UPDATE: Owner Cited In Dogs' Attack of 7-Year-Old Girl
A Dundak girl remains hospitalized Wednesday after being bitten in the face and throat by a neighbor’s two American Bulldogs over the weekend. The Baltimore County Health Department said the two dogs in the attack were euthanized Monday morning.
UPDATE (Wednesday 2:55 p.m.) - The 7-year-old Dundalk girl bitten in the face and throat by two American Bulldogs over the weekend remains at Johns Hopkins Hospital, but is no longer listed in serious condition and is improving, according to an aunt who answered the door at her home Wednesday afternoon.
"She's doing better, she's talking a little bit more," said the aunt, who only gave her name as Ann Marie. "I visited her yesterday. Her mother is at the hospital with her right now."
Baltimore County Animal Control officials have charged the owner of the two dogs, Tina Baker, with multiple violations of the Baltimore County Code. Baker lives several doors away from the girl who was attacked in a townhouse development on Villager Circle, off German Hill Road. The two dogs were euthanized Monday.
Article 12 violations were signed by Baker on Tuesday, according to Baltimore County police. Baker may pay or appeal them within five days. A hearing will be held before the Animal Hearing Board within 25 days on the "Dangerous Animal" charges, along with any appealed violations.
The charges are as follows:
$1000 Dangerous Animal 12-8-107 (2)
$ 500 Menacing Animal 12-3-108 (2)
$ 50 Wearing of License Tags 12-2-206 (2)
$ 200 License Required 12-2-201 (2)
$ 50 Animal at Large 12-3-110 (2)
Baker will not face criminal charges, according to Baltimore County police.
"The long and short of it, is no criminals were found by investigators," said Lt. Robert McCullough, director of media relations for the Baltimore County Police Department.
In general, intent must be demonstrated to file criminal charges. Since the dogs escaped from the yard, there was no intent on the owner's part and criminal charges were not in order, according to a Baltimore County police source.
Baltimore County police responded to a call at 5:45 p.m. Saturday from a home in the 700 block of Villager Circle, where the girl was found bleeding badly. The girl, Amanda Mitchell, a student at Norwood Elementary, was playing in front of her home at the time of the attack, and still faces several surgeries, including plastic surgery, her mother, Shelda Lambert, told Patch Monday.
Witnesses said neighbors used shovels and a broken fence post to stop the attack as the girl's mother tried to pull her loose from the dogs. A neighbor's cocker spaniel also ran to the girl's aid and was bitten several times and injured in the attack.
The Baltimore County Health Department confirmed with Patch that the two dogs in the attack were euthanized Monday morning. Earlier reports by Baltimore County police said the dogs were pit bulls; the Baltimore County Health Department corrected those reports Monday.
"I was sitting in the kitchen with the door open watching the kids play outside, and saw the dogs grabbed her by the back of her coat as she was trying to run into the house," Lambert said. "The kids always play here, out front, with each other. She was riding her bike. One of the boys who was playing ran into his house when he saw the dogs break free. He made it, but Amanda didn't."
Lambert, who had just returned from visiting her daughter at the hospital, said Amanda's head and face still hurt. She said her daughter also remains frightened by the attack.
Lambert said her daughter was conscious throughout the attack and when police arrived.
"She remembers everything," Lambert said. "She knows she was attacked. She says, 'I don't like dogs anymore,' and 'I don't want to go outside and play anymore,'" her mother said.
Iana Lambert, Amanda's aunt, said the sidewalk and steps were left covered in blood.
"The firefighters came and washed it away," she said, adding that the family has lived in the block for 10 years. She said she hadn't seen the dogs before, but had heard them barking behind their fence.
"We've had a lot of rain, maybe the ground was soft and they dug a hole to get loose," Iana Lambert said.
Kelly Maksim, a neighbor whose cocker spaniel was attacked after the dogs let loose of the girl, said her husband estimated each of the dogs weighed 120 pounds. She said she and her son witnessed the attack, and another child in the neighborhood, 11, also just made it inside his front door before being attacked.
"I screamed, but by the time I had, the second dog was already going after Amanda," Maksim said, adding her son has had nightmares since witnessing the attack.
Maksim said the dogs had gotten loose before, previously attacking another dog in the neighborhood.
The dogs were removed from the scene late Saturday by Baltimore County Animal Control.
The girl's family has talked to the dog's owners, who have said they're sorry about the attack and said the dogs had not been trained to attack or fight.
But Iana Lambert also said the family would like to see those responsible for allowing the dogs to get free be held responsible.
Efforts to talk to the dog's owners were not successful Monday.