Advocate editorial board opinion: Education is key to aggressive dog issue

By the Advocate Editorial Board
April 7, 2012 at 3:02 p.m.
Updated April 6, 2012 at 11:07 p.m.

Numerous reports of pitbull attacks have occurred in Victoria during the past few weeks. The most recent was the death of 4-year-old Kylar Johnson.

In response to this incident, as well as the many others, the Victoria County Commissioners Court met to discuss what options there are for limiting the number of possible dog attacks by creating ordinances.

As the court was told by Jim Allison, general counsel for the County Judges' and Commissioners' Association of Texas, the state has strict laws preventing the banning of any specific breeds, meaning a ban on pit bulls in the county is not legally possible.

The county already has rules in place for aggressive or dangerous animals. However, they mainly concern vaccinations, registration and running-at-large. It also defines vicious animals and outlines action, which includes seizing the animal.

In this situation, we agree with the approach suggested by Judge Don Pozzi. There must be an emphasis on community education when it comes to properly caring for dogs.

We also think the county should look into other areas that have rules concerning pet ownership and community education programs on how to be responsible pet owners.

Many options are available that do not involve banning aggressive breeds from the county. Dog owners who own aggressive breeds could be required to carry a certain amount of insurance. Or owners could be required to register dogs with the county for a fee, then the county could use those fees to fund educational programs focusing on responsible pet ownership. Currently, neither the City of Victoria nor Victoria County requires dogs to be registered.

The county should also examine the option of banning the practice of leaving dogs tied up with a chain or leash all day and require they be given a secure enclosure. Or there could be a limit on the number of dogs a person can own at one time.

But until the court makes any decision on the issue, we encourage law enforcement to aggressively enforce current regulations.

But above all else, we ask that dog owners be responsible and loving with their pets, no matter what breed they may be.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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