One of the three Rottweilers involved in a Sept. 15 attack on a Rockville woman died yesterday at an undisclosed kennel where it was being held pending a court battle over whether the dogs should be killed.

Lear, a 5-year-old female, died of bloat, a condition common to "large breeds with deep chest cavities," according to a statement released yesterday by Rockville city officials. The dog's death came several hours after it underwent surgery at the kennel.

According to the statement, a veterinarian treating Lear said the illness "was not related to an animal being kept in a kennel."

The dogs' owners, Hagit and Paul Levin, were unavailable for comment last night. Steven Silverman, an attorney for the Levins, declined to comment.

Lear, along with her 2-year-old male offspring, Caesar and Bear, attacked Arlynn Joffe and her 3-year-old son, Mark, while they were walking in their neighborhood. Arlynn Joffe's wounds required more than 150 stitches. Earlier this month, the Rockville Animal Control Board refused to consider a request from the city and the Joffes that the three dogs be killed. Instead, the board reiterated its Nov. 15 order requiring that the dogs be permanently separated, tattooed for identification and banished from the city.

The Levins planned to send Lear to Hagit Levin's parents in Israel.

Rockville officials, who still want the dogs killed, recently filed an appeal of the board's order. No hearing date has been set.

The remaining two dogs are in good health at separate undisclosed kennels, a city official said yesterday.

Several days after the attack, the city seized the dogs and placed them in an undisclosed kennel in Montgomery County. In mid-October, Hagit Levin removed the dogs from a kennel in Brinklow, but city officials recaptured the dogs and placed them in separate kennels.