A Glenwood couple has filed a $410,000 suit against a neighbor, claiming that the woman stole their dog and took the pet to a Washington animal shelter because she thought the animal was being mistreated.
James and Goldie Lanning of the 15400 block of Roxbury Road, allegethat Rosemary Vozobule took Brownie, their mixed-breed watchdog, from their yard on March 17 to the Washington Humane Society, where she works.
With the help of the Howard County Animal Control Office, county police and Washington police, the dog was located at the shelter about 11 p.m. and returned to the Lannings. Richard J. Kinlein, the Lannings' attorney, said the dog was scheduled to be destroyed.
On April 3, the Lannings discovered that Brownie was missing again, and the pet has not been found.
Vozobule, of the 3600 block of Route 97 inGlenwood, has been charged with theft and harassment in the March 17disappearance of the dog.
Kinlein said the Lannings are extremelyupset about the loss of their dog.
"They feel they've been harassed by this woman for the last couple years," Kinlein said. "Ms. Vozobule thinks people should keep dogs in the house and Mrs. Lanning thinks people should keep dogs in a doghouse. It's a difference of philosophies that defines the issues."
Roger Galvin, Vozobule's lawyer, said his client denies all charges against her.
According to the Lannings, their problems with Vozobule date back to 1987, when the county animal control office began to receive complaints from individuals about mistreatment of the Lannings' dog.
The office was told that the dog had frozen paws, no food and was living in a wet area, Goldie Lanning said. She said she also received notes criticizing the dog's treatment, which were signed, "concerned for animal rights."
Tahira Williams, administrator of the county animal control office, said investigators visited the Lannings several times to follow up on the complaints and found Brownie's living conditions to be acceptable.
The dog was kept on a 20-foot chain in the Lannings' yard and lives in a doghouse bedded with straw, and with an extended roof in the front and back. In extremely cold weather, the Lannings put the dog inthe garage, Williams said.
After learning that the Lannings' dog was missing on March 17, Williams said she suggested checking at the Washington Humane Society. She said Vozobule had stopped into the county animal control office in February to ask about the Lannings' dog.
When Williams told her investigators found that the animal wasn'tbeing abused, Vozobule said, "I'm aware of all the complaints and I'll take care of it myself," Williams said.
Goldie Lanning said sheand her husband got the mixed-breed German shepherd and Labrador dog10 years ago after their house was burglarized. The animal was kept as a watchdog.
"The dog was a good watchdog and they did take careof him," Williams said.