Mom who lost son to pit bull mauling fights for Justin's Law - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Mom who lost son to pit bull mauling fights for Justin's Law

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by Amanda Roberson | shot by Amanda Roberson

TYLER (KYTX) - A mother who lost her 10-year-old son in a dog attack has won a $7 million jury settlement against the dogs' owners. The dogs mauled 10-year-old Justin Clinton to death in June 2009. But, Justin's family says the settlement is not enough. 

The Clintons, and their attorney are drafting legislation called Justin's Law. They say even though Justin's not coming back, they hope breed-specific laws will protect other children from similar attacks.

"[He] never met a stranger. If you didn't know him when you got there, you would know him when you left. He would make sure of it," said Serenia Clinton of her son.

Now that the lawsuit has been won, Justin's mother Serenia Clinton is hoping to find justice for Justin through 'Justin's Law'.

"I'd like to see them outlawed, but if not I'd be happy with other things," said Clinton.

"In this case, the male dog was 88 pounds, the female was 70 pounds and Justin was 63 pounds. Justin didn't stand a chance," said Cynthia Kent.

Clinton's attorney, Cynthia Kent, says Texas needs a law to prevent dog attacks like the one that killed Justin.

"Some people have pit bulls and they think their pit is a safe pet. Unfortunately, they're a safe pet until they act on their abnormally dangerous proprieties," said Kent.

Which is exactly what happened June 15, 2009, and resulted in a trial 15 months later finding the dog owners negligent and strictly liable. 

"Pits and rottwielers are responsible for 73% to 80% of all injuries and deaths caused by animals," said Kent.

Kent says the ultimate goal is banning ownership of pit bulls, but a responsibility bill for owners of dangerous dog breeds, like pit bulls and rottweilers, would be a step in the right direction.

"Be responsible for maintaining high fences, locked and secure fences, also be responsible for carrying liability insurance so if someone is injured by these deadly, dangerous animals that there can be at least compensation for some of these victims and their families," said Kent.

"The $7 million verdict, that part, we know we're not going to get any of it, that's not why we're doing this. Basically, why we're doing this was to get justice for Justin and to make the message come out that these dogs are very vicious dogs," said Clinton.

Attorney Cynthia Kent hopes to have drafted legislation of Justin's Law in the hands of state senators and representatives within thirty days, and be filed before the next legislative session begins in January. Serenia and Cynthia hope the law is a reality this time next year.

You can have a say in making Justin's law a reality. Kent is urging people to voice their opinion and help make it a law by contacting their state representatives and senators.

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