are under control can become uncontrolled under certain circumstances," Klein said. "You mentioned the 4-year-old situation. I would assume even your well-controlled dogs, if my 4-year-old hit him with a toy or something, which is possible, they could become uncontrolled."

Klein said she may redraft her proposal a bit to blunt opposition which has even come from members of her own Republican party. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.