Both Brian Keith Graden, 43 and his wife, Melody Ann Graden, 45 – have been charged with Criminally Negligent Homicide.
They’re the owners of the five dogs that attacked 24 year old Emily Colvin on December 7th last year (2017); Colvin died in front of her home in Section on Jackson County Road 121 as a result of the injuries suffered in the attack. Another woman was also injured. One of the dogs was shot and killed by law enforcement that day. A judge has since ordered that the remaining four animals be euthanized.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has recently signed into law a bill which would impose felony penalties on owners of dogs that seriously injure or kill a person in certain circumstances. The act is called Emily’s Law in memory of Emily Colvin. The Gradens’ aren’t being charged under the new law as it was passed following Colvin’s death. In addition to penalties for owners of dogs that cause injuries, the law sets up a process for people to file a sworn statement that a dog is dangerous – prompting an investigation by an animal control or law enforcement officer. Should an investigator find the dog is dangerous the dog will be impounded pending a decision by a municipal or district court.
If a court determines a dog is dangerous – and has seriously injured, or killed a person – the dog will be euthanized. If a court determines a dog has not seriously injured a person but is still dangerous, that court could order the dog to be euthanized OR be returned to its owner under strict conditions, including the dog is microchipped, spayed or neutered and that the owner pay a $100 annual fee, post a $100,000 surety bond AND keep the animal in a secure enclosure
If a dog that has been previously declared dangerous, kills or seriously injures a person, the owner could be charged with a Class B felony, punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison.
If a dog that has not been previously declared dangerous kills or seriously injures a person, and the owner KNEW the dog had a propensity to be dangerous, and recklessly disregarded that, the owner could be charged with a Class C felony, punishable by 1 to 10 years;
Owners of dogs that cause less serious injuries could be charged with misdemeanors under the same circumstances.
The law does not single out any specific breeds.