Councilman offers $1,000 to find pit bull

Official's niece bitten, facing rabies vaccination

June 05, 2000|By Jamie Smith Hopkins | Jamie Smith Hopkins,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore city councilman is offering a $1,000 reward in hopes of tracking down by this afternoonthe owner of a pit bull that bit his 6-year-old niece.

Kenneth N. Harris, who represents the city's 3rd District, said his family had 48 hours from Saturday afternoon to find the dog and test it for rabies. Otherwise, his niece, Dejae' Lee, will have to be vaccinated for the usually fatal disease.

Police searched the Rosedale neighborhood in eastern Baltimore County where the child was bitten.

Harris said Dejae', who lives in Northeast Baltimore, was visiting her grandmother, Sylvia Otukoya, Saturday. The girl was running through a playground on Marquette Road in Garden Village about 3: 30 p.m. when a light brown pit bull approached her and bit her on the hand, he said.

The dog's owner had been at a nearby basketball court and had two other pit bulls with him, Otukoya said. He gave her his name, telephone number and address, but the information turned out to be false, she said.

The family is hoping to find the owner, described as about 17 years old, African-American, 5 feet 5 inches tall and about 140 pounds, wearing dreadlocks with seashell clips.

"We're not trying to punish the owner of the dog," Harris said yesterday. "All we want the owner to do is come forward so we can test the dog to see if it has rabies. If he comes forward before 3: 30 [today], I'd be willing to give him the thousand dollars."

Otukoya called the situation "unfortunate." She said she believed the owner acted out of fear rather than malice.

"I think that he thinks that maybe he can be arrested," she said. "But as a result of that, [Dejae'] is going to pay the price."

People with information can call: 410-887-5000.

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