Baltimore Councilwoman Agnes Welch -- who was bitten by a dog two weeks ago -- retaliated yesterday, introducing a bill that would allow the city to kill dogs found to be vicious.
The measure is one of three bills introduced to crack down on vicious dogs in the city, which health officials say is a growing problem.
Welch's bill would prohibit the training of attack dogs in Baltimore and create a hearing board to review complaints against vicious dogs and order euthanasia for those found to be involved in three attacks.
Welch said she began researching the bill in 1994 when a Northeast Baltimore infant was killed by a pit bull. Over 18 months in 1996 and 1997, the city counted 1,300 incidents involving dog bites.
The city has reported an increase in attacks on children and senior citizens, in addition to a rise in the use of dogs by drug dealers for protection throughout the city.
The 4th District councilwoman said she hopes the measure will result in residents reporting dog attacks.
Welch was bitten in the leg after being approached by three roaming dogs while taking the trash out two weeks ago.
"We need legislation to protect our children, seniors and all of our citizens from the vicious behavior of dogs," Welch said. "Dogs that are trained for dog fights, to guard drugs and drug dealers and to threaten and intimidate are not wanted or needed in our city."
In the audience during the introduction of the bill last night was Julia Matthews. She is the 73-year-old great-grandmother of Tevin Williams, the boy killed by the pit bull. Matthews walked around the council chambers seeking support of Welch's bill by flashing a picture of her great-grandson.
"They are dangerous animals," Matthews said of pit bulls. "They are not pets."
Dr. Peter Beilenson, city health commissioner, will participate in a public hearing at 5 p.m. tomorrowabout the city's handling of vicious dogs. He is expected to discuss his support for Welch's legislation.
Last week, Councilman Melvin Stukes of the 6th District introduced a measure that would require owners of vicious dogs to have fences at least eight feet high in order to prevent attacks. That measure was introduced after several Stukes constituents complained about being prisoners on their block because of roaming dogs.
Stukes introduced additional legislation last night that would impose stiffer penalties on dog fights. Owners who place their dogs in arranged fights face fines of up to $500 per violation. Pub Date: 4/07/98