Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Happy New Year! The Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission held its first meeting of the year on Jan. 17, 2017. Here is a summary of that meeting.

1) Call to Order
2) Roll Call-Determination of a quorum-In attendance were Deborah Stone Hess, Julianne Zimmer, Ann Gearhart, Lavinia Ringgold, and Jean Townsend, AND Jamie DeRita. Roy Plummer joined by phone.
3) Approval of minutes-Here are the minutes as approved:
Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission Minutes

The fifteenth regular meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission was held on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 in the Main Conference Room of the Drumcastle Government Center. The meeting was called to order at 6:38 p.m.

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Chair, Deborah Stone-Hess, Jon Christiana, Joy Freedman, Ann Gearhart, Michelle Guarino, Roy Plummer, Jean Townsend, VMD, Janice Vincent and Julianne Zimmer.

MEMBERS ABSENT: Lavinia Ringgold


I.               Reading and Approval of the Minutes

Motion: To approve the minutes of October 18, 2016, as presented.

Motion by:     Ann Gearhart
Second by:      Roy Plummer
Decision:         Unanimous Approval

II.             New Business

New Commission Member

The Chair introduced Jon Christiana. Mr. Christiana owns an insurance company and is familiar with insurance issues involving animals. He has been a Baltimore County resident for thirty years.

Summary of Liaison Committee Meeting

Baltimore County Animal Services’ (BCAS) core volunteer program is experimenting with Volgistics, a volunteer management software program. This software is more complicated than expected. It has been able to calculate volunteer hours for those utilizing it.

The volunteer handbook is currently being updated. This is a long process. Volunteer Coordinator, Heidi Griswold, now has between 80 and 100 volunteers that have been oriented and trained on the volunteer list. BCAS is looking for volunteers willing to interact more with potential adopters.

Saturday, November 19th from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. is a mega adoption event at White Marsh Mall – Adopt Till You Drop. The event is being held in the area formerly known as Sports Authority and was temporarily a Halloween store. This event is free to attend.

The Behavior Enrichment Coordinator at BCAS, Will Webster, and the MD SPCA have been working together to share techniques for dog and cat evaluations.

BCAS is working on preparing for the opening of the west side spay/neuter clinic and starting the Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) program. Community Cats of MD used to be involved with the Baltimore County TNR program, but when Baltimore County made the decision to expand the TNR program, CCMD made the decision not to participate. CCMD website states that they are looking for a location in Baltimore County to operate from. The long range goal of the TNR program is to reduce the amount cats in the shelter. At this time, BCAS will be running the TNR program six days per week at no cost to the trapper of the cats brought in. There will be no individual specialized veterinary care for these cats. These feral/stray cats will receive sterilization, vaccination for rabies and distemper, microchip, tip of the left ear to identify the cats as having been trapped, neutered and released (TNR), flea treatment and vet exam.

Animal Control Officers on call will be contacted via phone and email by 911 personnel in the event that a citizen has found and confined a stray animal or in the event of an eviction where a landlord puts renter’s things on the street and an animal is present in the home. If the ACO on duty does not respond, 911 will contact Gary Klunk and Dr. Jones. Some Commission members had asked whether police would take an animal present in a home where there is a domestic dispute and the people involved are jailed or leave the home. The answer is no. Animal Control cannot go inside and remove an animal as long as the animal is safe in the home. It is up to the animal owner/resident to make arrangements for the pet. Animals will not be left in cars if someone is arrested while in their vehicle. 

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are completed, under review and have one more review to go through afterward.

In reference to photographs of strays, these photos are being taken by Animal Control Officers in the field, not in the shelter. These are not professional photos. Better photos are being taken once the stray is at the shelter with regular staff. BCAS is working with the Animal Control Officers to improve the quality of the photographs. Pictures of strays is something BCAS is not required to do and other shelters don’t do it.  Julianne to contact Meredith Brown to possibly help with photographing tips for Animal Control Officers.

Rescue email blasts are no longer occurring. Targeted emails are more successful with the rescues. Volunteers are putting out rescue posts on Facebook.

Baltimore County is working with Foxy G, a horse rescue in Carroll County. These horses will be housed in a facility with an arena in the area of the Baltimore County Agricultural Resource Center and Farm Park (a.k.a. the Ag Center) in Hunt Valley. These horses will be working with veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder. They will also have some feral cats on the property.

New Liaison Committee Member

Julianne Zimmer will be joining the Liaison Committee.

III.           Announcement of Next Meeting Date and Location

The December meeting has been canceled. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, January 17th at Drumcastle Government Center, 6401 York Road, on the Second Floor in the Executive Conference Room at 6:30 pm.

IV.           Adjournment

Meeting adjourned at 7:41 p.m.

4) Commission Resignations and Appointments-Jamie De Rita is the Commission's newest member appointed by the County Executive to replace Leslie Kaminski who resigned from the Commission. In addition, Michelle Guarino has resigned and will need to be replaced by Councilman Tom Quirk.
5) Old Business
Recent Mega Adoption Event next mega event scheduled for June 10th, 2017 The Mega Adoption event at the White Marsh Mall was a HUGE success-181 animals were adopted in two hours. The next Mega Adoption event will be held June 10, 2017 at the Timonium Fairgrounds.

 6)  New Business
a) 4th Quarter Statistics-Great numbers from the shelter for the 4th quarter of 2016.
Here are the stats:

MARYLAND ANIMAL CONTROL SHELTER SURVEY / 1 (Boxes will expand as you enter text)
Name of Shelter/Facility: Baltimore County Animal Services Address: 13800 Manor Road Baldwin, MD 21013
Name of Shelter Manager: Lauren Pavlik

Name of Person completing this survey: Gary Klunk
Phone: 410-887-7297
Activity for Reporting Quarter: October-December, 2016
A. Live Animal Count at Beginning of Qtr
B. Stray/At Large
C. Relinquished by Owner
D. Owner Requested Euthanasia
E. Transferred in from another Agency
F. Other Live Intakes (impounds, births, animals placed in foster care, brought in for TNR, etc)
H. Adoption
I. Returned to Owner
J. Transferred to another Agency
K. Other Live Outcome (includes TNRs released)
L. Died/Lost in Care
M. Euthanasia- at Owner’s Request
N. Euthanasia-All other than owner request
P. Live Animal Count at End of QTR (includes Fosters). (A+G - O)
In order to better understand to what degree unowned cats are a source of intake and euthanasia, we need your help. To the best of your abilities, please indicate what percent and/or how much of CAT intake would you consider unowned (i.e. feral, or community cats) animals:
How many of the euthanized cats would you guess are unowned:

1/Pursuant to section 2-1602(H) of the Agriculture Article which states: “Beginning January 14,2014, each county and municipal animal control shelter and each organization that contracts with a county or municipality for animal control shall report quarterly to the Department on a form prescribed by the Department describing for the previous 3 months: (1) The number of cats and dogs taken in; (2) The number of cats and dogs disposed of, broken down by method of disposal, including euthanasia; and (3) Any other relevant data the Department requires.”Please return completed survey by email attachment to or by mail to Maryland Department of Agriculture, Marketing Department (Spay and Neuter Program), 50 Harry S Truman Parkway, Annapolis, MD 21401. Questions call Jane Mallory 410-481-5766 email: .

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Here is a comparison of the 4th quarter stats with the 4th quarter of 2015 followed by a comparison of each quarter of 2016.

                                      4th qtr. 2016                       4th qtr. 2015
Dog Intake:                        509                                       412          
Cat intake:                          846                                      792

Dog Adoption:                   160                                      154
Cat Adoption:                    377                                      257

Dogs to rescue:                 156                                       67
Cats to Rescue:                 220                                     209

Dogs euthanized              47                                        60
(other than owner request)
Cats euthanized              152                                      341

          STATS COMPARISON for  each qtr. of 2016:

3RD QTR.  2016             2ND QTR.  2016       3rd QTR. 2015       
523 dogs                         446 dogs                   447 dogs
953 cats                           874 cats                     838 cats

3rd QTR. 2016             2ND QTR. 2016             3RD QTR. 2015
165 dogs                          132 dogs                      144 dogs
23 cats                               21 cats                          25 cats         

3rd qtr. 2016                 2nd qtr. 2016               3rd qtr. 2015
122 dogs                        112 dogs                         65 dogs
284 cats                          438 cats                        170 cats

3RD QTR. 2016            2ND QTR. 2016            3RD QTR. 2015
31 dogs                            23 dogs                         71 dogs
202 cats                           96 cats                         392 cats

b) Summary of Liaison Committee meeting-Here is the summary of the meeting of the Commission's Liaison Committee which meets monthly with reps from BCAS. :

1)  VOLUNTEER PROGRAM-The volunteer program continues to expand. There are currently 70 active volunteers at BCAS. This is something that we, as a commission, have been wanting to see for some time. With the appointment of Heidi Griswold, the program is going in many new directions.  There have not only been many off-site events, but also training events for volunteers and there are numerous classes that are going to be offered as well, including a photography class and a crochet class to make beds for cats in the shelter.
In addition, a professional videographer is coming to film volunteers. The video will be featured on the Baltimore County website and will be shown at future adoption events and it will be a tool to promote the volunteer program and encourage potential volunteers to join the volunteer team. The videographer will be interviewing volunteers about their volunteer experience and also video them volunteering with the animals.

2)  EQUESTRIAN CENTER- At our last meeting, we told you the county is working with a group called Foxy G, which is a horse rescue organization in Carroll County. Baltimore County had plans to build is a 9500 square foot facility with an arena and training classroom there. Foxy G would bring in 10-12 rescue horses at a time to work with veterans who have PTSD. There have been some hitches as there was an expectation of some state funding for the project, but it looks like that is not going to happen. But it is expected to go forward possibly without any state funding.

3)  FINAL RESCUE PLEAS-What happens when an animal either has a behavior issue or a health issue, is therefore available only for rescue and not for adoption, no rescue comes forward, and cage space becomes critical? Someone had asked whether an animal in this situation could be moved into an available cage in the adoptable area to at least temporarily prevent the need for euthanizing it.  The answer is no. And the reason appears to make good sense. Unfortunately animals with health issues or behavior issues cannot be held indefinitely. BCAS is an open admission shelter. And when an animal is not taken by a rescue and is not adoptable to the public, difficult decisions sometimes must be made. All animals in the adoptable area are those considered safe for walking and available to be viewed by the public. Mixing in those with possible behavior issues could lead to serious problems if someone accidentally takes the animal out. That said, BCAS makes extra effort to keep the dogs as long as possible and they gave us an example of one that was help up to two weeks past the final plea.

4)  WEST SIDE CLINIC-The clinic is open. There has been a slower ramp up of people seeking its services than the East Side clinic had. The county is working on spreading the word that the clinic is open. There was recently a large flyer handout. The county has also reached out to community associations in zip codes for which a state grant offers free services to people in three zip codes in an effort to spread the word about this great service.

5)  TNR-The county performed 177 TNR’s in the last quarter of the year. There have been some difficulties with the program as some caretakers are caring for cats that are on other people’s property. When they want to have the cats TNR’d, the county cannot legally go on someone’s property without permission to trap the cats. They also need permission to bring the cats back and sometimes these property owners don’t want them back. It’s going to take some time to get all the wrinkles out. But the program is moving along.

6)  COUNTY CODE CONCERNING DANGEROUS AND MENACING DOGS-The county is moving forward with re-writing the county code dealing with dangerous and menacing dogs.  This is an issue of semantics…and very often there’s little or no distinction between whether a dog is categorized as menacing or dangerous. If it’s determined to be menacing, there is just a $500 fine, and the county cannot take any other action to prevent another incident. Once a dog is deemed dangerous, the county has ability to seize the animal or take it to BCAS until the owner takes corrective action.
The wording change would eliminate the “menacing” category to give the county more ability to prevent aggressive dogs from harming other dogs or people.

7)  STATE BILL REQUIRING VETERINARIANS TO REPORT RABIES VACCINATIONS-Baltimore County is hoping for passage of a bill that will be introduced before the General Assembly. The bill would require veterinarians to provide rabies vaccination data to their local jurisdiction. There were 4 incidents of rabid cats in Baltimore County. BCAS wants to be able to know immediately if an animal that comes into the shelter has been vaccinated and veterinarian reporting is a way to accomplish that.

8)  SOP’S-As you know, the county hired a technical writer to rewrite the shelter’s standard operating procedures (SOP’s). The SOP’s have been under review by lawyers and others within county government. Fred Homan has asked members of the liaison committee if we would be willing to read them as well and we have agreed to do that.

c) Spay/Neuter of pit bull type dogs for those on public assistance-The shelter is now offering free spay/neuter surgery of all pit bull type dogs for those on public assistance. Pit bull type dogs are the ones that are in greatest number in the shelter.

d) Opening of General Assembly-upcoming legislation-Statewide Oversight bill-The General Assembly has started its 2017 session with many animal welfare bills expected to be introduced. The ASPCA says its highest priority is on a bill that would create statewide oversight of all shelters in Maryland. if you would like to learn more about the current session and some of the bills that will be introduced, please read my blog, "OH! SNAP". It can be found at on blogs and scroll down to my blog.

e) How you can make a difference in legislation-Your voice matters. Check out my blog with the address above to learn how you can make a difference.

6) Announcement of next meeting location and time-Our next meeting will be held on Feb. 21, 2017 at the Drumcastle building at 6401 York Rd.  on the third floor.
7) Adjournment