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Long Island Town Considers Dangerous Dog Penalties

ROCKY POINT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Stricter penalties are in the works in one Long Island town to protect pets and people from dogs considered dangerous.

Some dog owners are a bit concerned.

John Benetik of Rocky Point supports stricter penalties against dog owners whose dogs maul other pets in the town of Brookhaven. He says he shutters at the thought of his beloved Bijon Schitzu ever getting attacked by another dog.

"I don't want my dog getting hurt," he tells CBS2's Jessica Borg. "I want people to be more sensible."

The town supervisor says Brookhaven is considering adopting new penalties under a proposal that includes expanding the definition of a dangerous dog to include a dog that attacks other pets or service animals. Any dogs deemed dangerous need to be registered with the town clerk, must be kept indoors or in a locked pen or kennel, and they need to wear a muzzle anytime they're outside of one.

"It's a step in the right direction," resident Colin Goldberg said.

Goldberg is behind the website "Brookhaven Bites" and has been pushing for new animal control laws.

"I have a 2-year-old and I really don't feel safe taking her around the neighborhood," he said.

The proposed changes come after two incidents in Rocky Point last summer. A dog was severely injured when three unleashed pit bulls attacked him while he was being walked at the local beach. Officials say one week later those same pit bulls killed two chihuahua mixes.

But not everyone's on board with the possible new laws.

Lauretta Richin of Stonybrook runs a bulldog rescue and says new policies need to be very specific.

"If a cat comes into a dog's yard and the dog kills the cat, the dog is gonna be called a dangerous dog? I don't think that's fair," she said.

For the time being, town officials are urging owners to make sure their dogs are leashed and out of harm's way.

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