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OT: Pitbulls killed a little boy - local


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Another loss because of irresponsible owner.




Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle



As his toddler brother scrambled to safety, a 4-year-old boy was mauled to death by two pit bulls Tuesday afternoon in his east Harris County neighborhood.


The boy's mother heard her son's screams and ran outside to find him being attacked by the pit bulls at the King Parkway mobile home community. She suffered minor injuries as she tried to fight them off, but the dogs refused to let go of her son's body.


The dogs released the child, Pedro Rios, only after being distracted by the lights and sirens of the deputies' cars when they arrived minutes later.


Deputies then opened fire, killing one dog and wounding the second. The surviving pit bull was taken into custody by Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services' Veterinary Public Health.


The boy was flown to Memorial Hermann Hospital where he died a short time later.


"This is a very sad day," said Sgt. Noel Araguz, a homicide investigator for the Harris County Sheriff's Office. "We never want to see children attacked by dogs."


Although the county has a leash ordinance to protect the public from such attacks, statistics from the Veterinary Public Health division show loose dogs in unincorporated areas are a persistent problem.


Pedro was playing with his 2-year-old brother in a cul-de-sac near their home in the 8900 block of C.E. King Parkway when the dogs approached about 1:30 p.m., Araguz said.


Pedro's brother ran away, but the boy, known as "Peachy" to family and friends, couldn't escape.



Deaths rare

Pedro's death was the first that officials can recall in more than 20 years in unincorporated Harris County involving loose dogs.


Last year, a woman died in unincorporated Harris County after being attacked by a Rottweiler and a Rottweiler mix in the backyard of a home where she was living.


More than 7,000 stray dogs were impounded last year by county field officers, who work seven days a week answering between eight to 15 loose or injured animals calls a day.


About 70 percent of dog-bite cases are blamed on dogs that are running loose, said Colleen Hodges, a spokeswoman for the county's Veterinary Public Health division. Loose dogs involved in bite cases typically have not been vaccinated and are not registered, highlighting what officials call a pet ownership problem.


"The problem is dogs running loose. We have an irresponsible-owner problem," said Hodges. "It always comes back to the owner."


Many municipalities have tried to ban breeds such as pit bulls.



Tougher legislation failed

An attempt by state Rep. Al Edwards, D-Houston, to toughen state laws dealing with vicious dogs failed in the last legislative session. His bill would have increased the criminal penalty for owners whose dogs were involved in unprovoked attacks.


In October, the city of Houston toughened its dangerous dog ordinance requiring owners of dogs declared dangerous to keep $100,000 in liability insurance.


It's still unknown how the dogs ended up in the mobile home community Tuesday. Deputies said many of neighbors thought the dogs were strays and said no one has yet admitted to owning the dogs.



Dogs spotted earlier

George Cochran, 72, said he saw the two pit bulls a few hours before the boys were attacked, but that the dogs didn't look mean. "But you never know what some dog's going to do," he said.


Maria Rameriz, a family friend who lives next door to the Rios family, said everyone was in shock over the attack.


"She (the boy's mother) was only saying, 'my baby, my baby,' " Rameriz said as her voice cracked.


Rameriz said she has known the family for almost 10 years. She said the boys' mother, Isela Rios, is a stay-at-home mom, and their father, Pedro Rios Sr., works in construction.

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A child has lost his life due to the irresponsibility of the dogs' owners. The dogs have also lost their lives (you know the 2nd dog will be pts) as a result of their owner's irresponsbility. The news reports state the dogs were loose for several days so it was not that they simply got out of fenced yard and the owner did not have a chance to find them.


Obviously this is a tragedy for the child's parents and they have my deepest sympathy. However I am angry because this situation was created by a person who either let his dogs run loose or abandoned them - although I feel sorry for the dogs, I can't say that the surviving dog should not be pts - but I also believe that the dogs are not to blame, the fault lies with the owner. jmo

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Originally posted by PSmitty:

Of course the fault lies with the owners of the dogs, but I'm wondering why a 4 year old and a 2 year old child were left unattended outside....

The TV news reported that the children were in their own yard at the of the mauling and their mother was in the mobile home. It happened in the middle of the day. It's not unusual for children here to play w/o a parent outside although I agree it would be safer if a parent were actually outside with the children.
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Pedro was playing with his 2-year-old brother in a cul-de-sac near their home
That's from the article.


To each his own, but if I had children that age, they wouldn't be outside without adult supervision. Unfortunately, it's not just dog attacks that children have to be protected from. But, that's way OT, so I'll stop there.

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Guess I was a lousy mother. I had my 3 kids play in our backyard while I did stuff in the house. Then again, my mother raised 2 kids that way, and my husband's mother raised 3 that way. When we started school, we were expected to play in the neighborhood from the time we got home to dinner. Then, until dark. TV was before breakfast on Saturday morning and, maybe, if it rained. Same rules for our kids.


Seems to me that, if Mom has to be watching the kids every minute, she can't even do today's usual of plopping them in front of the TV, She'd have to hire help to clean, do laundry, and cook while she stands over the kids.


It is not the mother's fault that someone let dangerous dogs run loose. Heck, it sounds as though, even if she'd been right there, the dogs would have gotten one or another of the family.

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Just for clarification, I didn't say it was the mother's fault. In fact, I said it was entirely the dogs' owners fault. I also didn't infer that Nancy or anyone else is a "lousy mother". I simply stated what I would do if I had kids.


Now I'm done with the topic. Happy Thanksgiving, I've got food to prepare!

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