County says facility for police dogs is safe

Baltimore County Digest

August 12, 2006

Baltimore County government officials issued a rebuttal yesterday to a study that raised questions about the safety of a county police dog facility. They declared the site "environmentally safe and usable for its intended purpose."

In a letter to the head of the county police union, county officials said that the study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health was flawed. That study found that the facility, shut down last year after the cancer deaths of police dogs, should remain closed until lingering safety questions were answered.

"The Hopkins team reached conclusions based on worst-case scenarios that are unreasonable, indicating a lack of basic understanding of the risk-assessment process," the county wrote in its seven-page letter.

Attempts yesterday to reach a Hopkins professor who worked on the study were unsuccessful. The study was commissioned by the Baltimore County chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.

The canine cancer cases arose two years after the department moved the center to Southwest Area Park in the Baltimore Highlands area. Athletic fields and other portions of the park were built on a former landfill.

County police closed the canine facility in September after two dogs died and about 30 employees complained of headaches, dizziness and respiratory problems.

Baltimore County police officials said there are no immediate plans to return to the canine facility.

Police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan "will review his options and make a recommendation to the county executive," said Bill Toohey, a county police spokesman.

Nick Shields

Group protests Israeli attacks

A group of about 40 people gathered at the fountain plaza of Towson's circuit courthouse yesterday to protest the Israeli attacks in Lebanon and the destruction of life and property there.

Led by Bash Pharoan, president of the Baltimore chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and Dean Pappas, vice president of the Baltimore chapter of Tikkun Community, a Jewish peace group, the demonstrators displayed anti-war signs and marched around the courthouse area.

"We're committed to peace in the Middle East, with a secure state on both sides. We're very critical of what Israel is doing now," Pappas said.

Tikkun Community also called on Hezbollah and Hamas to immediately cease engaging in violence against Israel.

Pharoan said Lebanon "is being decimated" by Israel. There should be an immediate cease-fire and withdrawal of all Israeli forces from Lebanon, he said.

Bridge repair to close I-95 lanes

Two lanes of southbound Interstate 95 in the Rosedale area are to be closed for several hours starting late tonight for bridge repair work, transportation officials said.

The lanes - at the highway's Beltway overpass - are to be closed from 11 p.m. tonight to 8 a.m. tomorrow. Drivers should expect delays. Motorists seeking an alternate route can exit southbound I-95 at Exit 67A to U.S. 40 and follow that highway to the westbound Beltway and back to southbound I-95, officials said.

Technology school sets open house

The Community College of Baltimore County's School of Applied and Information Technology will host an open house for prospective students Monday at the college's Catonsville campus.

Registration assistance will be available. The open house will be held at 7 p.m. in Building E, Room E-107 on the Catonsville campus, 800 S. Rolling Road.

Information: 410-455-4206 or www.ccbcmd.edu.

Events or news items for the Baltimore County Digest may be submitted to baltco.news@baltsun.com. Information should be sent at least 10 days in advance of the event.

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