Thursday, September 17, 2020

September 15, 2020 meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission

Hi, everyone,

The Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission held its September 15, 2020 meeting via Zoom. Here's a recap.

                                                    AGENDA


1) Call to order

2) Roll Call and certification of a quorum-In attendance were Deborah Stone Hess, Roy Plummer, Louis Eguzo, Maryanne Martin Bailey, and Bob Swensen

3) Approval of July 2020 Minutes and June 2020 minutes

Minutes of both these meetings were approved.

4) New Business

a) Commission members resigning and new appointment expected-Julie Salter is unable to continue as a member of the Commission. We'll miss her and thank her for her work with us. The Administration is now down two appointments and we hope they'll be filled soon.

b) Announcement of Animal Services Chief and Deputy Animal Services Chief-The Health Department has officially named Dr. Sandra Andrulis as Chief of Baltimore County Animal Services and the Health Dept. has also named a Deputy Chief. He is Jonny Akchin who attended our Zoom meeting. Jonny is an attorney and has worked with Baltimore County's Legal Division since 2012 and has been Counsel to the Baltimore County Animal Hearing Board since late 2013. Among his duties was writing warrant applications for Animal Services when it was necessary to seize animals from their owners in Baltimore County.

c) Johnny Akchin Introduction and welcom

Jonny expressed his appreciation for the Commission and its members and the expertise they bring to the table and said he's troubled that there was a time during which the Commission was not considered an asset.

Deborah expressed her gratitude that things are going in a cooperative direction and agreed with Jonny that it is a different Animal Services Division now.

d) Volunteer plans-Jonny talked about some of the tasks he's taking on...among them, working with Volunteer Coordinator Lissette Hernandez to grow the volunteer program. It's particularly a challenge during Covid, of course.

BCAS is interviewing applicants for an assistant to work with Lissette and also with Anna Battle who handles the rescue and foster programs at BCAS. 

Jonny says BCAS needs to find new pipelines for the volunteer program to bring more people in.

One of areas he is going to explore is using college students who have been sentenced to community service for petty college student type crime. Although the community service has a time limit, the hope is that some of these young people would love the volunteer experience and would continue as volunteers after their community service time has been fulfilled.

Jonny also wants to reach out to high school guidance counselors as many seniors have service learning hours they must fulfill. (Participants would have to be seniors as there's an 18 year old age requirement for volunteers at BCAS). 

Another possibility may include bringing in people in drug treatment programs. 

e) Discussion of meeting with Code Enforcement-Jonny is also working on resolving potential conflicts between County Code Enforcement and those who feed community and free-roaming cats. He is working on creating contractual relationships with those who care for these cats own their own property and on county property to ensure that caretakers follow guidelines that will help avoid complaints from surrounding neighbors about the cats.  If these caretakers follow required guidelines and are working to be good neighbors then Code Enforcement won't issue citations to them.

f) Latest News from BCAS-Deborah had a call with Dr,. Andrulis who filled her in on many new things happening at BCAS. 

BCAS has started a new kind of rabies clinics on Wednesdays and Thursdays. County residents can book appointments on the county website to bring their pets to BCAS for rabies shots. At the same time they can get a microchip and renew licenses although people can also renew licenses online. These appointments have ben completely cooked. They replace the monthly clinics BCAS has previously offered. Covid has made those clinics difficult because so many people show up for them and it makes social distancing impossible.

BCAS has also started "TNR Fridays". Members of  the public can just show up at BCAS on Fridays and bring in as many cats for TNR as they have. If they have too many they might have to hold some for surgery the next day.

There's a huge demand for spay/neuter services, and with the Dundalk location still closed, BCAS is booked out for these appointments till December.

Members of the public are being allowed into the shelter now.

BCAS is doing pet surrenders and adoption by appointment.

The shelter population is pretty manageable right now even with cats.

g) BAWA numbers-In addition to the quarterly statistics that BCAS provides to the Dept. of Agriculture, they also provide monthly numbers for the meetings of BAWA (Baltimore Animal Welfare Alliance) which they hold with the other major shelters in the Baltimore area. Here they are. Live release numbers are well over 90% for both dogs and cats for the month of August!

Live Animal Count at Beginning of Month36163199
Live Intake During Month   
Stray/At Large96141237
Relinquished by Owner3576111
Owner Requested Euthanasia201232
Transferred In From Agency123
Other Intakes213152
TOTAL LIVE INTAKE173262435
Disposition During Month   
Adoption32130162
Return to Owner68472
Transferred to another Agency384280
Transferred within BAWA52126
Other Live Outcome02525
Died/Lost in Care112
Euthanasia - At Owner's Request17926
Euthanasia - All other than owner request121527
TOTAL DISPOSITION DURING MONTH173247420
    
Live Animal Count at End of Month (A+G-O)36178214
 
Live Release Rate92.3%93.7%93.1%

In addition to these great number, Jonny Akchin also mentioned great response in Customer Satisfaction surveys for veterinary services during the month of August. 163 surveys were emailed. Among those who replied 97.4% said their experience was either excellent or met expectations. Excellent!

h) Planned BCAS Videos-Deborah is working with BCAS to create a series of videos to improve the success of adoptions from BCAS. The first video will explain how to carry out the two week shutdown for dogs and why it's so important.

i) Commission Annual Report-Now that the new leadership team is in place at BCAS , it's time to start working on the Commission's annual report. 

5) Next meeting date will be October 20 at 6:30 via Zoom. If members of the public would like to sign on to the call to listen, please email Deb at debstone01@comcast.net

6) Adjournment







 

Friday, July 24, 2020

July meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission

Hi, everyone,
The Animal Services Advisory Commission continues to meet virtually. We had our most recent meeting on July 21, 2020.
We recorded our zoom meeting but the file is too big for me to post it here.
So here is a summary.

                                              AGENDA
                                          July 21, 2020
     Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission

1) Call to Order

2) Roll Call-Determination of a Quorum In attendance were Deborah Stone Hess, Bob Swensen, Maryanne Martin Bailey, Roy Plummer, Julie Salter, Louis Eguzo

3) Approval of June 2020 Minutes-
Unfortunately, there was a mixup because our secretary to the Commission has changed. I will be working on minutes for June and we will have to approve them at the August meeting along with the minutes for July. Our new secretary is Kathy Wynn.

4) Correction to minutes approved last month
Dr. Andrulis wanted us to know that it is the policy of BCAS to do spay/neuter on first impound. Those redeeming their pets can ask for a waiver, for example, if the dog is a breeding dog. If a waiver is granted, the pet owners is informed that if the animal its once again brought in as a stray to BCAS, spay/neuter will be mandatory.

5) Old Business
a) TNR legislation
Deborah has been wanting Baltimore County to pass TNR legislation making it the law in the county. She and Dr. Andrulis have discussed this. Anne Arundel County has approved TNR legislation and Dr. Andrulis put Deborah in touch with a citizen who was involved in that effort. Deborah will be meeting with Councilman Izzy Patoka to discuss this and has a conversation planned with Alley Cat Allies which helps jurisdictions to craft TNR bills and work for their passage.

6) New Business
Animal Services Chief update- The Health Dept. reports that after interviews, they have chosen someone to replace Kevin Usilton as Animal Services Chief. That persons name has been submitted to Submitted a name to HR and Budget for approval.

a) Dr. Andrulis BCAS update
Dr. Andrulis joined our meeting and explained that BCAS is still not allowing the public into the shelter because of COVID 19.

Spay/Neuter for the public and TNR availability for the public are on hold until at least August 21st.
BCAS also hopes to open the shelter by the end of August.
All interactions with the public including meet and greets with adoptable dogs are being done curbside. Meet and greets with cats are being done in the Cuddle Shuttle.
Space at BCAS is very tight, and as a result, cats become more stressed and some are getting upper respiratory infections.
But they are not euthanizing for space. They are however working to get some of these cats out to foster to help them recover more quickly. If you know anyone who can foster cats, please have them reach out to BCAS.

One of the problems shelters and rescues face is adopters not following the instructions they're given (like a two week shutdown). As a result, problems occur and sometimes animals are returned. Deborah has offered to make a video that adopters can watch about why these requirements can really make the difference between a successful adoption and an unsuccessful one.
She and Shannon Lapinsky are going to work on making the video happen.

b) 2nd quarter stats
Here is a summary of the 2nd quarter BCAS statistics along with a comparison with the first quarter's numbers. Note that there was less intake and other numbers are lower in the second quarter because of the steps BCAS has taken during the pandemic.

                  2ND QUARTER 2020 BCAS STATS

                                                           DOGS                      CATS
Intake                                               344                           458
Adoption                                       63 (18.3%)          172 (37.5%)                
Redeemed by owner                109 (31.6%)           14 (3%)
Pulled by rescue                          75 (21.8%)            64 (13.9%)
TNR                                                                                       32
Non-O Euth.                                  21 ( 6.1%)             57  (12.4%)    
Live Release Rate                         93.9%                     87.6%    

              1ST QUARTER 2020 BCAS STATISTICS

                                            DOGS                         CATS
Intake                                  572                          692
Adoption                            171 (24.7%)         245 (35.4%)
Redeemed by owner        173  (30.2%)        37 (5.3%)
Pulled by rescue                114 (19.9%)        166 (23.9%)
Non-O euth.                         51 (8.9%)          64 (9.2%)
Live Release Rate                91.18%%          90.8%


c) Election for Chair
Deborah Stone Hess was re-elected as Chair of the Commission.

7) Any Other Business? No

8) Date and Time of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Zoom on August 18, 2020 at 6:30 PM.
If anyone would like to be on the zoom call just to listen in, please let me know. Our meetings are open to the public.

9) Adjournment




Wednesday, July 15, 2020

June 2020 Meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Svcs. Advisory Commission

Hi, everyone,
Well, COVID has gotten the way of everything, including meetings of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission.
We took several months off while we were all in lockdown mode, but decided we would do a virtual meeting for the month of June. We were going to use Zoom but Baltimore County has another provider called WebEx, and we used that.
Here is a complete transcript of the meeting. It includes information on stats we discussed at the meeting. I'm sorry for the delay.
(By the way, we plan to hold our July meeting virtually as well.)

                                          June 16, 2020 meeting

                                               Baltimore County
                            Animal Services Advisory Commission
                                       
                                                   AGENDA

1. Call to Order
2. Roll Call (Determination of a Quorum)
3. Approval of January, 2020 Minutes


Meeting called to order
In attendance on Web Ex:
 Deborah Stone Hess, Louis Eguzo, Roy Plummer, Mary Ann Bailey, Janice Vincent

Dr. Andrulis is joining us from BCAS which we will get to in just a moment.
We need to approve our minutes from our January meeting. Did you all receive those today?
Minutes motioned and approved.
(This was an error on my part. The minutes we approved were February’s minutes, not January’s.)

Minutes as approved:

BALTIMORE COUNTY ANIMAL SERVICES
ADVISORY COMMISSION
February 18, 2020

The forty-sixth regular meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission was held on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 in the Main Conference Room of the Drumcastle Government Center. This meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m. by the Chair Deborah Stone-Hess. Members in attendance were: Deborah Stone-Hess, Maryanne Bailey, Louis Eguzo, Anne Gearhart, Roy Plummer (by phone), Julie Salter (by phone), Bob Swensen, Larry Townsend (by phone) and Janice Vincent.

Minutes

Minutes from January 2020 were approved. 

New Assistant to Commission: 

Deana Gunto is replacing Ellen Blake as our Commission Assistant.  Deana works at BCAS as an Office Assistant, so her knowledge about the things that we discuss will no doubt be helpful to her and to us.  We welcome her.    

Old Business: 

a. Website-Has been out of date for some time, Deborah has spoken to the County to update the website which list the Commission members, and she has been assured the site will be fixed. 

New Business: 

a. Kevin Usilton-Chief of Animal Services attended meeting, his 2nd time here.  

Meeting with County to discuss Commission’s 2019 Annual Report: 

Deborah meet with Kevin and Dr. Donatelli about 2-3 weeks ago to talk about the County response to the Commission report.  This is the first time ever to have gotten a response to one of our commission reports, positive response and discussion of what the County wants to do to reply.  
1. INCREASE NUMBER OF RESCUES THAT WORK WITH BCAS
Dept. of Health response:
93 rescues currently pull animals regularly from BCAS. 
BCAS ‘s goal is to grow that number by 12 over the next year. 
Want to increase the number of rescues that pull pittie breeds as BCAS gets so many of these dogs. 
According to Kevin Usilton, rescues are often enthusiastic about pulling from BCAS because they spay/neuter prior to leaving BCAS, as well as provide required meds.
Adopt a Homeless Animal (AAHA) not pulling same quantity as in the past due to limited boarding.

2. INCREASE ADOPTIONS
Dept. of Health response:
Cat adoptions are going very well. In 2019, BCAS facilitated the adoption of:
1242 cats 
514 dogs 
Sent 547 cats and 345 dogs to other agencies and rescues.  BCAS has set a goal of growing that number by 5% in 2020.
In addition, the shelter is increasing efforts to more effectively use social media.  Some volunteers and employees attended a photography and social media seminar, learning the prime time most people are on social media to target greatest number of views.  
Quality of animal photos has improved because Animal Services won a camera and backdrop at a recent event (via Maryland SPCA).

3. USE THE CUDDLE SHUTTLE MORE
Dept. of Health response:
The Cuddle Shuttle attended 27 off-site events in 2019, facilitating 144 adoptions. 
BCAS says it hopes to utilize the Cuddle Shuttle more to help it reach its target of growing adoptions by 5%. 
Logistics on staffing need to be considered. 
Also need to continue and expand educational use of Cuddle Shuttle (schools, libraries, etc.). 

4. REACH OUT TO LOCAL MEDIA WHEN THE SHELTER IS FULL
Dept. of Health response:
When shelter is full, The Health Dept. allows BCAS to waive adoption fees and promote on social media. BCAS would welcome the Commission’s assistance in reaching out to the media to help increase community response. Deborah has offered to do this if BCAS notifies her.
Kevin will reach out to Deborah and she will contact TV stations through her contacts.  Janice or Julie volunteered to create a list of contacts to reach out to radio, media, etc.

5. RETURNING ALL ANIMAL CONTROL DUTIES TO THE ANIMAL CONTROL DIVISION INSTEAD OF UTILIZING POLICE AS FIRST RESPONDERS
Dept. of Health response:
Weekly meetings occur between the Police Dept., State’s Attorney’s Office, and BCAS to ensure smooth investigation and prosecution of cruelty cases. Overall, the collaboration is working well and there are no plans or need to change current policy.

6. NEED FOR ADDITIONAL ACO TRAINING
Dept. of Health response:
BCAS states its officers are sufficiently trained to accomplish their job duties. 
Three have attended the East Coast Training Academy, one attended Animal Control Training in Florida, six have attended Tactical Baton Certification, Officer Safety Course, and Pepper Spray Certification through ACTS. 
Those who did not attend East Coast Training Academy received training in investigative techniques for Cruelty and Neglect Complaints and Equine Cruelty/Horse Handling 101. 
Six officers have completed the FEMA sponsored training on Animals and Disasters and training on Safe Handling of Aggressive and Dangerous Dogs. 
Two BCAS staff members will be attending PAWS training in April.   East Coast Academy new ACO’s will attend at the appropriate date/time.
Moving forward, BCAS may stagger staff to participate in other training efforts and expect attending staff to share information/experiences with other team members.


7. IF THE BALTIMORE COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT IS TO CONTINUE BEING IN CHARGE OF INVESTIGATIONS OF CRUELTY, NEGLECT AND ABUSE, OUR REPORT RECOMMENDED RECREATING THE ANIMAL ABUSE TEAM.  WE ALSO RECOMMEND THAT A TRAINING ON RECOGNIZING SIGNS OF ANIMAL CRUELTY, ABUSE AND NEGLECT BE MADE PART OF THE POLICE ACADEMY CURRICULUM AND ONGOING IN-SERVICE TRAINING FOR ALL OFFICERS. 

Dept. of Health response: 
BCAS provided in service training to the Baltimore County Police Dept. on   Sept. 9, 2019. 
Baltimore County Health Dept. is not able to speak to the training needs and/or duties performed by the Police Dept.  
Deb to check with the Police Dept. to find out about if new officers receive training to recognize signs of animal cruelty, neglect and abuse. And if part of ongoing in-service training.  


8. AFFIDAVIT REQIREMENT
Dept. of Health response: 
A notarized affidavit is only necessary in cases that go before the Animal 
Hearing Board, this is due to legal reason.
An affidavit is not required for Animal Control to investigate.  
Dept. of Health defers to the county attorneys. 


9. RESUME SPAY/NEUTER REQUIREMENTS ON 1ST IMPOUND:
Dept. of Health response:
When a stray animal is impounded and an owner comes forward to redeem their pet, they are encouraged to allow the shelter to Spay/Neuter the animal, and are told if impounded a 2nd time that it would be mandatory.
There is an incentive for the owner to allow surgery after first impound they are offered a smaller fee $20.00 versus $39.00 and a violation fee of $30.00.  

10. TNR RECOMMENDATIONS:
Dept. of Health response: 
BCAS is currently running the program as efficiently as possible with one staff member assigned to the program.  
Unknown at this time if more funding will be made available to support enhancements to the TNR program for next fiscal year.
BCAS is trying to ensure that every cat picked up for TNR has a caretaker to return to rather than the previous policy to return cats after surgery to county property as far as ½ mile away from trapping location. 
Kevin Usilton stated that more and more animals are coming in already altered that are strays.  
Deb met with Caroline Griffin and Michelle Gatos and we are working on developing wording for legislation for a TNR law in Baltimore County. The Commission discussed a plan to take proposed legislation to each Council member to encourage the Council to introduce and support such a bill. 

11. NEED FOR MARKETING AND PR CAMPAIGN TO RECRUIT NEW       VOLUNTEERS AND KEEP THEM ON BOARD:  
Dept. Of Health response: 
Dept. of Health has posted for a new Volunteer/Events Coordinator as the former coordinator, Heidi Griswold resigned.
Deb recently completed a volunteer video, during volunteer orientation the video will be shown. 

12. NEED FOR MARKETING AND PR CAMPAIGN TO EDUCATE THE COMMUNITY ABOUT BCAS:
Dept. Of Health is looking forward to having a Communications liaison for BCAS that will develop a plan for marketing campaign.  


C)  General Assembly Bills-Maryanne Martin Bailey spoke about the upcoming Humane Lobby Day in Annapolis which is sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States.  Everyone is encouraged to attend.  Humane Lobby Day takes place on Wednesday, February 26, 2020. One of the bills being consider by the Maryland General Assembly this year is HB406 in the House and SB627, these bills mirror Oscar’s Law to protect animals that are outside from extreme weather. 


Any Other Business?
      None at this time.

Visitor Remarks:

Announcement of Next Meeting Date and Location

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at Drumcastle Government Center, 6401 York Road, 3rd floor, Main Conference Room at 6:30 p.m.

Adjournment
at 7:50 p.m.

CONTIUATION OF AGENDA:

4. New Business
a) Kevin Usilton resignation

Deborah:
The first item on our agenda is the resignation of Kevin Usilton who was only at BCAS for 9 months. It was a surprise to me when I heard he was leaving. I don’t know all the details around it and frankly it doesn’t probably really matter much at this point.
We are where we are and the important thing is we keep moving forward and now they’re going to have to search for a replacement for Kevin.

b) Dr. Sandra Andrulis welcome and discussion
Deborah:
In the interim Dr. Sandra Andrulis is acting as Chief of Animal Svcs. And as I said she’s joining us tonight and I really want to welcome her to our meeting and also to the hot seat of BCAS (laugh).
So I thought perhaps Dr,. Andrulis you could tell us a little bit about where we are currently after this crazy COVID quarantine that has caused all kinds of disruptions to everything and maybe you could just bring us up to date.

Dr. A:
Sure I can do that. There will be a press release hopefully or a Facebook post coming out soon. We didn’t expect that Kevin was going to be leaving this soon so that was a surprise to all of us but in light of this unprecedented time anything goes. So we did have three staff members test positive. Luckily the outbreak stopped at that. It’s not truly an outbreak because we didn’t have 5 people but three was enough. So since that time we had multiple staff members quarantined and we haven’t had any new cases.
No shelter pets were involved. All the animals are healthy and all the employees are pretty much back to work right now so we’re looking at slow reopening to get back to where we were before but in light of COVID we’re still going to be doing curtbside appointments to try to keep the staff safe. So we’ve implemented additional safety measures to keep that from happening again so hopefully no one will test positive again at Baltimore County Animal Svcs.
In regards to Kevin leaving I’ve been at Animal Svcs for the last 5 years so I have a good idea of how things are supposed to run. We have a very strong group of supervisors right now.so I don’t think its going to really affect what we do on a day to day basis.
INAUDIBLE
We’re just looking forward to getting back to business and continuing to further our mission.

Deborah:
When you say curbside does that mean for people who are redeeming pets or…

Dr. A: We’ve been doing redemptions the whole time so if there’s a stray pet we try to get them reunited with their owner as soon as possible. They’re still being placed on the website.
As far as curbside services. it would be for owner surrenders right now. We’re not taking strays…we’re not letting the public in the shelter . But for people who find strays, Field Services is picking them up…so it’s not that we’re not picking up strays. And then public surgeries have been suspended for spay/neuter so that’s going to be started again as well and TNR.

Deborah:
Is that also at the Dundalk facility?

Dr. A:
The Dundalk facility is going to take a little longer to open up. We have curbside pretty much to a science at Baldwin because we have a large parking area so people can just drive up. At Dundalk it’s going to be a little harder…there’s only a small waiting area and the way it’s set up everyone drives in at the same time. There’s not even enough parking for the staff and the public so it’s going to be a little trickier so we’re going to wait a little bit to implement that.
Plus the county is requiring us to get sneeze guards which you see in most grocery stores and hopefully that’ll be installed within the next couple weeks but we’re waiting for that as well.

Deborah:
You mean at the front desk?

Dr. A:
Yes at the front desk to protect the receptionist.

Deborah:
So adoptions I guess are not happening is that right?

Dr. A:
Right. So this week we implemented curbside foster-to- adopt, and finders could come in and we’re contacting and have been in contact with a few other shelters in the area to get their process for curbside adoptions because it’s a little tricky you know. Most people come in they meet a bunch of dogs you know or meet every cat and we can’t have a lot of people coming into the shelter.
People have been using Zoom meetings actually to meet and greet animals before they come to the shelter and then do outside one on one meet the dogs sort of thing.

Deb:
You’ve been doing zoom meetings?

Dr. A:
Oh no we haven’t but they’ve been doing that at the SPCA.

Deb:
Oh! I was going to say wow.

Dr. A:
Yeah and so I thought that was interesting and we’re getting more information…just learned about that yesterday so…

Deb: And when you say you’re doing foster to adopt that’s not really a policy that we’ve had prior to this is it?

Dr. A:
A lot of times people will foster an animal and then fall in love and end up adopting it. Most;l for kittens because people take these underage kittens and then they just can’t part so then they end up adopting them. We were getting a lot of kittens in and then the foster will want to adopt and they have friends who want to adopt too. So those are low contact because the people have only seen the animal outside the shelter.

Deb: Are you doing foster to adopt dogs?

Dr. A:
 If we had fosters for dogs then sure they could adopt.

Deb: Do you have any fosters for dogs?

Dr. A:
It’s a lot less. The only things I could say that need to go to foster are medical cases so and those are hard to find a foster for.

Deb:
I just had someone reach out to me this afternoon with a question and I thought I would bring it up at the meeting.
Apparently there was a feral…a community cat
One of the cats got into a fight with another cat
He ended up at BCAS.
And now because he has a wound he has to be quarantined. That quarantine can’t be done at the shelter right? It has to be done by the individual?

Dr. A:
It can be done in either location. The problem with the quarantines is that they’re so long. The rabies quarantine can be 45 days to 4 months so…

Deb:
Are you willing to do quarantines like that?

Dr. A:
We do typically but right now we have 7 cats like that and so as the number grows. That’s a cage we can’t use for another pet for 4 months.

Deb:
So you’re trying to get people to do it on their own. If they can’t, will you take the cat?

Dr. A:
Within reason. We can’t keep taking them. Right now we have a number of them and we’re trying to find people who will quarantine them because it’s really not fair for the cat to live in a cage for three months either.

Me: Does anybody else have any questions for Dr. Andrulis?

Roy:
I have a concern. I was part of an erroneous complaint made against me. We had caught a squirrel in our attic. He was in there for like 2 days. I finally got him to go into a trap I borrowdd.
I took him down to Peninsula Hwy…
I came home the next day and had a note on the door from Animal Svcs. and had a note on my door asking me to call about a complaint against me.
I went on the county’s citizens access website which anybody can get on really. My name address everything was on there. And the complaint was that I had (INAUDIBLE…BUT THE PERSON WHO HAD COMPLAINED THOUGHT THAT ROY HAD DUMPED A CAT WHEN IN FACT IT WAS THE SQUIRREL FROM HIS ATTIC THAT HE LET LOOSE.)

I talked to a girl there
II worries me that my name and address was on your website for something that was under investigation.

DR. A:
That’s not something I could speak to. Clearly I could bring that up.
How those things get posted…I have to get more information about that.
That’s something that should come from Johnny O…

Deb:
I’ll reach out to Sam

Deb: Have you guys been notified at all about funding changes because of all the funding cutbacks during the quarantine??

Dr. A:
Haven’t heard anything

Deb; INADUIBLE
What’s happening medically at the shelter? Amy McGurik who is one of the volunteers who formed Friends of Baltimore County Cats raised enough money to buy you guys a dental machine. Tell us about that and what it’s used for and how it changes your ability to care for the animals?

Dr. A:
It’s wonderful actually because it’s a pretty expensive piece of equipment that we would never be able to afford.
The idea right now with the capacity we have and the number of animals that come in is not to do a dental prophy or scale and polish every cat that comes in. But before we were sending medical cases out to rescues because they had such severe dental disease and we couldn’t address it.
By having this dental machine we’re able to help all those cases and there’s a lot geriatric cats and dogs their  mouth infection is just horrendous.
So far we’ve probably done 15-20 dentals and it’s allowed us to put more animals up for adoption and more rescues want to pull because they don’t have to use their own funds to pay a vet to do a 700 dollar dental we can do in the shelter.

Deb;
It’s amazing. To have raised enough money to do that it was quite a huge wonderful thing.

Dr. A::
It definitely is.

Deb:
Right now you said you’re not doing spay/neuters is that right?

Dr. A:
We are doing spay/neuters for the shelter pets.

Deb; Oh ok.

Dr. A:
It’s just not for the public. People are calling about our healthy pet package but that’s not opening up until Monday.

Deb;
This coming Monday?

Dr. A: Yes well we already had a lot of animals on the schedule we were waiting to see if we could do them or not. We’re booked out till the middle of July already and we haven’t even called anyone yet.

Deb:
Is there anything we can do to help you?

Dr. A:
I think you’re doing a good job.
I would like to know the concerns you have. Because some things that have come up before we could probably put to rest right away by giving you information.

Like I think I heard you talking about owner requested euthanasia before and I personally look at every single euthanasia as far as the paper work comes onto my desk and I review it so I have an extremely good understanding of where those numbers come from.

Deb:
From what I’ve been told anytime someone comes in and says they want to have their pet euthanized, you take that pet and realize it’s adoptable you don’t put it down.

Dr. A:
Exactly. Every animal that comes in gets an exam by a vet. And then they determine =whether or not they think it can go to rescue.

Bob  Swensen joins  Web Ex meeting

Dr. A:
I’m the Veterinary Svcs supervisor Instead of just directing I also practice every day I do surgeries and I do exams so I’m doing the job I was doing before plus making decisions at a higher level.

c) 1st Quarter 2020 Statistics
Deb:
The next thing we have is the first quarter 2020 statistics which I have emailed to you all.
Plus analysis
Review of stats
Live release over 90% for both dogs and cats
Anytime we hit 90% I’m feeling pretty good about things

(The format on the county's statistics won't copy and paste here properly so here is my analysis of the numbers)

                   1ST QUARTER 2020 BCAS STATISTICS

         DOGS            CATS
Intake           572             692
Adoption      171 (24.7%)       245 (35.4%)
Redeemed by owner           173               37
Pulled by rescue       114 (19.9%)       166 (23.9%)
Non-owner requested euthanasia         51 (8.9%)         64 (9.2%)
Live Release Rate            91.18%%         90.8%

5. Old Business
a) Website membership list updated
Deborah:
The website has been updated so all of the appropriate names are there for members of the Commission.
It was a very outdated list.

b. Media contacts committee
Who were you going to work with, Janice, to work on some media contacts?

Janice:
Julie.

Deb:
Oh Julie Salter, right.

Janice:
I’ve sort of let that slide. But we can start again on that.

Deb: If there’s every any crisis like you have a lot of cats that come in because of a hoarding situation and you need help from the public we would like to be able to reach out to the media to engage the public
So let’s see if we can get that rolling again Janice.

Janice:
I’ll have that for the next meeting.

d) Balto Co Police Training-does it include training in
recognizing signs of animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect as part of the police academy curriculum and also in ongoing service training for police officers?

Deb:
I’ve reached out to Capt. McManus about HSUS free training for police officers for animal control duties.
I gave him the contact name.
HSUS offers a free training course
He was going to follow up on that and then covid happened
I emailed him today to see if we can get that rolling.

Also said I was waiting to find =out if ongoing police training includes signs of abuse or cruelty.

e) TNR legislation
Deb: The last item is TNR legislation
Dr. Andrulis and I talked about that yesterday on the phone and so now that things are hopefully starting to get back to normal we can begin again to look at that.

That’s all I had to report

6. Any Other Business?
No

7. Announcement of Date and Time of Next Meeting
8. Next meeting will be July 21, 2020 discussion on whether it should be zoom.
‘If anyone is uncomfortable we’ll do it online.

8. Adjournment





Friday, February 21, 2020

February 18, 2020 Meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission

Hi, everyone,
Here is a summary of our February Commission meeting.

                                FEBRUARY 2020 AGENDA
1) Call to Order

2) Roll Call Determination of a Quorum-In attendance were Deborah Stone Hess, Ann Gearhart, Maryanne Martin Bailey, Janice Vincent, Bob Swensen, Louis Eguzo, and by phone were Larry Townsend, Julie Salter, and Roy Plummer.

3) Approval of January, 2020 minutes
Here are the minutes as approved:
BALTIMORE COUNTY ANIMAL SERVICES
ADVISORY COMMISSION
January 21, 2020

The forty-fifth regular meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission was held on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 in the Main Conference Room of the Drumcastle Government Center. This meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m. by the Chair Deborah Stone-Hess. Members in attendance were: Deborah Stone-Hess, Louis Eguzo, Roy Plummer, Julie Salter, Bob Swensen, Larry Townsend (by phone) and Janice Vincent.

Minutes

Minutes from November 2019 were approved. 

TNR Law

Deborah spoke with Kevin Usilton about the need for a TNR law that would eliminate the problem of citizens refusing to allow TNR’d cats to be returned to the place where they were trapped. 

Deborah will be meeting with Janice Vincent, Caroline Griffin, who used to chair the Animal Abuse Commission in Baltimore City and is a co-founder of Show Your Soft Side, and Michelle Gatos who is involved in TNR efforts in Baltimore County. They will work on drafting language for a TNR law. There is hope that the County will be open to approving this type of bill.  

Fourth Quarter Statistics for 2019

The statistics look very good. Over 94% live release rate for dogs and over 89% live release rate for cats. 

Meeting with County to discuss Commission’s 2019 Annual Report

Will be meeting with Dr. Donatelli and Kevin Usilton to discuss the Commission’s 2019 Annual Report.

Volunteer and Events Coordinator

BCAS Volunteer Coordinator Heidi Cruikshank has resigned. There is an assistant, Lissette Hernandez, who will still be there. There is no word on a replacement at this time. 
  
New Volunteer Opportunities

There is now a volunteer opportunity to take a dog out of the shelter for a few hours. BCAS is  also allowing volunteers to be surgical assistants, to clean instruments and prepare them for the next day.  
            
Volunteer Video

Deborah Hess is making a video about volunteers at BCAS. Commission member, Louis Eguzo, wants to know how the video will be disseminated. Deborah is waiting to find out what is planned for the video other than posting on Facebook.
She told the Commission members that there are quite a few new volunteers. The program is growing. She suggested that everyone on the Commission try to offer some volunteer time to BCAS.  The shelter is also starting a  reading program with children reading to the animals.

Any Other Business?

Nothing at this time.

Visitor Remarks?

Ann George asked about whether volunteers are being used for jobs other than cleaning kennels. Deborah said there are many volunteers who come and walk dogs and cuddle cats. –

Ann George would like to see raw data that shows the circumstances involving each animal that is euthanized. 

Announcement of Next Meeting Date and Location

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at Drumcastle Government Center, 6401 York Road, 3rdfloor, Main Conference Room at 6:30 p.m.

Adjournment
at 7:00 p.m.

4) New Assistant to our Commission-Deana Gunto is replacing Ellen Blake as our Commission assistant. Deana works at BCAS as an Office Office Assistant, so her knowledge about the things we discuss will no doubt be helpful to her and to us. We welcome her.

5) Old Business
a) Website-For some time, we've been trying to get an update to the names of the Commission members that are posted online. The list online is very outdated. I've been assured the changes will be made soon.

6) New Business
a) Kevin Usilton here
Chief of Animal Services Kevin Usilton attended our meeting.
b) Health Department Response to Commission’s 2019 report
Both Kevin and Dr. Donatelli met with me in early February to provide a response to the Commission's 2019 annual report.
Just for starters, this is the first time that the county has ever provided a response to one of our annual reports. It says a great deal about the positive working relationship we are establishing and the new way that the county is approaching Animal Services and our Commission. We are grateful to have this dialogue.
Here is a summary of the county's response on numerous recommendations in our report, as well as added remarks from Kevin Usilton at the meeting:

               DEPT. OF HEALTH RESPONSE TO 2019 REPORT

1. INCREASE NUMBER OF RESCUES THAT WORK WITH BCAS
Dept. of Health response:
93 rescues currently pull animals regularly from BCAS. BCAS ‘s goal is to grow that number by 12 over the next year. They particularly want to increase the number of rescues that pull pittie breeds as BCAS gets so many of these dogs.
According to Kevin Usilton, rescues are often enthusiastic about pulling from BCAS because the shelter spays/neuters many of the animals before they leave BCAS.
In addition, even when an animal leaves BCAS unaltered, if a rescue has a foster who is a Baltimore County resident, they can sign up to have the animal spayed/neutered by BCAS and take advantage of Baltimore County's low cost ($20) spay/neuter fee.

2. INCREASE ADOPTIONS
Dept. of Health response:
Cat adoptions are going very well. In 2019 BCAS facilitated the adoption of 1242 cats and 514 dogs and sent 547 cats and 345 dogs to other agencies. BCAS has set a goal of growing that number by 5% in 2020.
In addition, the shelter is increasing its efforts to utilize social media more effectively. Some volunteers and employees attended a photography and social media seminar and learned numerous things about getting the most from social media...including the best times to post to get the most eyeballs on the social media posts.
They also have been able to improve the photos they take of the animals because they won a camera and a backdrop at a recent event.

3. USE THE CUDDLE SHUTTLE MORE
Dept. of Health response:
The Cuddle Shuttle attended 27 off-site events in 2019, facilitating 144 adoptions. BCAS says it hopes to utilize the Cuddle Shuttle more to help it reach its target of growing adoptions by 5%.

4. REACH OUT TO LOCAL MEDIA WHEN THE SHELTER IS FULL
Dept. of Health response:
The Health Dept. allows BCAS to waive adoption fees when the shelter is full and they promote this on social media. BCAS says it would welcome the Commission’s help in reaching out to the media to help increase community response. I have offered to do this if BCAS will notify me.
At our meeting, Julie Salter and Janice Vincent volunteered to work together to create a list of media contacts and will be responsible for sending out blasts to those contacts when Kevin notifies us of a space emergency.

5. RETURNING ALL ANIMAL CONTROL DUTIES TO THE ANIMAL CONTROL DIVISION INSTEAD OF UTILIZING POLICE AS FIRST RESPONDERS
Dept. of Health response:
Weekly meetings occur between the Police Dept., State’s Atty’s Office, and BCAS to ensure smooth investigation and prosecution of cruelty cases. Even if BCAS is not the lead on an animal cruelty case, BCAS is involved and collaborating on the case. There is active communication between the Investigative Service Team within the Police Dept. and BCAS. Overall, the collaboration is working well and there are no plans to change the workflow.
There are no plans at this time to change the current policy.

6. NEED FOR ADDITIONAL ACO TRAINING
Dept.of Health response:
BCAS says its officers are more than sufficiently trained to accomplish their job duties. Three have attended the East Coast Training Academy, one attended Animal Control Training in Florida, six attended Tactical Baton Certification, Officer Safety Course, and Pepper Spray Certification through ACTS. Those who did not attend East Coast Training Academy received training in investigative techniques for Cruelty and Neglect Complaints and Equine Cruelty/Horse Handling 101. Six officers have completed the FEMA sponsored training on Animals and Disasters and training on Safe Handling of Aggressive and Dangerous Dogs.
Moving forward, BCAS may stagger staff to participate in other training efforts and might expect attending staff to be able to share information/experiences with other team members.

7. IF THE BALTIMORE COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT IS TO CONTINUE BEING IN CHARGE OF INVESTIGATIONS OF CRUELTY, NEGLECT AND ABUSE, OUR REPORT RECOMMENDED RECREATING THE ANIMAL ABUSE TEAM. WE ALSO RECOMMENDED THAT TRAINING ON RECOGNIZING SIGNS OF ANIMAL CRUELTY, ABUSE AND NEGLECT BE MADE PART OF THE POLICE ACADEMY CURRICULUM AND ONGOING IN-SERVICE TRAINING FOR ALL POLICE OFFICERS.
Dept. of Health response:
BCAS provided in-service training to the Baltimore County Police Dept. on Sept. 9, 2019. As to other training suggested in the report, Baltimore County Dept of health is not able to speak to the training needs and/or duties performed by the Police Dept.
I am checking with the police dept. to find out if new Officers do receive training in recognizing signs of animal cruelty, neglect and abuse and whether this is also part of ongoing in-service training.

8. AFFIDAVIT REQUIREMENT
Dept. of Health response:
A notarized affidavit is only necessary in cases that go before the Animal Hearing Board. This is due to legal reasons. As enforcement entities need probable cause to enter private property, anonymous complaints do not legally satisy the probable cause requirement. The Dept. of Health defers to the County Attorney.
So, any time there its a case (for example, an aggressive animal that harms another animal) this kind of case would have to go before the Animal hearing Board and would require an affidavit from the owner of the injured animal. But an affidavit is not required for Animal Control to begin an investigation.

9. RESUME SPAY/NEUTER REQUIREMENT ON 1ST IMPOUND
Dept. of Health Response:
When a stray animal is impounded and the owner comes to redeem the animal, they are encouraged to allow the shelter to spay/neuter the animal...and they are told that spay/neuter will be required if the animal is impounded a second time. There is an incentive for the owner to allow the surgery after first impound: If they agree to do it, they can pay a smaller fee to redeem…Instead of $39 it is just $20.

10. TNR RECOMMENDATIONS
Dept. of Health Response:
With one staff person allocated to the BCAS TNR program, BCAS is currently running the program as efficiently as possible. It’s unknown whether additional funding will be made available to support enhancements to the TNR program in the next fiscal year.
They are trying to ensure that every cat picked for TNR has a caretaker to return to rather than carrying on with previous policies which allowed cats to be returned after surgery on county property as far as 1/2 mile away from the trapping point.
Also all of the TNR and spay/neuter throughout our area seem to be having a cumulative effect. Kevin Usilton says more and more of the animals that come in as strays have been spayed or neutered.
I met with Caroline Griffin and Michelle Gatos and we are working on developing wording for legislation for a TNR law for Baltimore County.
The Commission discussed a plan to take this proposed legislation to each Council member to encourage the Council to introduce and support such a bill.

11. NEED FOR MARKETING AND PR CAMPAIGN TO RECRUIT NEW VOLUNTEERS AND KEEP THEM ON BOARD
Dept. of Health response:
After the resignation of Volunteer Coordinator Heidi Griswold, the Dept. of Health looks forward to hiring a new Volunteer/Events Coordinator who will lead the effort to accomplish the recommended tasks.
I recently finished a volunteer video for the shelter. It will be shown during volunteer orientations.
After the meeting I learned that the video was posted on Next Door and resulted in new people calling to sign up for volunteer orientation.

12. NEED FOR MARKETING AND PR CAMPAIGN TO EDUCATE THE COMMUNITY ABOUT BCAS
Dept. of Health response:
The Dept. of Health looks forward to having a Communications liaison for Animal Services who may strategically collaborate with the Division in order to develop a marketing campaign, as resources allow.

c) General Assembly bills-Maryanne Martin Bailey talked about the upcoming Humane Lobby Day in Annapolis which is sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States. Everyone is encouraged to attend. Humane Lobby Day takes place on Feb. 26, 2020.
One of the bills being considered by the Maryland General Assembly this year is HB 406 in the House and SB 627. This bill mirrors Oscar's Law to protect animals that are outside from extreme weather.
The hearing on the House bill takes place on the sameDay as Humane Lobby Day at 1:00 in the House Environment and Transportation Committee. The Senate bill is sponsored by Senator Ben Kramer in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee at 12:00 on
I urge you to contact the Chair of the House Environment and Transportation Committee and the Chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to urge that they give a favorable report on this bill so it can advance to the full House and Senate.
Please call the House Environment and Transportation Committee at 410-841-3990.
Refer to the Extreme Weather Bill House Bill 406...mention that the hearing is coming up on the 26th  and say you urge a favorable report from the committee and give a brief reason why (for example, you can say that Baltimore County passed a similar bill...that it is common sense legislation to protect animals from suffering in extreme weather by ensuring that owners provide proper shelter to animals outdoors in the event of extreme weather).
You can also call the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and refer to the bill which is Senate Bill 627. It really does make a difference when lawmakers hear from their constituents.
d) Volunteer video-see above as we discussed this under Item 11 above.
7) Any Other Business? None
8)Visitor Remarks
9) Announcement of next meeting date and time-We will not meet in March, Our next meeting will be held on April 21, 2020 at 6:30 PM on the 3rd floor of the Drumcastle Building.
10) Adjournment