After Pit Bull Attack, Md. Couple Faces Eviction
GLEN BURNIE, Md. — A Glen Burnie couple attacked by a pit bull June 21 is being evicted from their Highland Drive apartment at the end of this month.
Janet Miller, 57, told The Capital of Annapolis that she received a 30-day eviction notice Thursday. Southgate Apartments management said they had to vacate the property for having her daughter’s pit bull on the premises “without management’s knowledge or consent,” and for putting herself and other residents in danger.
Miller received another letter the same day telling her she had passed a housing inspection dealing with a leaking air conditioner four days earlier. She said she never missed a rent payment.
Management apparently informed residents in October that pets of “known attack breeds” including pit bulls, Dobermans, pinschers, Rottweilers, German shepherds and chow chows, or “any animal with any visible aggressive behavior,” were not permitted to visit or reside on the property.
“I’m not trying to make an excuse for this… (but) I’ve never in my life heard of that, of a visiting pet having to go to the rental office and go through (the management) seeing if the dog is aggressive,” Miller said.
A representative of Southgate Apartments declined to comment Tuesday afternoon.
Miller and her fiance Ken Linc, 53, said the pit bull, Capone, never showed signs of aggression and was only visiting.
“And we were trying to get him contained and away from people,” Miller said. “We were definitely thinking of safety when this happened, even though you don’t think of anything but, ‘I want to live.’?”
Miller and Linc had left a chicken in the oven for dinner when they took Capone and Linc’s beagle mix, Shiloh, for a brief walk on the evening of June 21. Miller was dog-sitting for her daughter, as she had done before. Capone used to belong to the former housemate of Miller’s daughter.
“I said ‘Fine,’ because (Capone) was like a grandson to me,” Miller said. “He was a very good, nonaggressive dog, believe it or not. He would come up and give you his paw, rolled over and would put his paws up for you to rub his belly.”
But knowing that some residents might be wary of pit bulls, the couple said they took the precaution of leaving through the back door and avoiding neighbors.
About 100 feet from the building’s front door, Capone escaped from his collar, and ran “like a playful puppy” in fast circles. The couple then called the dog, and Linc said he looked Capone in the eye right before he attacked. A hospital specialist told Miller that act may have triggered memories of an abusive past for Capone.
“For like a second, I wanted to get the leash on him,” Linc said. “But once the dog lunged and started biting, I was just trying to get away from the dog at that time.”
“And I was screaming, ‘call 911′ and ‘protect your face,’?” Miller said. She got blood on Linc’s dog while trying to protect it, as it barked and tried to defend the couple.
A neighbor on the upper floor called out, “You’ve got to stab him!” and threw a knife down, which Miller tossed toward Linc.
Miller climbed on top of an air-conditioning unit near the doors and the dog lunged at Miller’s arm and wouldn’t let go.
Miller’s daughter once told her pit bulls in general — she was not referring specifically to Capone — would lock down when they bite. “I never knew what that meant. Lock?” Miller said. “I knew it then.”
Linc made it to the door of the couple’s basement apartment while Miller went up one floor, both sliding on the blood-covered entryway. A neighbor sheltered her inside until paramedics arrived.
Police used a Taser on the dog, who later died. “I don’t know if it’s wrong or right to have feelings (about the dog),” Miller said. “I’m not saying he shouldn’t have been put down.”
The couple was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Both suffered injuries to both arms and one leg. Miller was released Saturday evening; Linc Sunday evening. Linc suffered artery damage in his left arm and said his right hand still feels numb.
“I feel like we both kind of feel like we saved each other,” Linc said. “That was the worst part of all of it, just seeing her being attacked.”
“I’m still having nightmares about it, and then I hear I’m going to lose my home now,” Miller said.
She currently has no plans, although her daughter offered to take her in.
“It’s just not fair.”
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