12 dogs seized from homes

Animal control, police respond to concerns about fights, safety

August 31, 1999|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County Animal Control seized 12 dogs last weekend from houses in the communities along Pioneer Drive, relieving, for the time being, concerns of neighbors who complain of dogfights and intimidation.

Animal control officers and county police went door to door in the communities near Fort Meade on Friday and Saturday, searching for dogs and checking the animals' registration and vaccination records. They issued 50 citations to owners and impounded two stray cats.

Nine of the dogs seized were pit bulls, seven of which were taken from one house, said Tahira Shane Thomas, animal control administrator. The dogs had old injuries and inadequate shelter, she said. Several, including a pregnant pit bull, were being kept without water and in their own feces.

"We had several officers who couldn't even approach [the house with seven dogs] because the smell was so bad," Thomas said. "Some of the dogs had old scars indicative of what we see with fighting."

Thomas said owners will have to talk with her about getting the animals back. At least three of the dogs were "highly aggressive," she said.

"We used a stainless steel pole collar on one of them, and it bent the pole," she said. "These are very strong, very aggressive, very tenacious dogs we're dealing with."

Dogfights and intimidation have long worried residents along Pioneer Drive. Animal control officials and police say they often receive complaints of dogfights and on occasion have found mauled animals in the woods behind homes there.

The proliferation of pit bulls in the neighborhood has especially bothered neighbors, who cross the road to avoid the dogs when walking in the community. Police said the owners use the dogs for protection, and they have received reports that some owners place drugs in bandannas tied around the necks of the dogs.

"Are you going to reach your hand down and grab it?" said Lt. Rick Tabor, who supervised the Police and Community Together unit that helped in the operation.

Many residents fear that more dogs will be brought into the neighborhood, but residents said they were relieved by the recent dog sweep.

"I'm pretty sure they're going to have to do it again, because some people try to be slick and move the dogs from house to house," said Yvonne Johnson, president of Pioneers in Action, a community organization. "It's a bad situation, and I'm glad they came."

Denise Page said the dogfights had come to be almost a daily occurrence.

"They're making them so vicious," she said. "It's scary because they're walking them without a leash to prove, I guess, that they have so much control over them."

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