Arlene Crane,the outspoken wife of presidential candidate Rep. Philip M. Crane (R-Ill.), was arrested Sunday and charged with violating Fairfax County pet laws after the family's dog bit the 6-year-old son of a McLean neighbor, police said yesterday.
The incident, which produced angry statements by both Mrs. Crane and the boy's father, could mean a$500 fine amd six months in jail for her if she is convicted, county spokesman Edward Castillo said yesterday.
At one point Mrs. Crane reportedly told the victim's sister, "If the dog has rabies, he got them from you." Mrs. Crane was unavailable for comment yesterday.
The incident began, Castillo said, when the Cranes' black mixed Labrador, named Sam, bit Christian Schmidt, 6, on the hand outside the boy's home at 7641 Burford Dr.
When a county animal warden arrived at the Cranes' 7824 Burford Dr. residence to confine the dog at a county pound for the usual 10-day observation for rabies, Mrs. Crane adamantly refused.
"When the warden said he would get a warrant for her arrest, she said, 'Go ahead and get the warrant,'" Castillo said. The warden returned later with a county police officer, but Mrs. Crane refused to be arrested, county officials said. Her husband eventually persuaded her to cooperate.
Mrs. Crane was so angry she "looked like she could scare a rock" as she sat in the patrol car, said a police officer involved in the case.
She was taken before a county magistrate and charged with failure to confine a biting dog, failure to show proof of a valid rabies inoculation, and lackilng a valid dog license. She was released on $100 personal bond.
The boy's father, Robert Schmidt, president of the National Cable Television Association in Washington, said yesterday he was "livid" over a court summons served by a county sheriff's deputy that requests his son's appearance in court Nov. 14 as a witness in Crane's case.
"He'll be part of a circus," Schmidt said. "She apparently wants to fight this. But I'm not taking any guff off of anybody. This is a continuing saga in the neighborhood.She's a legend in her own time," he said.
The boy will have to undergo 21 inoculations if the dog displays signs of rabies, said Chester Bowman, director of the county's health department laboratory.