Dog attack under investigation in Baltimore County

Owner says Yorkie killed by 3 other dogs
Posted at 11:45 PM, Jun 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-30 07:24:38-04

When nature calls, dog owners usually let their pets outside. In Towson, one woman says that decision took a turn for the worst.

About two weeks ago, Christina Abbate says she took her 11-year-old Yorkie outside when it was attacked and killed by three bigger dogs walking on leashes by her apartment.

"There was nothing I could do, although I wanted to very badly," Abbate said.

Her roommate, Kaitlyn Grady rushed outside to find out what was going on and saw Hobson lying motionless on the ground.

"It was just completely shocking," Grady said. "Something no one really expects to see and no one should ever see."

Abbate says the owner of the dogs helped pull them off of Hobson, but it was too late. He didn't have a heartbeat when taken to a nearby animal hospital.

She reported the attack to Baltimore County Animal Services, which says it is investigating. She also called a lawyer, but didn't get the news she was hoping for.

"They told me that in the state of Maryland, animals are considered a piece of property," Abbate said. "It's a little thing that I take care of every single day. It's not a piece of property. It's family. Pets are family."

The lawyer she talked to happened to be State Senator Bobby Zirkin, who works on dog bite cases at his law firm.

"Maryland's law on this is unbelievably cruel and needs to be reformed," he said.

Maryland dog owners can't sue for personal damages, only economic damages (like funeral costs) if their dog is killed by another dog.

For Christina, that would have meant only $70 doctor's fee.

"Other states have recognized pain and suffering or loss of companionship, which is what I think we should do here in Maryland," says Zirkin. 

Zirkin sponsored a bill in Annapolis earlier this year to give dog owners more options in situations like this, but the bill failed to pass the General Assembly.

Now, all Christina can do is tell Hobson's story, but she wishes she could do more.

"I can't just let it go," she says. "It's my dog. I love him so much. I'm not just going to say, 'It's OK what happened.'"

Christina lives in the The Colony at Towson Apartments, which said it is still getting it's facts together on the incident and refused further comment. One staff member did tell ABC2 News that the dogs involved have been removed.