Austin Local News
Lawyer for owner of dogs who mauled woman to death wants to see law changed
(Photo Shutterstock/ Sanit Fuangnakhon)
Under state law, five of six dogs who mauled a Travis County woman to death in 2016 will have to be put down. Now the lawyer who represents the dogs' owner says that law needs to be amended.
One of Terry Swanson's dogs has already been put to sleep and now that a Travis County jury ruled all the dogs were culpable in Erin McLesky's death, they are next. McLesky died trying to serve legal papers at Swanson's property. Eric Torberson is his lawyer and says the law gives judges and juries no discretion if they kill someone, no matter what. "Whether the circumstances were reasonable for a dog to cause a death,. If an ax murderer was trying to do something to you and your dog kills him, there should be a defense added to the law."
Torberson says he and other lawyers he's talked to agree "This law is ridiculous and it needs to be looked at." He adds "They need to give discretion when a dog kills somebody, and change the word 'shall' to 'may', at least." The law does not allow any leeway, which I think is unreasonable." Torberson hopes lawmakers will revisit it in 2019. Meanwhile he and his client are mulling their appeal options.