The boy's mother heard her son's screams and ran outside to find him beingattacked by the pit bulls at the King Parkway mobile home community. Shesuffered minor injuries as she tried to fight them off, but the dogs refused to letgo of her son's body.The dogs released the child, Pedro Rios, only after being distracted by the lightsand sirens of the deputies' cars when they arrived minutes later.Deputies then opened fire, killing one dog and wounding the second. Thesurviving pit bull was taken into custody by Harris County Public Health andEnvironmental Services' Veterinary Public Health.The boy was flown to Memorial Hermann Hospital where he died a short timelater."This is a very sad day," said Sgt. Noel Araguz, a homicide investigator for theHarris County Sheriff's Office. "We never want to see children attacked bydogs."Although the county has a leash ordinance to protect the public from suchattacks, statistics from the Veterinary Public Health division show loose dogs inunincorporated areas are a persistent problem.Pedro was playing with his 2-year-old brother in a cul-de-sac near their home inthe 8900 block of C.E. King Parkway when the dogs approached about 1:30p.m., Araguz said.Pedro's brother ran away, but the boy, known as "Peachy" to family and friends,couldn't escape.
Pedro's death was the first that officials can recall in more than 20 years inunincorporated Harris County involving loose dogs.Last year, a woman died in unincorporated Harris County after being attackedby a Rottweiler and a Rottweiler mix in the backyard of a home where she wasliving.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 injuredanimals 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 Healthdivision. Loose dogs involved in bite cases typically have not been vaccinatedand 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.
Dogs spotted earlier
George Cochran, 72, said he saw the two pit bulls a few hours before the boyswere attacked, but that the dogs didn't look mean. "But you never know whatsome dog's going to do," he said.