Getting Rid of Dangerous PetsI read with sadness your...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 12, 1994

Getting Rid of Dangerous Pets

I read with sadness your paper's account of the injury to 4-year-old Brent Nicholson of Forge Hill Road, who was bitten so severely by a dog in his neighborhood. The attack is all the more outrageous if it is the second attack on the child by a dog from the same household.

This is a painful situation in which anyone might say, "There ought to be a law!" Indeed, there might have been a law that would have saved Brent if the General Assembly had passed the bill that I sponsored to prohibit anyone from keeping a dangerous animal in a residential neighborhood.

For three years I fought for legislation to ban wild mammals or domestic animals that are bred or trained to fight from being kept in residentially zoned areas of the state. In 1987, 1988 and 1989, I submitted the bill as chief sponsor, prompted by menaces in local neighborhoods, and each year the Judiciary Committee gave it a polite hearing and killed the bill. Meanwhile, pit bull terriers and even jungle cats continued to dwell in neighborhoods.

Common law holds owners of animals accountable for the harm that their pets inflict, and dogs are not allowed "one free bite" as a warning, as some might suppose. But my bill would have banned the animal from the area so that children and their parents would not have to rely on the precautions, often as inadequate as the unlocked screen door in this instance, of careless animal owners.

I invite any of my successors in the House of Delegates to put the bill before the General Assembly again. County zoning laws which regulate the use of property are not the appropriate legislative vehicle.

I sincerely hope that Brent will recover fully and quickly. There could be a law to prevent any more of this sort of pain to children -- if the legislature passes the bill.

Barbara Osborn Kreamer

Bel Air

The writer is a Democratic candidate for Maryland's 2nd Congressional District seat.

Unmarked Cars

Having moved to Harford County about four years ago, I am a frequent user of Interstate 95. Lately, I have noticed both unmarked cars and vans in the process of stopping motorists for speeding.

I fully realize that speeders must be stopped and given citations. However, as a female driving alone most of the time, I am terrified of being stopped. There are so many stories of carjackers bumping into other cars at red lights, waiting for the owner to get out to see what damage is done, and then taking off in the car. I have heard the stories of carjackers waiting at automated teller machines in attempts to take off with someone else's car.

I wonder how long it is going to take a carjacker to impersonate a state policeman, by putting a flashing light on his unmarked car and stopping someone (it could be me) on I-95.

It's bad enough having to worry about carjackers every time I stop at a red light, or a supermarket, or an ATM machine. Now I also have to worry whether or not a car or van with a blinking light is in fact a state policeman, or is it a carjacker?

What are my options? Can I continue to drive to a "safe" place if I am being "blinked" by one of these cars or vans that is unmarked? Do I have to pull over on I-95 and pray that I am really being stopped by a state policeman?

7+ Am I the only one with these questions?

Joan Lee Goldman

Abingdon

Red Cross Benefit

The American Red Cross in Harford County recently held its seventh annual dinner auction at St. Margaret's School Hall in Bel Air.

Under the capable direction of board member Jim Martin, more than 200 guests attended and helped to raise $11,000 for Red Cross disaster work in Harford County.

I would like to sincerely thank Jim Martin for coordinating this event for the second straight year. His personal touch and business savvy have resulted in significant improvements to the event. Special thanks also go to Pam Lytle Hess for her professional and painstaking work compiling the auction items and ads for the auction booklet. Without our volunteer auctioneers, John O'Neill, Patrick O'Neill and David Shrodes, the evening simply would not have been as successful or entertaining. Although undergoing a recent hospitalization, John was present for a while to offer his support. His son Patrick, as well as David, did a superb job all night long. Their entertaining styles always add greatly to the enjoyment of the evening.

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