A city animal control official yesterday said he will investigate why it took so long for his office to be told about an a-rab pony lying on a South Baltimore street with a broken leg Saturday evening.
Earl Watson, director of the city Bureau of Animal Control, said he was annoyed by the apparent delay in notifying his office. Witnesses said the first call to police was made about 6:30 p.m. His office was not notified until 8:21 p.m.
A police department veterinarian destroyed the 5-year-old pony, named "Red," about 11 p.m. Saturday, Mr. Watson said.
"My first concern [Saturday] was seeing that the horse was cared for," Mr. Watson said. "As far as what happened, who was at fault, whether anyone will be charged, I deal with that [today] when I can reach people involved and determine what really happened."
Sgt. Juan Rodriguez of the city police communications division said yesterday that he could find no computer record of any call made to the emergency 911 center Saturday involving the a-rab pony.
Southern District log sheets say Officer Patrick Conley arrived at West Cross and Cleveland streets at 7:30 p.m. Several residents were nearby, watching as the pony's owner comforted the animal.
Mr. Watson said he would not place any blame for the apparent breakdown in communications until he could learn the facts.
Mr. Watson said he was called at home after his office was notified by police at 8:21 p.m. He arrived at the scene shortly after 9 p.m. and called for the police veterinarian and a Howard County Animal Rescue truck.
"My office does not have a vehicle large enough to handle any animal as big as a horse, but we [can] call upon Howard County for assistance," he said.
Mr. Watson said the truck came promptly, but had to go back to Howard County to get another vehicle better equipped to pick up the horse. Meanwhile, Dr. Cooper Williams, the veterinarian, had X-rays taken of the pony and confirmed that its left front leg was broken, Mr. Watson said.
"The doctor made the decision to put the horse down," Mr. Watson said.
George Kellam, the pony's owner, told police the animal bolted from its cart on Lombard and Gay streets. Mr. Kellam quickly recaptured the pony and was walking it back to its stable in South Baltimore when it collapsed, police said.
City law forbids a-rab horses from being on the street after dark unless the horse is being taken to the stable, Mr. Watson said. No charges have been filed.
Mr. Kellam, the pony's owner, could not be reached for comment.