Thursday, April 28, 2016

     Welcome to Notes from the Chair!
     The Baltimore County Animal Services Oversight Commission just held its 10th monthly meeting. Several weeks ago, an animal advocate asked if I could find a way to communicate what's covered in our meetings. A new blog seemed like the way to go. So, here we are.
     This is where you'll find a complete summary of all that's covered by the Commission.
     First a bit of background. The Animal Services Oversight Commission was formed through legislation passed by the Baltimore County Council. The Commission was designed to have 11 members, one appointed by each of the 7 Council members, and 4 appointed by the County Executive.  
    The Commission held its first meeting in July of 2015. At that meeting I was elected Chair. 
     The Commission has been working since then to gather information about shelter policies and operations. Over the months, the county has become increasingly open with the Commission, and transparent about the changes underway at the shelter. 
     Several months ago, the county agreed to the formation of a 
Commission Shelter Liaison Committee, and committee members have been meeting monthly with shelter administrators.  
     Commission meetings are held at 6:30 P.M. on the third Tuesday of each month at the county's Drumcastle Building located at 
6401 York Rd. The public is welcome to attend.
     The Commission is working to set up a designated email address so that members of the community can communicate with us. In the meantime, if you have concerns, feel free to email me at debstone01@comcast.net.
     Here is a summary of the Commission's most recent meeting held on April 27th, 2016. (The meeting was held on an unusual day so that Commission members could attend an animal-related event that took place on our usual meeting date.)

                                     Meeting Agenda

1) Call to Order
2) Roll Call-Determination of a quorum
3) Approval of minutes

(Here are the minutes from the meeting of March 19, 2016 that were approved):
Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission
Drumcastle Government Center - Baltimore County Department of Health
March 15, 2016

The eighth regular meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission was held on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 in the Main Conference of the Baltimore County Department of Health. This meeting was called to order at 6:40 p.m., by the Chair, Deborah Stone Hess. Members in attendance were Deborah Stone Hess, James O’Neill, Janice Vincent, Jocelyn Spiga, VMD, Leslie Kaminski, Roy Plummer Jean Townsend, VMD, Michelle Guarino.
Minutes
Minutes from the February 16, 2016 meeting were motioned and approved. 
Committee Report
The Commission revisited the Baltimore County Animal Services Shelter construction site.  It has been acknowledged that Administrative Hold animals are not being held for long periods of time most cases are being expedited and vetted via the Animal Hearing Board. There was also some mention of the number of animals that were being housed at the shelter (very few cats).
Volunteer Updates
All volunteers are given aprons for identification purposes. The card key issues are being resolved and volunteers are able to get in and out of the building. Sunday volunteer hours are being reviewed, the shelter will revisit the idea.
The Commission agrees there should be a handbook for all volunteers as well as training for additional tasks.  The process is moving very slowly and really needs to be a priority.  There will be increased pressure by the Liaison Committee until matter has been resolved.
There were only three volunteers on Saturday.  
The County Administrator has emphasized the shelter is organized by employees and not by volunteers, if volunteers do not show fine.  Baltimore County Animal Services is different from  BARCS and some other shelters that rely heavily on volunteers.  

Michelle Guarino was on-site on Saturday and felt the atmosphere of the shelter was awkward (the demeanor of the staff was cold and they rarely spoke to customers).
There was some discussion regarding the Volunteer Coordinator position.
What actually does the Volunteer Coordinator do?
Is there a schedule for volunteer sign up?
What system is the volunteer coordinator using?
Marketing is key to getting volunteers to come to the shelter and assist. 
Some suggestion from the commission include: 
Spending day at the shelter to get a feel for a real work day (Debbie to ask Abigail)
o Some feel this would not give a clear picture of a work day as they staff will know the commission would be coming in advance
Requesting the Volunteer and Rescue Coordinators at the next liaison meeting to discuss their actual duties. (Debbie to submit a request)
Creation of a 501(c)3 to assist with funding 
o Rescue Well has already started to assist with this project
New Business
Community Cats of Maryland
Michelle  from CCMD gave a brief background of the Community Cats of Maryland organization and the partnership they have with SPCA of Maryland and Baltimore County Animal Services to spay/neuter feral cats in the community.  The partnership has been deemed successful. Efforts and funding have been increased to offer additional services to more community cats monthly. 
Michelle discussed how feral traps were brought in to the shelter previously and how much resources were being exhausted in comparison to the new partnership. The process for returning feral cats back to their colonies was discussed as well.
Target Zero
Target Zero will be meeting with Baltimore County soon.  
Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on April 19, 2016, Drumcastle Government Center, 6401 York Road, Third Floor, at 6:30 p.m.
Adjournment
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 7:35 p.m.

Continuation of agenda:
4) Old Business-
a) Card Keys for volunteers
Volunteers are given a key card when they sign in that allows them to use one exterior door in the adoptable dog room. If standing in the adoptable dog room and looking towards the outside wall, it is the door on the right hand side. Volunteers will take dogs outside by exiting through the LEFT side door (no key card needed) and will come back into the building through the RIGHT side door (key card needed).

b) Shelter volunteer hour-number of volunteer hours this year
January 2016 – 90 Hours
February 2016 – 83 Hours
March 2016 – 96 Hours

5) Commission resignations and appointments
Kevin Reed has resigned. Kevin was an appointee of the County Executive. Fred Homan is interviewing possible replacements and Deborah has also passed along a resume to him of someone who would like to serve on the Commission. The Commission is now missing two members, Councilman Julian Jones's appointee, Dr. Bruce Brown, resigned several weeks ago. We are still waiting to hear who Councilman Jones will appoint to fill the seat of Dr. Brown. 

6) New Business
a) Facebook
The Chair reminded members not to post comments on Facebook. Concerns should be addressed through the Commission. 
b) Euthanasia Numbers
VERY IMPRESSIVE:
For dogs, if you take out owner requested euthanasia, the euthanasia rate is just over 7.3%. 
(A real improvement over the first quarter of 2015 when the dog euthanasia rate was  over 15.8%.)
For cats, if you take out owner requested euthanasia, the euthanasia rate is just over 17.3%. (In the first quarter of 2015, the euthanasia rate for cats was over 46.7% What a difference.)
126 dogs out of 409 were adopted and 88 went to rescue.
132 cats out of 535 were adopted and 260 went to rescue.
And, an interesting fact, three dogs brought in by owners for euthanasia were deemed adoptable by shelter veterinarians and were put up for adoption.

Here are the full statistics released by the county (I apologize...the layout of the numbers won't paste properly here so the first statistic in each category is for dogs and then cats)

DISPOSITION DURING QTR:
Activity for Reporting Quarter: January-March, 2016
DOGS/ CATS
    A. Live Animal Count at Beginning of Qtr
     30/
      36
      LIVE INTAKE DURING QTR:
   B. Stray/At Large Dogs/Cats
  276/ 389
   C. Relinquished by Owner Dogs/Cats
  104/126
   D. Owner Requested Euthanasia Dogs/Cats
    30/19 
    E. Transferred in from another Agency Dogs/Cats
   0/0   
    F. Other Live Intakes (impounds, births, animals placed in foster care, brought in for TNR, etc)
 0/0  
   G. TOTAL LIVE INTAKE DURING QTR (B+C+D+E+F)Dogs/Cats
    410/ 534
      H. Adoption Dogs/Cats
  126/132
   I. Returned to Owner Dogs/Cats
    129/9
    J. Transferred to another Agency Dogs/Cats
 88/260
   K. Other Live Outcome (includes TNRs released)
    0/0     
    L. Died/Lost in Care Dogs/Cats
 0/5
    M. Euthanasia- at Owner’s Request Dogs/Cats
  27/19
   N. Euthanasia-All other than owner request Dogs/Cats
  30/93
   O. TOTAL DISPOSITION DURING QTR Dogs/Cats
    400/518
    P. Live Animal Count at End of QTR (includes Fosters). (A+G - O) Dogs/Cats
   40/ 52
    

c) Summary of most recent Liaison Committee meeting

1) SEMINARS WITH ADOPTERS-COMMISSION MEMBER (AND ANIMAL BEHAVIORIST) JOY FREEDMAN HELD A MEETING WITH ABBY BINGHAM AT THE SHELTER AND IS WORKING ON SEVERAL THINGS INCLUDING TEACHING A CLASS ONCE A MONTHFOR THOSE WHO HAVE ADOPTED FROM THE SHELTER AND ALSO TRAINING FOR SHELTER PERSOONNEL ON BASIC DOG OBEDIENCE.  SHELTER ADMINISTRATORS CAN THEN TEACH THESE SKILLS TO EMPLOYEES AND WORKERS FROM THE DEPT. OF CORRECTION. THIS WAY EVERYONE WILL BE USING THE SAME COMMANDS AND WORKING WITH THE ANIMALS THE SAME WAY.

2) SHELTER CONSTRUCTION IS GETTING CLOSE TO COMPLETION-A NEW CONSTRUCTION COMPANY WAS BROUGHT IN…EVERYTHING SHOULD BE DONE BY MID-MAY. THE PARKING LOT IS PAVED AND WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE SPACE LINES PAINTED BY TODAY. ALL FENCING WORK HAS BEEN COMPLETED SO THERE IS NOW A VERY LARGE AREA FOR VOLUNTEERS TO WALK DOGS. 


3) THE NEW COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT WITH THE MD SPCA IS UP AND RUNNING. BCAS EXPECTS TO TAKE ABOUT 30 FERAL CATS TO THE SPCA EACH MONTH FOR SPAY/NEUTER. ONCE THE SHELTER DELIVERS THE CATS TO THE SPCA, THEY BECOME THE RESPONSIBILITY OF CCMD (Community Cats of MD). CCMD PICKS UP THE CATS AFTER SURGERY AND CARES FOR THEM UNTIL THEY CAN BE RETURNED TO WHERE THEY CAME FROM.

4) THE SHELTER IS RECEIVING COMPLAINTS FROM COUNTY RESIDENTS WHO AREN’T HAPPY THAT THEY CAN’T GET RID OF CATS THAT ARE COMING ONTO THEIR PROPERTY. THE COUNTY NO LONGER TRAPS THEM. IF RESIDENTS TRAP THEM AND BRING THEM INTO THE SHELTER, THERE’S A GOOD CHANCE THE CATS WILL END UP SPAYED OR NEUTERED AT THE SPCA AND RETURNED TO WHERE THEY CAME FROM. THE COUNTY IS WORKING ON WAYS TO ADDRESS ANGRY COMPLAINTS.  DEBORAH CONTACTED 
REBECCA SASS-CREWS WHO RUNS THE TNR PROGRAM AT BARCS THAT IS FUNDED BY PETSMART CHARITIES AND BEST FRIENDS. REBECCA SENT DEBORAH A LINK TO AN ARTICLE WRITTEN BY BEST FRIENDS WITH ADVICE ON HOW TO DEAL WITH THE COMPLAINTS OF PROPERTY OWNERS. DEBORAH SENT THE LINK TO FRED HOMAN. 

5) SPAY/NEUTER NUMBERS:    IN OCT. OF 2013, BCAS BEGAN DOING SPAY/NEUTER SURGERIES FOR SHELTER ANIMALS IN BALDWIN. IN APRIL OF 2014, THEY BEGAN OFFERING SPAY/NEUTER TO THE PUBLIC.  SINCE THEN, THE SHELTER HAS PERFORMED SURGERY ON 1593 OWNED PETS., AND 2642 SHELTER ANIMALS.  IN MID-AUGUST 2015, THE COUNTY OPENED ITS EAST SIDE SPAY/NEUTER CLINIC IN DUNDALK AND HAS NOW PERFORMED 1668 SURGERIES AT THAT CLINIC. THE COUNTYT WILL BE OPENING A SIMILAR FACILITY ON THE WEST SIDE IN THE FUTURE.  

6) THE CCMD-RUN COUNTY TNR CONTINUES TO GO WELL. OVER 700 CATS HAVE BEEN TNR’D.

7) VOLUNTEER PROGRAM-THERE ARE NOW CLOSE TO 60 ACTIVE VOLUNTEERS AT THE SHELTER. THE COUNTY HELD A VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION WEEK.  IN AN EFFORT TO FURTTHER GROW THE VOLUNTEER PROGRAM, BCAS IS STARTING TO REACH OUT TO TOWNSON UNIVERSITY AND CCBC.   
EFFORTS TO GROW OTHER VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO WAIT AS THE COUNTY IS PLACING A PRIORITY ON OTHER THINGS RIGHT NOW INCLUDING GETTING THE WEST SIDE SPAY/NEUTER CLINIC OPEN LATER THIS YEAR. 

8) OUTSIDE VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS-THERE WAS A GIRL SCOUTS EVENT AND THERE ARE PLANS FOR A BOY SCOUTS EVENT

9) OFF-SITE ADOPTION EVENTS-THE SHELTER HAS BEEN HOLDING OFF-SITE EVENTS EVERY OTHER WEEK AT PET VALU. PET VALU PREFERES TO HAVE ONLY CATS AT ITS EVENTS.  BCAS HAS JUST SUBMITTTED APPLICATIONS TO PETSMART AND PETCO TO BEGIN DOING EVENTS AT THEIR STORES. THOSE TWO STORES WOULD ALLOW THE SHELTER TO BRING DOGS TO THESE EVENTS.


10) FOSTER PROGRAM-THE GOAL IS TO USE FOSTERS PRIMARILY FOR NEWBORN KITTENS AND IF NECESSARY, FOR DOGS ON ADMIN HOLD BECAUSE OF A CRUELTY CASE IF AN OWNER IS REFUSING TO GIVE UP EFFORTS TO RECLAIM THE ANIMAL OR FOR DOGS THAT HAVE A SHORT-TERM MEDICAL ISSUE LIKE REQUIRING RECUPERATION AFTER SURGERY. THE SHELTER DOESN’T WANT TO HAVE DOGS THAT ARE AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION IN FOSTER BECAUSE WHEN PEOPLE COME TO THE SHELTER, THEY WON’T BE ABLE TO SEE THEM. SO THE FOCUS HAS BEEN MORE ON DECREASING THE LENGTH OF STAY AT THE SHELTER, BOTH THROUGH ADOPTION AND BY INCREASING THE NUMBER OF ANIMALS GOING TO RESCUE. 

11) CAT ROOMS-ONE WAS COMPLETED AND TWO CATS WERE IN IT. THE OTHER WAS BEING PAINTED AND SHOULD BE READY FOR OCCUPATION ANY DAY NOW IF THAT HASN’T HAPPENED ALREADY.

d)  Target Zero
Target Zero is an organization that works with shelters to achieve a 90% live release rate. The group will be partnering with BARCS and also spent two days at BCAS (details to follow when Target Zero completes a report on that visit.)  
As a result of that visit at BCAs, Baltimore County is already implementing one of the group's recommendations. 
The group recommends eliminating spay/neuter fees for all residents on public assistance. The county is going to start with cats...and Fred Homan has sent a letter to the County Council Chair, informing her that unless there is opposition from the Council, Baltimore County will soon eliminate all fees for spaying/neutering of cats belonging to residents on public assistance.)

Target Zero held a town hall meeting in Baltimore to explain how its program works. and the kinds of recommendations it makes to shelters.   
Here is the summary of what was discussed at the Open House:

TARGET ZERO'S INCEPTION CAME ABOUT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED IN JACKSONVILLE IN 2001.   SOMEONE WANTED TO FIND OUT WHETHER INCOME TARGETED SPAY/NEUTER COULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE NUMBER OF ANIMALS ADMITTED TO THE CITY’S 2 SHELTERS AND THE NUMBER OF ANIMALS EUTHANIZED. 

THEY BEGAN OFFERING REDUCED FEES FOR SPAY/NEUTER SERVICES AND IT WORKED.
ADMISSIONS DROPPED FROM 34 THOUSAND ANNUALLY TO 17 THOUSAND ANNUALLY 
THEY HAD BEEN EUTHANAIZING 70% OF THEIR ANIMALS WHICH WAS 23,800 AND NOW EUTHANAIZING 780 A YEAR.

THIS SUCCESS CAUGHT THE ATTENTION OF A WEALTHY BENEFACTOR WHO WANTED TO SPREAD JACKSONVILLE’S SUCCESS TO OTHER CITIES.

HIS MONEY WAS USED TO CREATE TARGET ZERO WITH THE GOAL OF FINDING ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS:
1) HOW CAN WE PRODUCTIVELY DECREASE SHELTER INTAKE?
2) HOW CAN WE GET SHELTER ANIMALS OUT AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE BECAUSE THE LONGER THEY STAY, THE GREATER THE CHANCE THEY WILL GET SICK, HAVE A HIGHER COST OF CARE, BE LESS LIKELY TO GET ADOPTED, AND WE WILL HAVE HIGHER EUTHANASIA


TARGET ZERO DEVISED PLANS TO ACCOMPLISH THESE GOALS AND NOW USES THAT KNOWLEDGE TO PERFORM SHELTER ASSESSMENTS AND WORK WITH EACH SHELTER OVR A 3 YR. PERIOD TO HELP SHELTERS IMPLEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS.

THE GROUP WORKS WITH SHELTERS IN THESE AREAS:
1) PUBLIC POLICY-THESE MUST ADDRESS PUBLIC SAFETY. IN ADDITION, MANY CITY ORDINANCES MANDATE A STRAY HOLD PERIOD THAT IS TOO LONG. IT MAY HAVE BEEN WELL-INTENTIONED WITH THE GOAL OF ALLOWING OWNERS TIME TO FIND THEIR PETS, BUT THEY FOUND THAT LONGER STRAY/HOLDS DID NOT ACTUALLY RESULT IN MORE PETS BEING CLAIMED BY OWNERS. THEY FOUND MOST PETS ARE RECLAIMED WITHIN 24-36 HOURS.  AND EVERY DAY THE ANIMAL STAYS ON STRAY HOLD, ITS LIVE OUTCOME CHANCES DECREASE.
2) SHELER POLICIES AND PROCEDURES-SHELTERS NEED TO HAVE PROPER DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS SO THAT ADMINISTRATORS CAN ESTABLISH BUDGET, RESOURCES AND STAFF LEVELS APPROPRIATELY SO THEY CAN FUNCTION EFFICIENTLY
3) THERE MUST BE A TEAM IN PLACE TO COME UP WITH A PLAN FOR EACH ANIMAL WHEN IT ARRIVES.
4) SHELTER ENVIRONMENTS NEED TO BE very WELCOMING BECAUSE PEOPLLE WON’T WANT TO BE IN A NEGATIVE ENVIRONMENT AND WON’T COME TO THE SHELTER IF THE ENVIORNMENT IS NEGATIVE…


MEGA ADOPTION EVENTS
THESE ARE EVENTS WHERE YOU TAKE ALL ANIMALS TO ANOTHER LOCATION. PEOPLE WHO WOULDN’T NORMALLY GO TO AN ANIMAL SHELTER TO ADOPT WILL GO TO THESE EVENTS.


TARGETED SPAY/NEUTER
SUBSIDIZING SPAY/NEUTER COSTS REALLY HELPS REDUCE SHELTER INTAKE! THE COST SHOULD BE NO MORE THAN $20. BALTIMORE COUNTY IS ALREADY DOING THIS!

COMMUNITY CATS
MUST DETERMINE WHERE THE HIGH-INTAKE AREAS ARE. NEED TO ASSIGN ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICERS TO THOSE COMMUNITIES. WHEN THEY VISIT THEY DON’T WEAR THEIR UNIFORMS. THEY GO THERE JUST TO TALK WITH PEOPLE. (THIS IS THE KIND OF THING THAT CHRISTINE SANDBERG HAS BEEN DOING FOR SOME TIME IN BALTIMORE CITY). IT’S ABOUT TEACHING PEOPLE AND HELPING THEM HELPING  BECOME COMPLIANT WITH COUNTY ORDINANCES.
AND REGULATIONS. 

CATS ARE 7-10 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO FIND THEIR WAY HOME OR FIND THEIR WAY TO A NEW HOMES IF THEY ARE ON THE STREET THAN IF THEY ARE IN A SHELTER. 
THE NUMBER OF CATSRECLAIMED BY OWNERS IS NEGLIGIBLE. 

TARGET ZERO RECOMMENDS COMMUNITY CAT DIVERSION-BALTIMORE COUNTY HAS BEGUN A PROGRAM LIKE THIS WORKING WITH THE MD SPCA TO SEND FERAL CATS THERE FOR SPAY/NEUTER AND THEN CCMD RETURNS THEM TO WHERE THEY WERE TRAPPED.

BY REDUCING THE NUMBER OF CATS IN THE SHELTER, IT OPENS UP CAGE SPACE AND RESOURCES FOR DOGS, GIVING YOU MORE RESOURCES FOR SURRENDER PREVENTION, ENRICHMENT, AND ADOPTION COUNSELING

DON’T ASK PEOPLE OR REQUIRE PEOPLE TO TURN ANIMALS THEY FIND INTO THE SHELTER!
FIRST OF ALL, MANY TIMES PEOPLE FIND CATS ROAMING AND BRING THEM TO THE SHELTER THINKING THEY ARE HOMLESS. IN FACT, THE CATS ARE CLEARLY WELL FED AND HEALTHY. MANY OF THEM ARE JUST OUTSIDE CATS OR LIVING IN CAT COMMUNITIES BEING FED BY A CARETAKER.

WITH DOGS, INSTEAD OF ALLOWING PEOPLE TO BRING THEM TO THE SHELTER, ASK THEM TO KEEP THE ANIMAL AND FOSTER IT AND FIND IT A HOME.

SURRENDER PREVENTION
A RECENT STUDY FOUND THAT VERY OFTEN PEOPLE WHO COME TO THE SHELTER TO SURRENDER AN ANIMAL REALLY JUST NEED SOME TEMPORARY HELP. SHELTERS NEED TO ASK, “HOW CAN WE HELP YOU KEEP THIS PET?”

SHELTERS NEED TO EXPLAIN TO PEOPLE THAT ANIMALS MAY GET EUTHANIZED IF LEFT AT THE SHELTER.

WHEN SOMEONE BRINGS IN A LITTER OF KITTENS AS THEM TO FOSTER THEM. THE SHELTER SHOULD OFFER TO STERILIZE AND VACCINATE THEM AND GIVE PEOPLE SUPPLIES THEY NEED TO FOSTER THE LITTER. 
IF YOU GET IN-KIND DONATIONS, SHELTERS CAN AVOID THE COST OF THIS.

OPEN ADMISSION SHGELTERS NEED TO EXAMINE THE HOURS IN WHICH THEY ACCEPT SURRENDERED ANIMALS. 
USUALLY ADOPTION HOURS ARE LIMITED…BUT SURRENDER HOURS ARE NOT.

ACO’S NEED TO RETURN ANIAMLS IN THE FIELD TO THEIR OWNERS WHENEVER POSSIBLE.

THERE NEEDS TO BE A REQUIREMENT THAT ANY ANIMAL RECLAIMED IN THE SHELTER MUST BE STERILIZED.

SHELTERS SHOULDHAVE PAYMENT PLANS FOR FEES.

SHELTERS NEED TO MAKE THE RIGHT MATCH WHEN THEY ADOPT OUT AN ANIMAL.
HSUS HAS GUIDELINES FOR THIS.

SHELTERS NEED TO BECOME LESS JUDGMENTAL OF ADOPTERS AND MORE OPEN-MINDED ABOUT WHO CAN ADOPT A PET.

LOOK AT RETURNS NOT AS A COMPLETE FAILURE BUT AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN SOMETHING ABOUT THEANIMAL TO HELP PLACE IT IN THE RIGHT HOME THE NEXT TIME.

FOSTERS
SHELTERS NEED TO EMPOWER FOSTERS TO TO PLACE THE ANIMALS THEMSELVES.
GIVE THEM ASSISTANCE IN THIS…PERHAPS A SPECIAL WEB PAGE, OFF SITE ADOPTION EVENTS.
IF THE ANIMALS BEING FOSTERED ARE TOO YOUNG FOR ADOPTION, OR ARE RECOVERING FROM SURGERY OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT, THE FOSTER CAN BE NETWORKING THEMSO THAT WHEN THE ANIMAL IS ELIGIBLE FOR ADOPTION, AN ADOPTER IS ALREADY ON HAND.

IN THE SHELTER YOU CAN HAVE DISPLAYS WITH PICTURES OF FOSTER KITTENS OR PUPPIES THAT WILL SOON BE AVAILABLE.

e) Commission Blog
Deborah announced the formation of Notes from the Chair

f) New Videos
Deborah has been shooting videos of some of the animals at the shelter. She announced she will be shooting more next week.
g) General Assembly bills
Here is a summary of bills approved by the General Assembly in its just-completed session:
 A Terrific Session for Animals in Maryland!!

Here are the bills that passed in 2016 and will be 
-Dog Fighting Implements SB 283 –Waiting to hear when the Governor will sign this bill- Closes a loophole in Maryland’s dog fighting statute by making possession of these implements with intent to engage in dog fighting a crime in Maryland.
-Puppy Mills HB 1113-WAITING TO HEAR WHEN THE GOVERNOR WILL SIGN THIS BILL
Places restrictions on the sources of puppies to pet stores from puppy mills that have violations under the Federal Animal Welfare Act or are unlicensed and bans the sales of cats and dogs at roadside sales and flea markets. 

-Animal Shelters Standards Act of 2016 HB 494 –was scheduled to be signed by the Governor yesterday (Tuesday)  Requires written veterinary 
     protocols by Maryland shelters and disclosure of their procedures regarding
     admission, disposition, and redemption of animals
  
-Pollinator Protection Act of 2016 HB 211-Imposes a partial ban on consumer use of neonicotinoids, pesticides which have been shown to be harmful to honeybees, with exceptions for certain groups who have been trained to use the pesticides such as farmers and veterinarians.  

-Dispensing Compound Preparations for Use by Companion Animals SB 614- Allows a veterinarians to dispense a non-sterile medication for a companion animal when a compounding pharmacy and/or medications are unavailable.

-Poaching Restitution Act of 2016- SB 266/HB 410 Individuals convicted of poaching deer on private land must pay the State of Maryland restitution.

      -Microchip Scans of Stray Cats and Dogs (HB 46)-was scheduled to be signed by the Governor signed yesterday (Tuesday) - Requires that animal control
     facilities scan incoming stray animals for a microchip and make reasonable efforts to 

      notify the owners if a chip is found. 


h) Plans for Commission Report and appointment of Committee
The Commission will be making a status report to the County Council in June. Deborah, Roy and Michelle will be working in committee to prepare that status report and present it at the next Commission meeting.

i. Adjournment

     I think it's very clear that shelter administrators and employees have made huge strides in increasing adoptions, growing relationships with rescues, and improving live release rates. Changes are ongoing.
     The Commission is gratified to be included in the great work that's underway. 
     We encourage you to support the shelter, volunteer if you can, and, of course, if you're looking for a new wonderful pet, please ALWAYS adopt.
    
    




    

    

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