Husband Fights for Stricter Dog Breed Laws in Arkansas

HOT SPRINGS VILLAGE, AR — A Saline County judge sentences two women to jail in a fatal dog mauling, but the victim’s husband says that’s not enough.

Hans Kappen says he wasn’t happy with the sentence. He thought the two women responsible deserved more than just a couple months behind bars, but Kappen also wants to work with state leaders to make changes in dog breed laws.

Earlier today, Hans Kappen was flipping through piles of dog attack research. It’s how he spent his time — this past year — after the death of his wife Joan Kappen. He said, “We loved each other dearly.”

A bull mastiff-pit bull mix attacked Joan, last November, as she was taking her morning walk.

A judge sentenced a mother and daughter in the attack.

Brande Coy — who let the dog out of the house — received two months in jail. Her daughter Emily Coy — the dog’s owner — got four months.

Kappen said, “They did not get the punishment they should have gotten.”

Kappen pointed out a case just last week with a much stiffer punishment.

A California man got 15 years to life in prison after his pit bulls killed a woman walking down the street. Kappen said, “That’s more like it, that’s more like it.”

But the chief prosecutor — in the Coy case — calls the guilty verdict a victory for the people of Saline County.

Prosecutor Rebecca Bush said, “I think it sent a message to the community about vicious dogs and we all need to be cautious.”

Kappen’s accepted the punishment, but he’s on a mission to protect other people. He plans to team up with lawmakers fighting for stricter leash laws and working towards banning certain breeds like the bull mastiff-pit bull mix that killed his wife.

He said, “So this doesn’t happen as often. It’s every day that was going on.”

There are a number of organized groups against breed specific legislation. They say educating people on how to be responsible dog owners is a better solution.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, close to 5 million Americans are bit by dogs every year, but only 20-30 of those bites result in death. So a trial, like the one in Saline County this week, is rare.

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