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State and county rule out rabies in dog mauling tragedy

 Prince Frederick, MD - A dog that attacked a Calvert County woman in June tested negative for rabies, state and county officials confirmed. The attack occurred Thursday, June 21 outside a residence on Cherry Hill Road in Huntingtown. The victim of the attack, Jenna Rae Sutphin, 28, (pictured) died later that day of the injuries she sustained when a large male Dogo Argentino attacked her. A Maryland State Police (MSP) trooper responded to the area where the attack occurred shortly after 7 a.m. and, fearing for his own safety, shot the animal with a .40 caliber pistol. The trooper then began rendering aid to Sutphin. The dog ran from the scene. Additional police officers who were dispatched to the scene, located the dog a short distance from the area where the attack occurred. Police fired at the animal again, mortally wounding it.

Since a trooper was first to arrive at the scene, MSP handled the investigation. According to MSP spokeswoman Elena Russo, the agency has closed its investigation of the incident. The dog’s corpse was sent for rabies testing, which was conducted by the Calvert County Health Department. The test determined that the animal was not rabid. A necropsy—an autopsy performed on an animal—was not conducted.

Calvert County Health Officer Dr. Laurence Polsky told TheBayNet.com that his agency’s only role in the matter is “to strictly rule out rabies as a cause for the animal’s behavior.” The health department has no authority to conduct necropsies. Polsky added that rabies’ cases among domestic animals in Maryland are rare. “We do a good job on keeping people up-to-date with vaccinations,” he said.

Sutphin worked for Prince George’s County Government. She and her boyfriend reportedly raised and sold Dogo Argentinos.

According to PetHelpful.com, Dogo Argentinos are among the five most commonly banned breeds of dogs. The dogs are banned in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Israel, Norway, the Ukraine and New York City.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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