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Woman petitions for new dog law

A relative of a Whaleyville toddler who died when he was mauled by one or both of the family’s dogs last year wants Virginia lawmakers to establish a law governing the chaining of dogs.

According to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Alice Conner, of Virginia Beach, was in Richmond Tuesday on behalf of her 2-year-old cousin, Jonathan Martin, who died in the family’s home in October 2005.

While his parents slept, the little boy approached two pit bull mixes, one of which had a litter of puppies.

One, or both, of the dogs attacked and killed the boy.

Conner said she believes the dogs were aggressive because they had spent most of their lives chained outdoors.

She is launching a statewide effort, with the assistance of PETA, to have a law passed that bans chaining animals.

In a press release issued by PETA Tuesday, Conner said she believes such a law would not only prevent similar attacks in the future, but would also spare the animals needless suffering.

Conner has sent a letter to every member of the General Assembly seeking an introduction of such a bill. There is similar legislation in California.

She is seeking a law that allows dogs to be chained no more than three hours a day. The press release didn’t say what agency or agencies would be responsible for enforcing such legislation should it pass and be signed into law by the governor.

Along with the letter-writing campaign, Conner is preparing a number of public service announcements.

doug.grant@suffolknewsherald.com