ALMOST ANY way you look at it, those three vicious 100-pound Rottweilers that attacked and mauled the Rockville mother and her 3-year-old son three weeks ago have never had it so good. After traumatizing the son and hospitalizing the mother for three days with nine major bite wounds requiring 150 stitches, these dangerous creatures are amazingly still alive. Now, reportedly the 5-year-old mother Rottweiler is to be sent abroad, and the two 1-year-olds will be sent to more spacious living quarters: one goes to a four-acre home in Maryland, the other to a 400-acre farm in Howard County. And that's because the Rockville Animal Control Board has agreed to revoke the Rottweilers' licenses and ban them from the city -- for "the community's peace of mind and the security of the dogs," said Don Vandrey, Rockville City public information officer.
The security of the dogs? It is incredible. So has been much of the handling of this incident. Following the attack, animal control officials released the Rottweillers back into the neighborhood to the owner's custody, although the dogs could and should have been impounded. Then the owners violated the terms of the quarantine agreement and spirited the dogs away to kennels outside the city, causing animal control officials to scramble to find them. Now after a two-week investigation, the animal control board has declared these aggressive beasts -- which attack people without provocation -- to be too dangerous for Rockville but otherwise redeemable, provided they live elsewhere.
It is little solace to know that no matter where these dogs land in Maryland, state law requires their reputations as vicious and dangerous dogs to follow them. Or that they cannot run loose and must be leashed and muzzled if off the owner's property. These same restrictions applied in Rockville, but the city considered the dogs to be sufficient menaces to get rid of them anyway. They should not be foisted on any other community. The Montgomery County Animal Control Board destroyed 1,482 dogs and 139 puppies between July 1989 and last June -- some were seriously injured or sick, others were aged or were unclaimed strays. Surely, those Rottweilers are demonstrable threats to public safety and should be put to death, as well.