Two dogs attacked a pair of miniature horses in Thurmont late last month, leaving the horses injured and with a long recovery ahead, according to the horses’ owner and animal control officers.

Pam Garber, who lives directly across the street from where her horses are stabled, said she was just going to bed when she heard her neighbor’s dogs barking at about 1:20 a.m. Sept. 29. Knowing her new neighbors owned two dogs, Garber didn’t think much of the noise at first, but when she heard what sounded like a child screaming she realized her horses were squealing in pain.

“There was blood all over the walls of the barn but we found them out in the pasture,” Garber said.

Garber’s 16-year-old son tried to fight the dogs off the horses to no avail.

“I realized we needed help,” she said. “I am screaming at the top of my lungs, ‘Help, help! We need help!”

Neighbors came outside to see what the noise was, and some called police, Gardber said. Garber ran to the home in which the dogs live and banged on the door to get their attention, she said.

Garber said she found the gate that usually keeps the dogs in the yard wide open when she arrived at the couple’s house, and she suspects it was left open by accident.

The owners of the dogs could not be reached for comment as of Monday and will not be named because no criminal charges have been filed as a result of an investigation by the Frederick County Animal Control Division, which closed late last week.

The animals were eventually separated, but both horses suffered significant injuries, including deep bites and gouges to one of the animals’ hindquarters and puncture wounds to the other animal’s head, Garber said.

The dog owners received two $50 fines — one for each dog. Garber said she was outraged by the punishment.

“Animal control is not doing anything, they’re not taking the dogs, they didn’t quarantine them at the time that this happened, they refused to even come out [that night] and then when they did come out Sunday morning [the officer] said they’ll get a $50 fine for not containing the dogs on their property, and that’s it,” Garber said.

Sgt. Dave Luckenbaugh, an animal control supervisor, said the penalties were in line with the county’s ordinances and state laws.

The fines were the maximum penalty for a first offense under the law prohibiting owners for allowing their dogs to run at large, Luckenbaugh said. Animal control officers did not find any previous dog bite incidents involving the dogs’ owners.

While the fines may be minor, animal control officers also deemed both dogs, one of which was an American bulldog and the other a pitbull mix, to be potentially dangerous as a result of their investigation, Luckenbaugh said.

“Now that the dogs are potentially dangerous, if they violate the county ordinance or if they violate the state law for dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs, it will be a misdemeanor criminal offense,” Luckenbaugh said, explaining that a fine of up to $1,000 can be leveled against those found guilty of violating the county’s ordinance, while owners convicted of violating the state law face a fine of up to $2,500.

Owners of potentially dangerous dogs are also required to keep their animals confined in proper enclosures if they are ever left unattended, Luckenbaugh said. Proper enclosures for dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs could be inside a residence, but if the dogs are kept outside they need to stay in a secured outdoor structure or pen that meets the specific and strict guidelines under the county’s ordinance, including a lock and secures sides, a roof and flooring, according to the ordinance.

“In addition, when [the dogs are] off the property, they have to be on a leash or chain under the immediate control of an adult,” Luckenbaugh said.

Garber said the fines and penalties imposed so far aren’t enough.

“I would love the dogs to be killed, but the least amount that should be done is they should be muzzled, because, if they get out, we live right down the street from Eyler Park. I mean, we have children that live in all the houses around us, this could have been one of them,” Garber said, adding that she would also like the dog’s owners to help pay for the veterinarian and medical bills she has incurred as a result of the attack.

An emergency vet had to be called to the pasture to treat the horses immediately after the attack, which cost $700 alone, and additional fees have built up for subsequent medical services and treatment since, Garber said.

Luckenbaugh said the animal control division was limited to enforcing the county’s ordinance and state laws concerning animals, saying that animal control officers do not give legal advice, but will appear in court if they are subpoenaed to provide copies of case files and appear in court if a civil case is filed as a result of a case they investigated.

Garber said she was considering filing a lawsuit against the dog owners, but no case was filed as of Monday, according to an online search of county court records.

Follow Jeremy Arias on Twitter:


Jeremy Arias is the Frederick city and government reporter for The Frederick News-Post.

(47) comments


The ruling makes total sense, the dogs were just doing what comes naturally, yes hunting prey is a dog instinct as well, and you can't punish some one harshly for a simple mistake, like leaving a gate open. So they get a small fine and a bad rap for there dogs to let them know of the danger. But if it happens again after notifying them of the potential risk and need for diligence, then the hammer comes down. While I can see it seeming very unfair to the horse owner, its actually a very just outcome.


I hope there is a law giving authority to Animal Control to euthanize animals that kill pets or livestock and animals that attack people.


For everyone who thinks the owners will be held responsible please remember even if they are sued by the horse owners the dog owners can simply not pay even with a judgement against them, they can hide their assets, they could simply just not accept the court papers being served to them, it is not as cut and dry as people would like to think. If we do not get the laws changed they are basically off the hook at this point. Which really sucks because we all agree that they should be held responsible no matter what side of the fence you sit in regarding breeds!


Legalizeit, do you mean the dog owners will willingly assume the role of deadbeat, deliberately ruining their credit rating? We are not talking about vast sums of money here. We are talking about covering all veterinary bills for medical treatment of the horses wounds and associated costs. A judgement will show up in a background search, and an unpaid judgement is worse, possibly affecting job status, employability, ability to rent anything, or buy on credit. They will essentially become a financial pariah. While some may choose that path for such a small sum, the vast majority will not. There are also other ways of obtaining the judgement settlement, such as wage garnishment. Who would willingly put themselves through that?

What changes to the law do you propose?

big truck John

You people are ridiculous! The fact of the matter is 2 dogs went onto someone else's property and attacked there animals! This makes the dog owners responsible!! It does not matter what type of dog, who is right or wrong, who knows more then you, etc. You all are trying to one up each other!!! OMG, JUST STOP ALREADY!!


You are correct btj. Apologies if you took offense. The dog owner is responsible for all damages, and I stated that several times. However, as an owner of both horses and pitbulls, I strongly object to those that deliberately slander the breed, and I try to educate them. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water...


Ax few years ago we were visiting our daughter, who had two labadors, one black, one golden. Rocky was black, Sam was golden and lazy. .Needing exercise I went for a walk. Two dalmatians started following me and they started to show a bad intent. I walked not too fast, but they continued to get closer. Suddenly, Rocky and Sam showed up. Without looking at the dalmatians they cut between me and the dalmatians, wagging their tails. Slowly the dalmatians backed off. I was never so happy to see two dogs as I was then. They kept me company almost all the way. Rocky took off chasing a rabbit, lazy Sam stayed with me. .Glad to have him.

Another time, delivering nespapers I went to the man in charge house to turn in money. I was met at the end of the driveway by his police dog. Getting off my bike I talked to him, showed him both of my hands palm up. After awhile he calmed down and I walked up the driveway. Then I went up the porch steps and he growled. I stopped and talked to him and he wandered off. I knocked on the door and the manager came to the door. He asked how did you get here. I said I rode my bike. He said, no, how did you get on the porch. I said I walked. He said you are the only person that has gotten past our dog. It really wasn't a problem. They had gotten the dog from the military, he had been trained. If you treated him right, he wouldn't hurt you.

Now, on my paper route there were dogs you didn't want to turn your back on.

They are another story.


Great stories Dick. You demonstrated many of the proper behaviors when dealing with strange dogs. Make them believe you are no threat to them or their territory. Show them that you have a space, and are not interested in their space. Don't make direct eye contact or challenge them, and do not make them think you are prey by letting them know you're afraid and running away. That should work with the vast majority of dogs. Some, regardless of breed will still ba aggressive, and may still bite. But most will not. Do not confront unless attacked. It's tough to supress our fight or flight instincts, but you have to do it.

Comment deleted.

The owner of the livestock could certainly hold the dog owners responsible


OK people get back on track about the real problems of this horrible incident. The dogs regardless of breed or size have nothing to do with the actions of the attack. The fact is the DOGS got out and went to another property and caused sever damage to livestock. One of the dogs tried to eat the Mini alive. This could have been your child, pet or visiting friend at your house. The Owners are responsible for their dogs actions regardless of the breed.

The County and State have inadequate laws to protect against viscous attacks. We should not judge on how many times a dog attacks but also on the level of aggressiveness of an attack. If a dog rips someone's ear or arm off this is sever. If the bite is a protective nip that is a different level of aggression.

We can't blame Animal Control for inadequate laws. They can only enforce the law. The Town or Thurmont and Frederick County need to develop it's own bylaws to protect against "dangerous animals" being house pets regardless.


Of course you are correct Mikecadd. The dog owners are fully responsible for the behavior of their animals. The story said they were new neighbors, so they may not have familiarized the dogs with the neighborhood animals. The unfortunate horses paid for that carelessness with their flesh, and the dogs may ultimately pay for it with their lives. Nonetheless, the dog owners must be made to pay the horse owners all damages due. If the County won't do it, the Courts can, once a lawsuit is filed for damages. The owners face a choice; pay what is due now, or pay a much higher price later.


The breed of dog shouldn't make a difference. Would a different breed be getting different reactions? What if it was a Poodle, Dalmation, Lab, Shepard, Austrailian Sheep Dog, Collie, Pomeranian, Jack Russell, whatever breed you prefer...what makes the difference?? Would you be as mad? Yes, a smaller dog is smaller, but could've done damage, maybe not as much as a larger dog, but damage is damage regardless. People need to move past the breed and focus on the DOG and it's training/manners/temperment.


And no, I do not have a Bully breed, I have an older Lab. She is a trained working dog.




First and foremost, I am a horse and a dog person. So I see from both sides. These ponies were in their own territory, minding their own business in the middle of the night. These dogs went into that area, and attacked them. It's plain and simple. I do not see how ponies could have provoked the dogs. The ponies had no reason to think that their own home had a predator there lurking. The real question now, will the owners of the dogs step up and do the right thing (pay for the vet bills, which will be VERY expensive)? Those dogs obviously have some issues, and it's not because of their breed. Any dog can be a lover or a fighter, be it a lab, yorkie, boxer, maltese, pit, whatever breed. It's all how they are trained and treated. I’ve known aggressive dogs whose breeds are supposed to be very docile/loving, and then some of the sweetest dogs I know are of the Bully breeds, two of whom are horse farm dogs! The law needs to be changed, especially when there is damage caused to this extent! This was not a simple bite, this was a mauling. In the future, there needs to be more than just a $50 fine per dog should something like this ever happen again. Let’s hope that something like this never happens again. And if it does, the consequence should be more than just $50 per dog.


Same here ladyopearl. The dog owners must be made responsible of the injuries their dogs caused. The $750 for the emergency vet is only the beginning of the vet bills. The dog owners must step up and do the right thing, or be made to do the right thing via the courts, where it will be MUCH more expensive. Additionally, a part of the required settlement should be mandatory obedience training...for both dogs and owners.

big truck John

This is horrible, and apparently the dog owners are not stepping up and are just ignorant assholes!!.....There is a go fund me set up - search for Health and safety Fund for Presley and Paisley

big truck John

This is horrible, and apparently the dog owners are not stepping up and are just ignorant assholes!!.....There is a go fund me set up - search for Health and safety Fund for Presley and Paisley


The dogs should be shot. If they will attack horses they will attack humans.


Awww, those gentle, loving “nanny” dogs strike again. Such nice dogs. Get one for your children to play with.


"According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, "owners of pit bull-type dogs deal with a strong breed stigma; however, controlled studies have not identified this breed group as disproportionately dangerous."[1] Because owners of stigmatized breeds are more likely to have involvement in criminal or violent acts, breed correlations may have the owner's behavior as the underlying causal factor.[1]"

[1] "Dog Bite Risk and Prevention: The Role of Breed". American Veterinary Medical Association. April 17, 2012.



You didn't read either the direct quote from the AMVA, nor read the referenced document, did you? Different statistic from the breeds that bite the most. #1 Chihuahua. #3 Dalmatian. More kids are disfigured by facial bites from these dogs than other breeds.

BTW, please define a pitbull. What are their genetic differences from other breeds?


Now google “what breed of dog KILLS most humans” gab. Or what breed of dog KILLS most neighborhood pets? My wife and I were in PetCo on the Golden Mile (gasp!) last week and a man walked in with a “mutt” followed by a lady being dragged in by a Pit Breed wanting to say hi to the dog in front of him. There are a ton of nice dogs out there, why a Pit Breed?


phy, both of our pits were rescues from the shelter. We trained them in obedience and agility. When we walk they walk. When we stop, they stop and sit without being told. You can easily come up to them and pet them, no problem. When it's time to work (obedience or agility) they work hard, and have fun doing so. Dogs, like kids, are a responsibility, and take work, lots and lots of work. Ignore them, and there will be a plethora of bad behaviors (dogs and kids). They're not a toy to be ignored when you don't want to deal with them, or leave them outside on a chain. Dogs are highly social animals and like to be with others. They're our family members, and we're their pack members. We are alpha. What you saw at PetCo was bad behavior from an owner that apparently doesn't know any better, leading to bad dog behavior. Have you never watched or read anything from Cesar Millan or other trainers? Brandon McMillan? Do you know any certified trainers? What do they say? Read the links I posted here.


gab, many, many accolades and pats on the back for your responsible, dedicated ownership of your Pit Bulls and your many guns. But what percentage of Pit Breed and gun owners do you represent? I deal in reality, the way things actually exist. The problems we have are not with Legal guns and highly trained Pit Bulls. The problems we have are with illegal guns and untrained Pit Bulls. And the jurisdictions with stricter laws on either/both have fewer problems with them.


No phy, the problem is a lack of responsibility, personal responsibility for our actions and those we are responsible for. I fully accept the responsibility for my actions, and don't try to palm it off on others as many in society seem willing to do. That leads to blaming others for their misfortunes, and in some leads to violent behaviors, including shootings. I just returned from a business trip in the UK, where "knife violence" is a common story on the nightly news. So, it ain't the gun. Want a pet that you don't have to take care of? Get a rock and paint it. All pets, including dogs, are living, breathing animals that require attention and proper training, the same as a child. Too bad that many treat their pets, and even their kids, like someone else's problem, or a thing that can be put away like a toy, until they want to play with it. When that happens, bad things follow, including violence, knifings, shootings, and dog attacks. That's reality.


Old stats are what are used to justify bully breeds... if you look at more recent numbers it shows a huge difference. I love my dog but if she got out and attacked another animal, she should be put down, because I failed as an owner to have courage to put down an aggressive animal because of emotion.


Are you talking about deaths, or bites? Different statistics. What justification are you talking about? Who said the dogs should not be put down or the owners sued? Certainly not me. The owners are fully responsible for the damages caused by their animals, including current and future veterinary bills incurred by the horses owner.

My statement is that the bully breeds have no more inherent drive to kill, or bite, than any other dog. If you read the AVMA report, you would know that. Each of those reports lists many pages of references each. It's not the dog, it's the owner and their approach to training.

Here are additional links to references by veterinarians:


Yep- this only goes up to 2006. At that time Pit Bulls weren't dominating our cities and shelters. Clearly there was a problem developing as you can see from the chart in your article. Bully breeds were one of the top 2 breeds for bites in the last 2 years in the chart. 2006 was quite a few years ago. Also, this is a peer written article, meaning there is no experiment or reproducible data. If you want facts look up research journals and find experiments with low P values. Read some of the recent statistics (as in less than 10 years old) and you'll see why the breed has such a bad rap.


@ mbk6891 and legalizeit. My references were about the propensity for any given pit bull to be any more aggressive than any other breed, and if you had read the reference you would have found that. Furthermore, these are peer-reviewed review summaries of many, many peer-reviewed journal articles. I review scientific literature for a living, so I am well aware of what to do, thanks. What you both are referring to is the number of deaths reported, which is not the same as what I was discussing originally. phydeaux and others here claim that bit bulls are inherently vicious dogs, which is what these journal articles clearly state to be not true. It is the upbringing and training of the dog. Bad owner=bad training=bad dog behavior. Good owner=highly trained dog=good dog, simple. Dogs are just like kids. If you never exposed kids to training (manners, appropriate behavior, schooling, etc.) how do you think they would behave? Again, same thing.

Now, as to your death stats, of course a big dog with powerful jaws may kill you. A Chihuahua may be more likely to bite, but rarely kill. My cousin had her lower lip torn off by such a dog, and still bears the disfigurement after 50 years that cosmetic surgery couldn't completely repair. Bull Mastiffs, Rottweilers, Irish Wolfhounds, Akitas, and other large powerful breeds can also kill you (and there have been deaths) if not trained in obedience and acceptable behavior. However there are far fewer of those than bully breeds. Since there are less reported bites by these others, does that it mean these other breeds are inherently more docile? No! It means their populations are smaller, so there are fewer reports of bites. Just like there are huge number of bites from Chihuahuas (#1), because they are more prevalent.

Also, here is a newer article article for you, which is less than two years old. How much newer do you need?

The dangerous dog debate

Breed bans are popular, but do they make the public safer?


I have to say that if you honestly work in the scientific field then I’m a little embarrassed for you if you think these articles prove anything. I’m also a little embarrassed for you if you see any type of controlled experiments happening in any of these articles. And let me also point out that 90% of these articles are about dog populations in other countries where bully breeds are not nearly as common in the US. But as someone who “reviews scientific articles” for a living I’m sure you were already aware of these tiny details. NRegardless of what you think you know (or don’t) let’s look at this other incident in the FNP about another equine (a mini) at death’s door in Frederick Country due to a Pit Bull. That’s 2 incidents in less than 2 weeks right in our backyard. Yes, dogs are only as good as their owners teach them to be, but how many articles do you see in the FNP about a golden attack? Or a beagle? There’s a correlation here. Certain breeds don’t develop reputations without reason. That’s all I’m going to say about it. Judging by the comments almost all of us agree that these dogs aren’t safe. My hope is that the state will revisited these rules so dogs like this can’t continue to be a threat.


@mbk6891: The American Veterinary Medical Association is the preeminent veterinary medical association in the US. Their vets understand both canine physiology and behavioral attributes. If you think their work is shoddy, take it up with them. I am sure you actually checked the references (sarcasm). I, and many others, have demonstrated nurture over nature with our own shelter rescue pit bull dogs. Read what I wrote here. I know what I am talking about. No need to feel sorry for me Bud, I am doing very well thank you.[cool]


Big differences between disfigured and death! A simple scar is classified as disfigured....but dead is dead! You can not compare bites vs deaths it is an immature uneducated comparison. I am not qualified to define a bred that is up to the AVMA who compiled the stats. The simple fact that these type of dogs caused over 240 deaths in that time frame but only make up 6.5% of the total US dog population is extremely alarming and needs to be addressed


This breed of dog should be prohibited nationwide! The fines associated with first time offenders haven't been updated in too many years--it's time to raise them. So, if you don't train your dogs and they run off and attack anyone or anything, owners should be fined $1,000 and dogs should be removed until such time owners and dogs attend mandatory dog training at owners expense. Second offense, the dogs get euthanized posthaste!


Pit breeds want to, try to, KILL!! They have been bred for Centuries to KILL!! No amount of raising, no amount of training, can remove that basic instinct from their psyche. They are one solid muscle, they have jaws of steel, they are impervious to pain. It’s not their fault, man has bred them and trained them to KILL! Just like our Corgi tried to herd the kids playing in the yard, and other breeds have behavior that reflect their history, pit breeds can no longer be allowed to terrorize the public. My opinion as a dog lover.

gabrielshorn2013 American Staffordshires were bred as "nursemaid's dogs", or children's dogs. An individual dog's behavior is dependent on it's owners training and handling techniques. Our pitties are Frederick Animal Shelter rescues, who went through vigorous training in obedience and agility. They're lovers not fighters, lickers not biters.


Gabriel - stop repeating that nonsense. Dogs cannot be nurserymaids, no matter what superhuman traits you try to ascribe to them. It’s a lie.

And you can be as nasty as you please to a Golden Retriever. It won’t turn into a murderous monster.


Seven, I have firsthand experience training my pitties in Obedience Trials and Agility. Both would have AKC UDX titles if they were purebred. Do you have such training and experience with dogs to make such an evaluation? Doubt it. Pits are not inherently dangerous. That's a lie you propagate. As for your Golden reference, wanna bet? Furthermore, #3 on the "biter list" is the Dalmatian, you know, those loveable dogs in the Disney movies. #1 is the Chihuahua.


You're right, nanny dogs never existed. It's just another lie by pitbull pushers trying to make their murder dogs look good. Never, ever trust the word of someone who repeats that lie. Pitbulls are the number one killer of humans over all other breeds combined. There are multiple peer reviewed medical studies that prove that pitbulls cause far more damage when they attack.


Apparently you missed my reference to a report from the American Veterinary Medical Association ( above. You know, the doctors that study animals (dogs) health and their behaviors. Here is the title again and link. Don't take my word for it, read it for yourself.

"Dog Bite Risk and Prevention: The Role of Breed". American Veterinary Medical Association. April 17, 2012

Furthermore, one of the dogs was a Bulldog, not a "pit bull". Know the difference?


I know the difference, one KILLS the other doesn’t.


BZZZZT! Wrong, but thanks for paying our game phydeaux. Any large breed can kill if they attack you. Bull Mastiffs, Akitas, Boerboels, Cane Corsos, Great Danes, Belgian Tervurens, German Shepherds, and on, and on. Even some medium and small dogs can kill if they attack and catch you right. It is all in the training, and mine are trained in Obedience and Agility. See, the difference is we took the time and effort to train our pound rescue dogs to the level we expect. It took a little while, but it was successful. People comment on how well-behaved and polite they really are. And the genetic difference between a bulldog and a "pit bull"? Not a doggone thing. I guess you don't really know much about dogs after all.


I adore pit bulls generally, but saying they are not inherently dangerous is false. They are simply too powerful and too often involved in attacks. Same may be true of some other breeds. I remember being chased by a German Shepard and was pretty sure my life was over. Thank goodness it responded to its owners yells. Like people, dogs can have bad days and even mood altering brain tumors, or they can fall into the wrong crowds. Chiwawas might be the most common biters, but in most cases I would rather be bitten by a chiwawa than a pit bull. [scared]


I also totally adore Dobermans and Rottweillers, but they are also inherently too dangerous as pets. Sadly, German Shepherds too, though they are often great service dogs.


Since they were brought up - Dalmations too should not be pets, as their temperaments tend to be unstable.


Three, it's not the breed, it's the owner and their training. The damage from a poorly trained small dog (such as a Chihuahua) is for the most part, relatively minimal, and thus tolerated. The damage from a poorly trained medium to large dog can be devestating to deadly. They are much more powerful than small dogs, and the damage they cause is less tolerated by society, despite a lower bite rate then said small dogs. The AVMA study showed that breed was irrelevant, and it was the owner that was responsible. People who think they are badasses, whether in reality or not, will train their dogs to be badasses through neglect, indifference, or purposeful training. Pits and Dobies look badass, so there you go. However, their propensity to be aggressive is no more than any other breed. Specific breed laws are nonsense. If we go that route, we should just ban all large dogs. Ain't gonna happen.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Already a member?

Login Now
Click Here!

Currently a News-Post subscriber?

Activate your membership at no additional charge.
Click Here!

Need more information?

Learn about the benefits of membership.
Click Here!

Ready to join?

Choose the membership plan that fits your needs.
Click Here!