Wednesday, June 3, 2015

NEW YORK - YOUNG PIT BULL ATTACK VICTIM - FRANKIE FLORA - IS PUSHING LAWMAKERS TO CHANGE THE "FIRST BITE" RULE


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Frankie Flora with his mother Maria in The Legislative Office Building Photo by Jackie Davis, Legislative Gazette.


Frankie Flora wants to help other children like him. When he was just five years old, the Dutchess County boy was attacked by a pit bull and his family was left with a hefty medical bill.

Since then, Frankie and his family have been pushing for the Frankie Flora Bill (S.2494-a/A.6210). The bill would make dog owners responsible for providing financial assistance to victims of dog attacks, even if it is the dog's first offense.

Simply put, dogs and their owners should not be given a free pass.

"If I go out and assault someone, I don't get a free pass," Frankie said. "Why should a dog be able to hurt someone and get a free pass?"

This free pass, known as the "first bite rule," states that the victim is responsible for paying for their medical bills if it is the dog's first time attacking someone, and the owner is given a warning. But for Assemblyman Frank Skartados, the sponsor of the bill, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

The extent of Frankie's injuries required more than 30 surgeries and 1,000 stitches.

Though the road to recovery is still a long one, his message is clear: make sure this doesn't happen to children like himself.

"The only thing that's different with my life is that I get to be here and help other kids, and if I had the choice to change [the attack], I wouldn't change a thing."

Frankie and his mother, Maria Flora, have traveled to Albany before, seeking support for this bill and hope it will finally be passed this month.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Joe Addabbo and is cosponsored by seven other senators.

http://www.legislativegazette.com/Articles-Top-Stories-c-2015-06-02-91977.113122-Young-dog-attack-victim-pushing-lawmakers-to-change-the-first-bite-rule.html


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