One man faces trial, another cleared
No charges will be filed against a Severn man who shot and killed a pit bull last month while it fought with his unleashed dog, county State's Attorney's Office officials said.
However, charges stand for a Severna Park man who fatally shot his neighbor's dog the previous day after the animal growled and barked at him in his backyard.
Both Anthony Noriega, 32, of Severn, and Charles L. McConnell, 39, of Severna Park, told county police they were acting in self-defense.
In Noriega's case, detectives decided to meet with prosecutors to discuss what charges - if any - would be appropriate.
"We didn't have the evidence for a criminal case," said Kristin Fleckenstein, a spokeswoman for the State's Attorney's Office.
Police did not consult with prosecutors before charging McConnell with animal cruelty and a firearms offense the previous day. Officers are not required to call the office in animal cruelty cases, Fleckenstein said.
A trial is scheduled for McConnell in District
Court in Annapolis on Sept. 26.
Dog fightAccording to police, 18-year-old Bianca Moye was walking a pit bull named Kanye about 11 a.m. June 5 near the intersection of Stillmeadow Drive and Oriole Court when a pit named Gyno approached. Gyno was not on a leash.
Moye was holding the leash when the dogs began fighting, but quickly dropped it.
Gyno was being supervised by three juveniles.
When the dogs began to fight, one of the kids ran home and informed its owner, Noriega. Moments later, Noriega walked up and shot Kanye once in the torso, police said. The gray 4-year-old pit bull died as its owner rushed it to the Anne Arundel Veterinary Emergency Hospital on Bestgate Road outside Annapolis.
Gyno remained in the custody of Animal Control for three days, said Justin Mulcahy, a county police spokesman. Noriega was given a warning letter June 13 regarding the attack and his dog running at large.
Recommendations were made that Gyno be kept on a 4-foot leash, muzzled and in the company of an adult when outside of the home.
The June 5 fight was not the first run-in between Kanye and Gyno. Noriega told police Kayne went into his yard in March 2010 and fought with Gyno. He fired his Ruger P-95 into the ground, scaring Kayne off.
Fleckenstein said the woman holding Kanye dropped the leash, which was a factor in the prosecutor's recommendation to not file charges against Noriega.
"During the fight the dog that was shot was not under the control of its owner," she said.
Kanye's owner, Monica Moye, said the family was shocked by the decision.
"We were 100 percent sure he would get charged with something," she said. "To say he's being charged with nothing to me means justice has failed again."
She said prosecutors cited a county code that says a person may not be held liable for destroying a dog if that animal is at large and in the act of attacking another animal. Since Moye's adult daughter dropped the leash during the attack, Kanye was technically at large.
Moye argued her daughter would not have dropped the leash if Gyno, which was unleashed, had not attacked Kanye.
"She (Bianca) is an adult and she was in control but she got scared," Moye said. She said she waited 30 days only to get the bad news.
"I took off work at the Pentagon and rolled right up to Annapolis," Moye said. "They (prosecutors) tried to explain it to me and I'm still not getting it. I broke down in tears. To me, they didn't do the best they could. They had 30 days and you're telling me this is all they could come up with?"
The Moye family still is wondering where Kayne's body is. Moye was told Animal Control had the remains because of the investigation. The family wants to give the dog a proper burial.
Running looseMcConnell was on his property on Benfield Road about 6:30 p.m. June 4 - the day before the Severn dog shooting - when his neighbor's pit bull entered the backyard. McConnell told police the pit, Jasmine, was aggressively barking and growling at him. He pulled his .40 caliber Beretta from a holster and fired once at the dog, which was about 10 feet from him, he told police.
After being shot, Jasmine ran back to her yard on Benfield Road, where she was later found dead.
McConnell told police he was carrying the Beretta because he was afraid of Jasmine, who he said ran loose in his neighborhood.