Family angered at shooting of pet dog

Howard County police say 180-pound mastiff charged an officer

June 25, 2000|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

A Columbia family was upset with Howard County police yesterday, the day after an officer shot and killed its dog.

"He was a big teddy bear," said Janet Baumann, 41, of her family's English mastiff, Duke, a "gentle giant" of a dog who weighed 180 pounds.

Police say they killed the dog, which was running loose Friday afternoon, because it was attacking neighborhood children and charged a police officer.

No one was hurt.

"We tried to get a hold of the owner but were unsuccessful," Howard County police Lt. Nancy Yeager said yesterday. "The dog was growling and jumping up on people."

Rick Baumann, who paid $1,900 for the pedigreed dog, said that's impossible. Duke was beloved by all the neighborhood children, most of whom knew him by name, he said.

"He has played with them since he was a puppy," said Rick Baumann, who has contacted a lawyer regarding the incident. He believes police reacted too quickly. He said they should have waited for animal control officers.

"I want to know how long they waited," said Rick Baumann, an Army sergeant serving in South Korea. "They could have done a hundred things before they shot him."

Apparently, Duke broke away from his leash after Crystal Brill, 15, Janet Baumann's daughter, tied him to a tree near the family's townhouse while she visited with a friend at a nearby apartment complex.

Crystal was gone for 20 minutes at most, said Janet Baumann, who was at work at the time.

When the girl returned, she was horrified. Duke was dead, shot five times in the chest.

Crystal was greeted by neighbors, some of whom were distraught, said Janet Baumann. "People were over here last night, and they were all crying," she said. "That dog never hurt anyone."

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