Twenty-seven 'Black Rock Dogs' from Hampstead laid to rest in Baltimore County

Volunteers, visitors and staff laid white flowers on a memorial arch, one-by-one, as 27 names were read aloud.

Acorn. Almandine. Aspen. Cricket. Fern. Grasshopper. Holly. Jade. Juniper. Kona. Linden. Luna. Marigold. Mariposa. Meadow. Nessy. River. Rory. Robin. Sage. Skye. Star. Sycamore. Sunshine. Topaz. Tupelo. Willow.


Those were the names given to the 27 dogs found dead in “the most extreme filth” at a Hampstead property early in April.

One man and one woman face over 100 criminal charges related to the deceased dogs and an additional 27 dogs that were rescued from the property still alive. Both are held without bond and have trials scheduled for July in Carroll County.


The remains of the 27 dogs were buried at the Baltimore Humane Society in Reisterstown, off Nicodemus Road. About 50 people gathered Thursday morning as the dogs were laid to rest under a memorial arch.

The Humane Society of Carroll County on Tuesday said 16 more dead dogs were found on the property at 4302 Black Rock Road in Hampstead, where 11 dogs were found dead and 27 others were rescued Friday.

“It is so wonderful to know that we have so much community support,” said Karen Baker, executive director of the Humane Society of Carroll County.

Baker said the living dogs rescued from the property in Hampstead have all been placed — either returned to their original owners or placed in foster or adoption positions.

The dogs removed from the property, living and dead, have collectively been referred to as the “Black Rock Dogs,” named for the road the property they were rescued from sits on. Veronica Van Hof, the cemetery and funeral director at the Baltimore Humane Society, said they named the deceased dogs so as to not “elevate their captors.”

“We will name them because we could not save them,” Van Hof said. “We name them so we remember them.”

Ed Smith, a Carroll County animal control officer who went into the home in Hampstead to rescue and recover the dogs, was at the ceremony and was the one who placed a memorial stone dedicated to the 27 who died. The memorial stone is a painted paver; it stands beneath a wooden archway decorated with empty collars and name tags.

“We saved 27 dogs that day. Our job is now to bring justice to the dead dogs,” Smith said, adding he was happy that the 27 rescued dogs had homes now.

One of the Dalmatians rescued from the home was at the memorial to say goodbye to her 27 brothers and sisters. Chloe, a one-and-a-half-year-old Dalmatian, was accompanied by Cynthia Ambs, of Leesburg, Virginia, who’s currently fostering her.

Chloe, who Ambs suspects was born in the Hampstead home, was energetic and friendly, though still scarred: the young dog had scar tissue on her tail and the top of her head, and parts of her fur were still stained brown from the filth she had lived in.

Ambs called the dog “smart as a whip,” and said she was adjusting well to living with other dogs and getting to know people — though she could be a little territorial and would, for example, try to move around other dogs that Ambs cares for in order to get food first.

“It’s a survival thing for her,” Ambs said. “She’s definitely scrappy.”

Ambs, who lives on 17 acres with five other dogs, said she credits the other canines for most of Chloe’s rehabilitation. They’ve been good to Chloe, Ambs said.


“She’s a lucky girl,” Ambs said.

Christine DeCorse, executive director of the Baltimore Humane Society, said it was “a huge honor” to be able to have the remains of the Black Rock Dogs on their property.

”Knowing how these dogs were treated, how they died … it’s just an honor,” she said. “[It’s] the only term I can think to describe how we feel, to always [get to] remember these dogs.”

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