BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Dangerous dogs on the loose, dog attacks and animal abuse. Baltimore’s Animal Control officers–overwhelmed by a flood of recent calls.
Now police vow to take action in those cases.
Meghan McCorkell has more on their efforts.
Police K-9 officers are being trained to assist in those investigations. It’s a move some say can’t come soon enough.
“I am devastated. That was my baby,” cried Vivian Jones.
Jones’ 15-year-old dog, Champ, was mauled to death in her own backyard by three loose put bulls Monday. And it wasn’t the first attack in her Glen neighborhood.
“Those pit bulls killed a dog on Sunday. They snatched the dog out of the owner’s arms,” said Jones.
Police were called for that first attack. But Animal Control officers were on other priority calls.
Animal Control officials say they were swamped with 275 calls that day alone. And just two officers were on duty.
Neighbors are furious the pit bulls weren’t taken.
“For it to happen again. I mean, it’s just… I mean, the whole community is in uproar about it. I mean, it really is a sad situation to see two dogs in three days. It really is ridiculous,” said Derrick Lennon, Glen Improvement Association.
Last year alone, Animal Control received more than 24,000 calls. More than 4,000 of them involved animals in jeopardy.
Now city police are stepping in to help. A new pilot program is now training K-9 officers to assist in these types of investigations.
“K-9 will be working very closely with Animal Control. They’ll be doing follow ups, whether it’s in a home, residences or any other type of establishment in the city,” said Det. Jeremy Silbert, Baltimore City Police.
Those officers will be part of an animal abuse response team to look into cases, like the streak of abused animals found in the city this spring.
Some say the added help can’t come soon enough.
“The city has to do better to try to resolve this issue,” said Lennon.
Several of those K-9 officers have already completed the training and are actively helping in those investigations.
The new pilot program is in response to a scathing report released by the mayor’s Anti-Animal Abuse Commission that accused police of not taking animal abuse seriously.