This is about a dog attack on another dog, and how county law addresses it.

Carroll County is home to an estimated 167,780 humans and an unknown number of dogs this year. The human population grew at 2 percent a year from 2011 to 2015. And where human population increases, canine population usually follows.


Approximately 6,000 dogs are licensed in the county, according to the Carroll County Humane Society. We do not know how many are unlicensed. Licensing a pet dog is required by law after he reaches the age of 4 months, but some owners ignore the law.

Some dogs — licensed or not — will attack other dogs, other animals or humans with what appears to be no provocation.

The attack which is the subject of today’s column occurred in a subdivision near Westminster, where many residents walk their dogs along the streets. The subdivision does not have paved sidewalks.

On one recent afternoon, a dog owner was walking her pet — breed uncertain, but he may be an American Eskimo mix — up the street. A dog she described as resembling a Labrador retriever-pit bull mix raced across a yard into the street and attacked her dog. A purebred American Eskimo generally weighs approximately 35 pounds. A Labrador-pit bull mix, called a labrabull, weighs approximately 50 pounds. The odds favored the labrabull.

The owner reported that she screamed at a man standing in the yard, “Get your dog!” He took no immediate action, but replied that it was not his dog. After several minutes, the man retrieved the attacking dog, calling it by name. A woman then approached from the house and leashed the dog.

The Eskimo did not require veterinary care after the attack. His owner reported the incident to the county Animal Control staff. The owner said later that the staff representative advised her to find out whether the dog lived at the attack address or was just visiting. The owner, uncomfortable approaching the house, declined.

Animal Control or law enforcement officers have legal authority to “pursue and destroy an at-large animal placing the public in imminent danger,” according to the Carroll County Code.

The officers also have legal authority to enforce requirements of the code that owners, “keep their animal(s) from approaching a passerby in a menacing or aggressive fashion” and prevent them from destroying private property.

The law seems to intend a “passerby” to be a human rather than another animal, but if the case were going to court, it may be plausible to argue that the dog walker was threatened with menace or aggression when the attacking dog approached her and her dog.

The attacking dog’s owner appears also to have violated the animal control law provision that states, “The owner of a dog shall keep the dog under restraint or effective control at all times.”

Violation of the animal control provisions of the code is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a $500 fine, or both.