Friday, April 21, 2017

April 18, 2017 meeting

Hello, all. The Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission met for its April meeting on April 18, 2017. Here's a summary of all that we discussed.

                                                        April 18, 2017

1. Call Meeting to Order

2. Roll Call (Determination of a Quorum) In attendance were Jon Christiana, Julianne Zimmer, Joy Freedman, Maryanne Martin Bailey, Jean Townsend, Roy Plummer, Janice Vincent (by phone) and Deborah Stone Hess

3. Approval of Minutes
Here are the minutes of the March meeting as approved:
MARCH 21, 2017

The nineteenth regular meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission was held on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 in the Main Conference Room of the Drumcastle Government Center. This meeting was called to order at 6:36 p.m. by the Chair Deborah Stone-Hess. Members in attendance were Deborah Stone-Hess, Jon Christiana (by phone), Joy Freedman, Roy Plummer, Lavinia Ringgold, Jean Townsend, VMD, Janice Vincent and Julianne Zimmer.


Minutes from the February 21, 2017 meeting were motioned and approved as submitted.

Motioned by: Joy Freedman
Second by: Roy Plummer
Decision: Approved

Old business

Puppy Mill Bill

The U.S. Department of Agriculture purged many documents from its website including inspection reports for dog breeding facilities around the country. The removal of those documents effectively hobbled a Maryland law passed last year requiring stores that sell puppies to ensure that they do not receive them from the worst puppy mills. The law says stores cannot get their animals from any facility that is not licensed by the USDA, or from one that has been cited by the USDA for egregious violations. Without the documents online, pet stores have no way to check on the breeders from which they buy puppies. Delegate Kramer introduced a bill in Annapolis that would require pet stores to get those inspection reports directly from the breeder. House Bill 781 will likely pass.

Deborah Hess will be blogging about this.   

New business

Circus Legislation

Maryanne Bailey attended the Commission meeting to make a presentation about circuses and their treatment of animals. While Ringling Brothers has closed, there are many smaller circuses still in existence that are cruel to their animals. Ms. Bailey would like Baltimore County to ban the use of wild or exotic animals for circuses that perform in Baltimore County. Deb thinks it would take a lot to get this passed. She doesn’t think this is a high priority for the county. It’s also not in the scope of the commission to be able to take a stand on this issue as it does not involve the animal shelter. Deb suggested that Maryanne try to get more council persons onboard.  

Liaison Committee Meeting Summary

West Side Spay/Neuter Clinic
The west side clinic is not getting nearly the amount of traffic as the clinic on the east side of the county. The county expects this will improve with the weather, as it did for the east side clinic. Information about the spay/neuter clinic is being shared via social media, flyers to PTA’s in schools and flyers to apartment complexes that allow pets, in the area of the Southwest Area Park where the west side clinic is located.

TNR – Trap/Neuter/Return
Four hundred cats have been TNR’d since the county began its own TNR program being led by Becky Sass-Crews. BCAS is starting to lend cat traps to caretakers of stray cats. Julianne would like a packet with signed policies in reference to trap use included with the lending of each trap. Caretakers will be doing the trapping. Animal Services will pick up the cats, neuter or spay and return them to where they were picked up.

County Ordinance Changes
The Commission has talked before about the county’s work to revise its ordinances regarding dangerous and menacing dogs. Currently if a dog is found to be menacing, a fine is levied but there is no mechanism to enforce it or force people to come before the Animal Control Board. The county has completed a rough draft of the new ordinances that would allow the county to impound a dog that is found to be menacing or dangerous until the owner takes corrective action.

The rewritten ordinances go to the law office. Ultimately the changes will have to be approved by the county council.
As part of the revision, the county would suspend the $500 fine if citizens make the changes the county requires to fix the problem they have been cited for.

Rabies Bill
Baltimore County supports a bill that is before the MD General Assembly that would require veterinarians to report all rabies vaccinations they administer. That way there would be a database containing this information. And if a bite should occur, it could quickly be ascertained whether the animal had been vaccinated for rabies.

There has been some opposition to the bill from the MD Veterinary Medical Association. The reason given is a fear that if you require veterinarians to report all rabies vaccinations that fewer people will want to vaccinate their pet.  

The Montgomery County Director of Animal Services has evidence to show otherwise as he was involved with a similar program in a Virginia jurisdiction and found that there was actually an increase in the number of vaccinated pets. In any case, if the bill continues to struggle, it is possible that there might be support for a pilot program. Montgomery County, Prince Georges County and Baltimore County have all agreed to participate.

Valentino Award
Two Animal Control Officers rescued a dog out of a sewage drain about a month ago.  Julianne’s organization, ReLove Animals, presents a Valentino Award and would be giving this award to them.

Department of Corrections Inmates
Deborah is waiting for approval and permission to do a blog and video on this program. Julianne would like to give the shelter a plaque to hang in the lobby of the shelter recognizing the work of the inmates.

Ann Gearhart Report on Volunteer Program

Ann was not present.

Second Annual Commission Report

What needs to be in the commission report? Joy volunteered to write the report, but is asking for a committee. Julianne believes this should come from the Liaison Committee. Lavinia will work with Joy. Everyone is tasked to bring what they think should be in the report to the next meeting. The report will be discussed at the April meeting.

Meeting Frequency

After the second commission report is complete, the Commission may want to consider meeting every other month or every six weeks instead of meeting monthly.

Announcement of Next Meeting Date and Location

April 18, 2017 – Drumcastle Government Center, 6401 York Road, third floor, main conference room.

Motion to adjourn
Motion by: Joy Freedman
Second by: Julianne Zimmer

Adjourned at 7:55 p.m.

4. Introduction of New Commission Member Appointed by Councilman Quirk-Maryanne Martin Bailey-Maryanne has ben a District Leader Volunteer for Maryland Congressional District 7 with the Humane Society of the United States since 2014 and is anxious to learn more about sheltering issues. All Commission members are thrilled to have her with us!

5. Old Business
a) General Assembly Legislation-Here's an update from the ASPCA on the outcome of animal welfare legislation in the General Assembly which recently completed its 90 day session:
All but one of the ASPCA’s six priority bills made it past the finish line, which is a remarkable success.

Bill that required veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty.
created a new regulatory program to oversee animal shelters and ensure they are meeting high standards of care.
upgraded the cruelty code to make it clear that different acts of cruelty to animals should all be charged separately, helping ensure that abusers receive adequate sentences.
strengthened Maryland's puppy mill law.
established a new fund to reimburse animal shelters for the costs of caring for animals seized in cruelty cases.

The most important thing you can do right now is thank your legislators who supported these bills

You can also contact Governor Larry Hogan at 410-974-3901 and politely urge him to sign all of these animal welfare bills into law.

Mandatory Reporting of Animal Cruelty by Veterinarians
H.B. 1463 (Frush)
Status: Passed the House 118-15 and passed the Senate unanimously.
What the bill does: Requires veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty to law enforcement, similar to the requirement that doctors report suspected child abuse.

Adoption of Dogs & Cats Used in Research (Beagle Freedom Bill)
S.B. 420 (Hough)/ H.B. 528 (Kramer)
Status: Dead - did not receive votes in committee.
What the bill does: Requires research facilities that use dogs and cats to offer those animals for adoption once no longer needed for research.
**Action needed**: Using our action alert or a personalized email, write your legislators to let them know you are disappointed that this bill didn't pass, especially since the exact same bill passed the House of Delegates last year. Also email Johns Hopkins ( and University of Maryland ( to express your disappointment in their opposition to the bill.

Animal Abuse Emergency Compensation Fund
S.B. 631 (Madaleno)/ H.B. 941 (A. Miller)
Status: Passed the Senate unanimously. Passed the House 132-7. Headed to Governor Hogan's desk!
What the bill does: Establishes a fund to reimburse animal shelters for expensive costs of caring for animals seized in large-scale cruelty cases, like a puppy mill or animal fighting operation.

Puppy Mill Licensing
S.B. 573 (Feldman)/ H.B. 334 (Kramer)

Status: Passed the House of Delegates 123-15 and passed the Senate unanimously. On Governor Hogan's desk!
What the bill does: Lowers the number of breeding dogs a person must have to qualify as a breeder from 15 to 6 so that more commercial dog breeders will be monitored.

nimal Shelter Oversight
H.B. 626 (Gilchrist and Miele)
Status: Passed the House of Delegates 130-5 and passed the Senate unanimously. On Governor Hogan's desk!
What the bill does: Requires county animal shelters and animal shelters who receive spay/neuter grants to follow minimum standards of care and requires the Department of Agriculture to create regulations to enforce that requirement.

Pets and First Responders - H.B. 216 (Lam)/S.B. 269 (Lee)
 - Provides civil liability immunity to veterinarians and first responders for rendering emergency veterinary care to pets.
 - On Governor Hogan's desk!

Rabies Vaccination - S.B. 366 (Madaleno)
 - Requires veterinarians to send vaccination records to local animal control agencies upon request.
 - Died when it did not receive a vote in the House Health and Government Operations Committee.

Technical Fix to Cruelty Law - H.B. 455 (Atterbeary)/ S.B. 790 (Smith)
 - Clarifies that various acts of cruelty to animals should be charged as separate crimes.
 - Passed the Senate unanimously and passed the House 130-6. Passed Senate unanimously. On Governor Hogan's desk!

Dissection Choice - S.B. 90 (Young)
 - Gives students the right to choose an alternative to classwork involving the use of live or dead animals.
 - Defeated 13-30 on the Senate Floor. See how your Senator voted here.

Removal of Cap on Damages for Pet Injury - S.B. 143 (Zirkin)
 - Raises the current cap to $10,000 from $7,500 in damages covering the cost of veterinary care that an owner can recover if their pet is injured.
 - On Governor Hogan's desk!

Animal Abuser Registry - S.B. 84 (Mathias)
 - Creates a registry of people convicted of animal abuse and requires animal shelters and breeders to check the registry before transferring an animal.
 - Received an unfavorable report in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee

Dogs in Hot Cars - S.B. 443 (Salling)
 - Provides immunity to individuals who forcibly enter a vehicle to remove an animal under certain circumstances.
- Received an Unfavorable Report in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on 2/20.
Elevated Penalties for Large-Scale Animal Cruelty - S.B. 80 (Mathias)/ H.B. 625 (Carozza)
 - Creates a felony penalty for cruelty committed to ten or more animals instead of charging a misdemeanor penalty for each animal. Expressly authorizes judges to order restitution in animal cruelty cases.
 - Received an Unfavorable Report in the House Judiciary Committee
 - Received an Unfavorable Report in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee

Restriction of Subtherapeutic Antibiotics to Livestock - S.B. 422 (Pinsky)/ H.B. 602 (Robinson)
 - Prevents the use of certain subtherapeutic antibiotics on certain farms in order to curb antibiotic resistance in humans. Antibiotics are routinely administered to farm animals in low doses to prevent disease from occurring as a result of the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. This bill would push farms to fix those underlying welfare issues and only use antibiotics when medically necessary.
 - On Governor Hogan's desk!

Veteran Service Dog Program - S.B. 441 (Simonaire)
 - Establishes a program to match more veterans with service dogs.
 - On Governor Hogan's desk!

Wildlife Trafficking - S.B. 560 (Young)/ H.B. 686 (Luedtke)
 - Prohibits people from possessing or selling products from certain animals who are covered under the Endangered Species Act, such as elephant ivory.
 - Failed to pass crossover so likely dead for the session.

Ban on Cownose Ray Fishing Tournaments - S.B. 268 (Young)/ H.B. 211 (Robinson)
 - Creates a two year moratorium on Cownose ray killing competitions and requires the Department of Natural Resources to create a fisheries management plan for the species.
 - On Governor Hogan's desk!

Retail Pet Store Requirements - H.B. 781 (Kramer)
 - Closes a loophole in last year's retail pet store sourcing bill and requires pet stores to post breeder inspection reports for customers.
 - On Governor Hogan's desk!

     6. New Business
          a) Rescue Well Grant-Guest: Christine Sandberg-Rescue Well has recently formed its own 501 c 3 and is no longer under the umbrella of Relove Animals. In November of 2016, Rescue Well began working under the auspices of a 25 thousand dollar grant from Baltimore County to help people struggling to care for pets in Baltimore County. So far, about half of the money has been spent.
According to Christine, 61% of money that's been used has paid for veterinary procedures. Rescue Well has a partnership with area vets who offer them discounts. 
BCAS refers people to Rescue Well's hotline to help them avoid the need to surrender their pet. Rescue Well is able to provide owners with crates, food, and other support to help them avoid the need to surrender. 
 In total, we have prevented the rehome/surrender of 167 pets by providing support through training, advice, and other resources (including veterinary care). 
 They have diverted 116 imminent surrenders to closed admission shelters, rescues, or private adopters.
Rescue Well has also been helping BCAS in its effort to grow its client base for the new Spay/Neuter facility on the county's West side and BCAS's vaccine clinics. In addition to distributing flyers, Rescue Well will also work the line of people attending vaccine clinics to inform them of the spay/neuter program and will be able to make appointments for people on the spot. Rescue Well also helps find potential homes for animals whose owners cannot continue to care for them, not only by spreading the word on social media and posting animals on Facebook, and helping to interview potential adopters, but also through connections with rescues through the Coalition of Rescues.
Rescue Well provides a monthly report for the county on all services it has provided through the grant. So far, about half of the grant money has been used.

          b) ) First Quarter BCAS Statistics-Amazing! For the first time, BCAS has achieved over a 90% quarterly live release rate for BOTH dogs and cats.
Here's a comparison of 1st quarter 2017 numbers with 1st quarter 2016 numbers:
                                            1ST QTR 2017           1ST QTR. 2016

DOGS LIVE INTAKE                      491                                410                          
DOGS ADOPTED                    138 (28.1%)                  126 (30.7%)
DOGS REDEEMED                 144 (29.3%)                  129  (31.4%)  

(other than owner request)          33 (6.72%)                     30 (7.3%)

CATS LIVE INTAKE                       709                            534
CATS ADOPTED                       137 (19.3%)                 132 (24.7%)
CATS REDEEMED                    18    (2.5%)                    9 (1.6%)

(other than owner request)          56 (7.8%)                     93 (17.4%)

 c) Liaison Committee Meeting Summary-Here's a summary of what was covered at the April Liaison Committee meeting at BCAS:

Question was raised at our last committee meeting about whether the Fairgrounds Mega Adoption event costs the county any money. The answer is no. BARCS gets a grant that pays for the event.

We’ve discussed the bill that the county was hoping would pass the General Assembly that would have required veterinarians to report all rabies vaccinations. The bill did not pass. It’s expected to be re-introduced at next year’s session.

It has begun. People are encouraged NOT to bring litters to the shelter unless they are certain the kittens are not being cared for by their mom.

It continues to be a challenge because the county cannot go onto private property without permission. Sometimes the property is being rengted out and even the renter cannot give approval…it must come from the owner. Tracking down necessary information can be difficult, getting approval can be difficult, etc. But the program is continuing to make progress. 500 cats have been TNR’d so far since the program began in October.

At the last meeting, someone asked where the surgeries are being performed, at the shelter or at one of the county’s spay/neuter clinics. They are currently being done at the shelter.

Cats are released the next day.

The county provides detailed humane trapping instructions to ensure that cats are not left in traps for any length of time and not left in traps in harsh weather. The shelter has sent these documents to Deborah and if you would like to see them just email her. She will forward them to you.

While it has proven difficult to get the number of surgeries up in the clinic, things are going in the right direction. The goal is to perform 30 surgeries a day. At one point, the clinic was only performing 5 surgeries each day. The number is now up to 16 a day.

We talked a couple of meetings ago about the fact that BCAS was chosen as a study site to gain data on using positive reinforcement with shelter cats. The program is wrapping up and went well. All data has been sent to the Jackson Galaxy folks.
Bissell has a Pet Foundation that has donated 4 million dollars to rescues and shelters around the country for various programs. BCAS is going to look into whether it might qualify for a Bissell grant. Deborah will be writing about the Bissell Pet Foundation in a few weeks on her blog.

Deborah will be doing a post for her blog on the ways the shelter has changed over the last two years.

As discussed at our last Commission meeting, ReLove will be awarding the organization’s Valentino Award to the two Animal Control officers who saved the dog from the storm drain. This will probably take place at a picnic  event being planned by BCAS to thank volunteers and rescue organizations on June 4. Deborah has sent all of your email addresses to Dr. Jones at BCAS so you can receive invitations as well. Please be sure to RSVP to let the shelter know whether you will be able to attend.

Dr. Jones has a wish list that includes an adoption wagon like the one used by BARCS. Cost could be upwards of 150 thousand dollars. This would have to involve donated funds. It’s not imminent…but is an indication of continued efforts to grow the shelter’s outreach.

The Liaison Committee will not be meeting in the month of May due to scheduling difficulties.

          d) Volunteer Update-Ann Gearhart-Ann was not present at the meeting so was not available to make a presentation
          e) Volunteer Appreciation Event-VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION
The month of April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month.
National Volunteer Appreciation Week Celebration! (Theme: A Helping Hand)
Where: BCAS
When: April 23rd- 29th
All volunteers invited
Goodies and snacks that will be provided to the volunteers throughout the week
Plus an extra special volunteer celebration on
April 29th from 10am- 4pm with pizza and sweets
 As well as volunteer appreciation awards


Towson Petsmart Adoption Event
Where: 1238 Putty Hill Ave, Towson, MD 21286
When: April 1st 12pm - 3pm
3 - volunteers needed for 12pm- 1:30pm
3 - volunteers needed for 1:30pm - 3pm
We will be bringing adoptable dogs and maybe cats

Broadmead Senior Center Tour
Where: BCAS
When: April 6th  10:30am
1 or 2 volunteers needed to help give a tour of the shelter

Fallston Tractor Supply Adoption Event
Where: 222 Mountain Rd, Fallston, MD 21047
When: April 8th 10am- 1pm
4 - volunteers needed 10am- 11:30am
4 - volunteers needed 11:30am- 1pm
We will be bringing adoptable dogs and cats

White Marsh Petsmart Adoption Event
Where: 9921 Pulaski Hwy, Baltimore, MD 21220
When: April 9th 11am- 2pm
3 - volunteers needed 11am- 12:30pm
3 - volunteers needed 12:30pm- 2pm
We will be bringing adoptable dogs and maybe cats

MDSPCA March Of The Animals
Where: Camden Yards Sports Complex (333 West Camden Street Baltimore, MD 21201)
When: April 15th 7:30am- 2pm
3- volunteers needed 7:30am- 10:00am
3- volunteers needed 10:00am- 12:30pm
3- volunteers needed 12:30pm- 2:00pm
We will be bringing adoptable dogs and maybe cats

Enrichment Feeders Workshop
Taught by: Will Webster (BCAS Behavior Coordinator)
Where: BCAS
When: April 20th 3pm
Open to all volunteers
We will be using power drills, cutting tools and glue to make enrichment feeders out of PVC pipe for our dogs and cats.

Quarry Lakes Pet Valu Adoption Event
Where: 2570 Quarry Lake Dr, Baltimore MD 21209
When: April 22nd 12pm- 4pm
2- volunteers needed 12pm- 2pm
2- volunteers needed 2pm-4pm
We will be bringing 1 adoptable dog

          f) Plans for Commission Annual Report-There was a brief discussion of ideas about what should be included in the Commission's second annual report to the Baltimore County Council. Commission members will be emailing suggestions to Julianne, Joy and Lavini who will be working on preparing the report.
         g) Roy Plummer-just received a Humanitarian of the Year Award
     7. Announcement of Date and Time of Next Meeting-The next Commission meeting will be held on May 16, 2017 at 6:30 on the third floor of the Drumcastle Building located at 6401 York Rd. All meetings are open to the public.
     8. Adjournment

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