The Capital of Annapolis

STEVENSVILLE, Md. (AP) — Nearly two months after he was found bloodied on the side of the road in Linthicum, Rocky Road has a new home and family.

The pit bull, whom county police believe was a “bait dog” used to train fighting dogs, has been adopted by a family of four living in the Gibson’s Grant community on Kent Island. Sabrina Benko filed the paperwork with Columbia-based shelter Tara’s House this week, making the adoption official.

The adoption came six days after the Benkos took the dog into their home to foster him for the shelter. So far, Rocky Road, whose name has been shortened to Rocky, has been spending a lot of time sleeping and cuddling, Benko said.

“What these people did to this dog has in no way defined him,” Benko said. “It just amazes me how trusting he is of other people and other animals.”

Earlier this month, a second dog police believe also was being used for dogfighting was found in Brooklyn Park, within five miles from where Rocky was discovered Feb. 2. County Animal Control officers are investigating whether the two incidents are linked.

Benko, who owns and operates a dance studio, S Be Dance Complex of Crofton, and her husband James, a litigation consultant, have two daughters — Nadia, 5, and Aida, 3.

Rocky is the second abused pit bull the Benkos have adopted. The first, Newman, was rescued from Baltimore 10 years ago.

Benko began following Rocky’s story after he was found.

“Just like everybody else I was feeling so sad and helpless,” Benko said. “There was just something about him — his face.”

Rocky suffered from wounds to his face, ears, head and one of his front legs. The dog was so badly injured animal control
officers considered euthanizing him.

But the staff at the Waugh Chapel Animal Hospital offered to treat Rocky for free.

It’s possible Rocky belonged to another family before he was abused, Katie Boring, the animal hospital’s office manager said.

“When people are searching for bait dogs, they’re looking for dogs that are calm, not going to fight back as much,” Boring said. “People can get bait dogs from anywhere — adopt them, buy them, steal them from yards.”

The animal hospital is taking care of the second dog that was found injured, named Princess by the hospital staff.

Like Rocky, Princess is affectionate. She had to undergo surgery to repair a wound under her front right leg. Princess will stay at the animal hospital as she recovers.

The Benko’s first dog is a regular patient at the animal hospital, and the staff said they will be excited to see Rocky in
the future as well, Boring said.

Inspired by Rocky’s story, Benko applied to become a foster  parent through Tara’s House. About a week later, the shelter called and asked if she would be interested in taking the pit bull.

Although the dog will bark at the occasional UPS truck driving by and bite at his tail, he has shown no aggression toward anyone, even the family’s other pit bull.

Rocky is very gentle with her daughters, Benko said. “He’ll lay on the couch and the girls will come and lay right
on him,” she said. “He’s a cuddler.”

In light of the two abused dog incidents, Sen. Bryan Simonaire, R-Pasadena, is spearheading emergency legislation in General Assembly that would increase penalties for those found guilty of baiting dogs. A Senate subcommittee meeting is scheduled for today.

Information from: The Capital of Annapolis, Md.,

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (5)
  1. Anne says:

    Animal abuse should be a felony offense in Maryland.

    Until the perpetrators of this kind of abuse are made to suffer as well, there’s no deterrent for dog fighters or others to stop mistreating animals.
    Maryland’s lame animal cruelty law:

    § 10-604. Abuse or neglect of animal


    (a) A person may not:

    (1) overdrive or overload an animal;

    (2) deprive an animal of necessary sustenance;

    (3) inflict unnecessary suffering or pain on an animal;

    (4) cause, procure, or authorize an act prohibited under item (1), (2), or (3) of this subsection; or

    (5) if the person has charge or custody of an animal, as owner or otherwise, unnecessarily fail to provide the animal with nutritious food in sufficient quantity, necessary veterinary care, proper drink, air, space, shelter, or protection from the weather.

    (b)(1) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or a fine not exceeding $1,000 or both.

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