Around 12:05 p.m. Thursday, Montgomery County 911 dispatchers received an emergency call that quickly disconnected. Five minutes later, they received a second call from the same cell phone number. Operators could hear a woman screaming and dogs barking in the background, but could not obtain much additional information.
Using GPS pinning technology, officers responded to the 3400 block of Garrett Park Road in Silver Spring and heard yelling coming from a house. When they entered the front door, they saw a woman on the ground and a 40-pound adult male terrier mix actively attacking her. When the animal allegedly charged at police, they fired one shot, killing the dog.
We don't pull our guns out unless it's absolutely necessary, Montgomery County Police spokeswoman Nicole Gamard said. She [the victim] was definitely not winning, she has severe facial injuries at this time.
Police soon discovered the small one-story home housed 10 other dogs, mostly terrier, pit bull and beagle mixes. The conditions inside, described to ABC 7 News as deplorable, caused Montgomery County's Code Enforcement Department to condemn the structure. The county's Animal Service Division then seized the 10 remaining dogs. They were loaded one by one into vans and taken to the county-run animal shelter for testing and observation.
Oh, wow, neighbor Robert Jenkins exclaimed. She cares for [her dogs] and all are well-trained. I've been in her house and never had a problem with her dogs.
Jenkins, who has lived in the Silver Spring's Garrett Park neighborhood for 38 years, said his neighbor isn't an animal hoarder, but rather an animal lover.
She's a wonderful woman. She just retired and likes to take care of dogs. She loves them, Jenkins added.
A handful of other neighbors, however, complained to ABC 7 about the noise that drifts from the home at the most inconvenient times.
Mostly at night, just a lot of barking, Soraya Velasquez said. It can be really loud.
Shortly after the attack, a man related to the homeowner came to the scene. He declined to talk to reporters, saying the incident was a nothing story and remarked it must be a slow news day.
Paramedics transported the 54-year-old female attack victim to an area hospital. Officials say she may have permanent scars to her upper body.
We don't get calls for attacking dogs like this too often, Gamard added. Fortunately, our officers were able to intervene. They acted swiftly and they were able to get help to a woman who severely needed it.
Police say it is too early to determine if criminal charges or civil fines will be brought against the homeowner, who is currently out-of-town.
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