Dog owner faces zoning inquiry after attack on pig in Gambrills

May 22, 1994|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Sun Staff Writer

Animal Control officers want to know how many dogs Tyrone Watson keeps on his Gambrills property.

Mr. Watson was charged Thursday with cruelty to animals after two dogs mauled a pig at his property in the 1200 block of Defense Highway.

Tahira S. Williams, chief of the county Animal Control division, said Mr. Watson, 45, has licenses -- some of which he purchased early Thursday -- for 22 dogs.

However, police officers, who responded to complaints of dogs fighting at Mr. Watson's home about 6:30 p.m. Thursday, counted as many as 40 dogs tied to trees and sleeping in !B kennels, authorities said.

Either way, Ms. Williams said, Mr. Watson appears to be in violation of county zoning that allows no more than four dogs on the residential lot.

When inspectors revisit his property tomorrow, they plan to give him 15 days to remove the dogs or apply for an exception to the zoning code.

Police arrested Mr. Watson Thursday after finding a severely wounded pig lying in his front yard.

Mr. Watson, according to a police report, told police that his pig had escaped and that he released two American bulldogs to catch it.

A friend of Mr. Watson butchered the animal after Officer Steve Torbeck killed it with a single gunshot.

Mr. Watson, who was released on his own recognizance Friday, did not return telephone messages that were left at his home.

A cursory inspection by an Animal Control officer Thursday found the dogs in good physical condition, Ms. Williams said. She said she was unaware of any other livestock on the property.

Ms. Williams said Animal Control has received complaints from Mr. Watson's neighbors in the past.

"He's very sure of how far he can go with his animals," she said. "It may not be the way we keep our animals at home. . . . He walks a fine line."

Mr. Watson had a "fanciers" license, necessary to keep five or more dogs, but it was suspended in 1991 because he did not have the proper zoning, authorities said.

Ms. Williams said dog owners must have individual licenses for each dog as well as a "fanciers" license to keep multiple animals.

Mr. Watson raises American bulldogs, Rottweilers and Great Danes, and cross-breeds the animals, Ms. Williams said.

"He seems to like big-boned, massive dogs with some pit bull terrier in them," she said.

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