Robert Nelson, By TaNoah Morgan SUN STAFF
One of two pit bulls accused of attacking a 14-year-old Millersville girl over the summer will be returned to its owner, but the other should be killed, a county police captain has decided - partly overturning an Animal Control Commission recommendation.
Capt. Thomas A. Suit, who oversees Anne Arundel County Animal Control, issued a destruction order for Kane, a dog alleged to have injured three other people in earlier incidents.
In taking the action, Suit sided with Animal Control Administrator Tahira S. Thomas, who wanted Kane destroyed but whose decision had been opposed by the commission.
The four-member commission, which reviews such cases, had recommended earlier this month the return of both dogs - under strict guidelines - to owner David Neal.
Neal was preparing to pick up the other dog, 1-year-old Isis, yesterday. But he wasn't giving up his battle to save Kane, vowing to take the case to the county Board of Appeals.
"I have to appeal the case on Kane," Neal said. "This got blowed out of proportion by Tahira Thomas."
Animal Control impounded the dogs after an Aug. 7 incident in which both dogs bolted from his house on South Mesa Road in the Crain West neighborhood and attacked Abbey Best, who had gone to the Neal home to visit his daughter, a classmate, according to bite report records and the victim's affidavit.
According to Animal Control records, the dogs knocked the girl down and bit her on the leg, nose and arm.
Woman, 66, scratched
Kane had scratched a 66-year-old woman and bitten a 7- year-old boy in previous years, according to reports on file at Animal Control. Since the latest case became public, parents of a 15-year-old boy have reported to Animal Control that he also was bitten by the dog.
Isis had been labeled potentially dangerous by Animal Control before the attack, for being aggressive and running free in the Crain West and Hillendale neighborhoods, records show.
Both dogs had been ordered under strict controls before the August incident.
The commission, in recommending both dogs be spared, had laid down detailed guidelines for controlling them.
Each pet had to have a pen built outside and a cage inside the home, and both had to be muzzled and leashed anytime they were outdoors. If a visitor was in the house, both dogs would have to be caged inside a locked room, the commission recommended. Any violation could result in the dogs being impounded.
Suit - final authority within the county's Animal Control system - overturned only the recommendation for Kane.
Thomas, the Animal Control administrator, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Robert Nelson, running unopposed for the presidency of Crain West's community association, said he and his neighbors were relieved and supported the decision.
"We're relieved that the one that's been particularly dangerous is being removed," Nelson said. "We hope Mr. Neal will control his dogs in the future."
Nelson said that if Neal and his wife, Dawn, appeal the decision, the community will oppose them. But if the family accepts the decision, he said, neighbors will offer an olive branch.
"We don't want to drag on a nasty battle like this for a long time," Nelson said. "We hope there's some reconciliation in the community, so we can all return to a normal life."