Inspection made at home housing pit bull

Arundel officials seize dog because of lack of pen but expect to return animal

April 20, 2001|By Johnathon E. Briggs | Johnathon E. Briggs,SUN STAFF

County Animal Control officers made a surprise inspection yesterday at the home of a Millersville man involved in a long-standing community dispute over his pit bull dogs - one of them stolen from county custody six months ago after being condemned to die.

The second dog - which owner David Neal, 49, had been allowed to keep - was seized by the officers in their visit to the home in the 700 block of Mesa Road. They alleged that he had failed to comply with the strict guidelines on its confinement that had been imposed by the county Health Department agency.

The officers conducted the inspection about 10 a.m. in response to a call from a neighbor in the Crain West community saying the Neal family was moving into another residence about a block away and expressing concern about whether the remaining dog, Isis, was properly confined to her pen.

Complaints last summer

Area residents have complained that Isis and Kane, the missing dog, terrorized the community for years. Last summer, they breathed a sigh of relief when Animal Control ordered Kane destroyed after he is alleged to have mauled a 14-year-old girl. But the dog was stolen from county custody a day later, heightening neighborhood tensions.

Under an October ruling by the county Animal Control Commission, Isis had to have a pen built outside and a cage inside the home, and be muzzled and leashed anytime she was outdoors. If a visitor were in the house, the dog had to be caged in a locked room, the commission said - and any violation could result in the dog's impoundment.

During their inspection yesterday, officers said, they found Isis without the pen. It turned up, they said, at the new residence - and appeared to have been poorly constructed.

"Neighbors have been keeping a close eye on the activity in that area," Tahira S. Thomas, Animal Control administrator, said of the continuing community dispute. "Since [the Neals] are moving, we need to make sure all the conditions were intact at the new place, but there was not an acceptable pen [there]."

Asked whether they expected to find Kane, Thomas said, "We're always looking for Kane, always." But no other animal was found.

2nd inspection at new house

The Neals invited Animal Control officers back for another inspection at the new house, five hours after Isis was seized, and were found to be in compliance with the guidelines, Thomas said. Isis is expected to be returned today.

The visit by Animal Control came three days after David Neal's arrest on trespassing charges; he is accused of harassing neighbors and has been released.

Neal did not return repeated calls to his home yesterday and Wednesday night.

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