‘Black Rock Dogs’ house in Hampstead, site of animal cruelty case, being demolished

The Hampstead house made infamous after Carroll County authorities found dozens of dogs there either dead or living in horrendous conditions in April is being demolished.

Workers with Westminster’s WTC Contractors Inc. were demolishing the house starting at 7 a.m. Friday, according to Oliver White of WTC. White did not expect the crew to complete the demolition Friday because they found more trash at the property than anticipated.


Two occupants of the home at 4302 Black Rock Road were each charged with 109 counts of aggravated animal cruelty after 27 dogs were found dead and 27 others were discovered in the squalor in April.

Ed Smith, one of the county animal control responders to the house in April, said all the 27 dogs that were rescued have since been placed with owners.


John J. Roberts, 49, pleaded guilty in October to 11 counts of aggravated animal cruelty and was sentenced to 33 years in prison, with all but 11 years and 11 days suspended. Laura S. Filler, 56, also pleaded guilty in October to 11 counts of aggravated animal cruelty, but she is not scheduled to be sentenced until Jan. 17, according to online court records. She is being held until her sentencing.

Filler and Roberts had been renting the home since 2008 and were operating what the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office called an “unlicensed breeding operation” that Filler referred to as “Black Rock Dalmatians” and “Black Rock Puppies” on social media.

A couple of nearby neighbors said they were happy the house was being demolished.

“I’m glad they’re doing it because it wasn’t good,” Johanny Semprun said.

WTC’s White only found out about what happened at the property Friday morning.

“I feel bad for the dogs," he said. “I’m a dog person.”

Sharon L. Chiodi, owner of the property at the time in April, said she has since sold the property but wouldn’t say to whom. Maryland property records did not note the current owner as of Friday.

Chris Winebrenner, Carroll County’s communications manager, confirmed Friday that a demolition permit was issued from the county permits office. She did not have any further details. A spokesperson of the permits office did not provide a copy of the permit.

County Commissioner Richard Weaver, a Republican representing District 2, said he understood the need for the property to be demolished.

“That was just a tragic situation, no matter how you look at it,” Weaver said. “With that house, all the dogs and odor and everything in it, I can see why they’d want to demolish it.”

Weaver wasn’t aware if the home was declared as an environmental hazard but said, “Anytime you have that many animals in a home, that urine and fecal matter gets into the woodwork or into the flooring; it’s terrible to get out. The house does become almost condemned at that point for anybody to live in.”

Smith expressed hope for the future of the land, after the demolition.


“It’s the end of a bad story, or a bad saga,” he said. “Hopefully they’ll build a new house here, with good memories and feelings, and somebody will turn it into a happy place — that would be nice. It’s a nice neighborhood, Hampstead is a great community, so it’d be nice to see a family living there or somebody living there that’s going to take care of it and be a productive part of the community.”

Because there’s a pending sentence for Filler, Smith wasn’t able to specifically comment on the rescue of the 27 dogs, but he is appreciative of the community’s support.

“On behalf of myself and the staff at the Humane Society [of Carroll County], we’re very appreciative of the support of the community, support of the State’s Attorney’s Office, the support of the court system, and it’s good to know that we saved 27 lives. Those dogs are all doing very well.”

Carroll County Times reporter Mary Grace Keller contributed to this article.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun