Pit Bull Task Force

A recent dog attack led to the death of a four year old boy and vicious dogs appear to be making headlines more often. Harris County officials are seeking recommendations from a pit bull task force, including whether or not the county should try to ban dangerous dog breeds. Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports.

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Harris County Judge Robert Eckels says attacks by dangerous dogs are on the rise and the Commissioners Court may ask for state legislation to help with the problem. The legislation could include prohibiting the sale of dogs on the roadside, and possibly even banning the sale of certain breeds like pit bulls.

"Some people don't like pit bulls, others don't like dobermans, others don't like German shepherds. You start running down a path that can be neverending if you start looking at reasons to outlaw a specific breed. At the same time, we want to do something that's very effective in protecting the community. So we'll be looking at all of the issues and it may be that there's some breed issues out there, but more likely it's a registration and sale and sanctions on the people who would breed those dangerous dogs to be dangerous dogs."

Under state law, counties can't ban specific breeds. Lawmakers may introduce legislation to change that, but it's unlikely to pass. Eckels says the county needs to work on enforcement and better education about the consequenses of owning a dangerous dog.

"It's always about the people that own those dogs and how they treat them and how they train them."

Eckels says it's unrealistic to think the county could hire enough animal control officers to be on the streets all the time looking for dogs. They plan to start a pilot program to train law enforcement officers in how to respond to dangerous dogs. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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