Thursday, June 22, 2017

June 20, 2017 meeting of the Animal Services Advisory Cmmission

Hello, all,
The Baltimore County Animal services Advisory Commission met on June 20, 2017. Here is a summary of our meeting.

                 Baltimore County Animal Services
                              Advisory Commission
                                     June 20, 2017

1)  Call to Order
2)  Roll Call-Determination of a quorum
3)  Approval of minutes
Here are the minutes as approved:
APRIL 18, 2017

The twentieth regular meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission was held on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 in the Main Conference Room of the Drumcastle Government Center. This meeting was called to order at 6:36 pm.
By the Chair Deborah Stone-Hess. Members in attendance were: Deborah Stone-Hess, Maryanne Bailey, Joy Freedman, Roy Plummer, Jean Townsend, VMD, Janice Vincent (by phone) and Julianne Zimmer.


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

Motion –

Motioned by:  Janice Vincent
Second by:  Roy Plummer
Decision: Approved

Introduction of New Commission Member Appointed by Councilman Quirk – Maryanne Bailey
Maryanne is a District Leaver Volunteer for the HSUS in Maryland Congressional District 7. She is interested in working with shelter issues.

Old Business  

General Assembly Legislation
Legislative Outcome 2017 was distributed and discussed.

New business

Rescue Well Grant Guest – Christine Sandberg

Also attending with Christine Sandberg, Carrie Hughes, who is on the Board of Directors at Rescue Well. Here is the information she provided to the Commission: Rescue Well became a federally-recognized non-profit in October, 2016. In November 2016, Rescue Well entered the grant process with Baltimore County and received a twenty-five thousand dollar grant. The goal of the grant was to provide owner retention support and, when surrender is necessary, to provide shelter-diversion support by routing pets to new homes, rescues, or closed admission shelters. Rescue Well leads the Coalition of Rescues – East, whose members represent over 70 regional organizations. These organizations often absorb the owner surrendered pets, bypassing local shelters altogether. The Well-Placed Pet Program started in November 2014, and since then 150 pets were re-homed, and fifty families chose to keep their pet.

Rescue Well also manages a Crisis hotline that Sandberg says receives an average of 1200 calls per month. Roughly eighty percent of clients are in Baltimore County. Callers are referred to the hotline by area crisis centers, social media and area shelters. Rescue Well’s goal is to keep pets in safe and healthy homes. To that end, they provide food, supplies, veterinary care and other assistance. Veterinary and boarding expenses lead the Grant expenditures.

Rescue Well also supports shelters and rescues by providing transport services for animals in the Maryland area via its team of 105 volunteers.

In support of the County, Rescue Well has distributed over 1,000 flyers around the spay/neuter clinics, and they staffed rabies clinics to provide additional support, provide onsite microchip registration and provide owners with our hotline information.

Stats from 11/27 – March 2017

Grant funding has helped 105 pets by providing supplies (crates/leaches, etc.), food and veterinary care.

In total, Rescue Well has prevented the rehome/surrender of 167 pets by providing support through training, advice and other resources (including veterinary care).

Rescue Well has diverted 116 imminent surrenders to closed admission shelters, rescues or private adopters.

The County also partners with Rescue Well to provide support to citizens in crisis: sex trafficking survivors, veterans, domestic violence survivors and other similar cases. Baltimore County’s is the first grant they have received. They would like to expand educational programs for pet owners. Rescue Well hotline contact cards are distributed at the shelter and callers are provided their number as a resource.

It has been a very collaborative partnership with Baltimore County. In the county grant, Ms. Sandberg reports to the Baltimore County Administrative Officer.

First Quarter BCAS Statistics

Statistics were distributed. The numbers were discussed. The most remarkable are the cat euthanasia numbers… 7.8% this year compared to 17.4% for this quarter last year. This is a great improvement. Over 90% live releases for both dogs and cats and even larger number of animals were taken in this year over last.

Liaison Committee Meeting Summary

BARCS has been awarded a grant that will be paying for the mega adoption event at the fairgrounds.

The rabies bill was discussed earlier with legislation outcomes.

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

Educational material is given to those that trap cats and kittens.

For the TNR update the committee discussed why the county is legally prohibited from going onto property without permission from owners.

Some spay/neutering is done at the shelter currently. This will eventually be done only at the east and west side spay/neuter clinics. Any trapped cats are released the day after surgery.

West side spay/neuter clinic numbers are still low and there are still problems with people following through with appointments. They are currently performing 16 surgeries a day with a goal of performing up to 30 surgeries per day.

There is a discussion about using billboards to educate people in the West side clinic area about the clinic and Deborah suggested going through African-American churches to get the messages to the community as well.

Jackson Galaxy program at BCAS is finished.

Deb Stone reached out to The Bissell Pey Foundation for a blog article and learned Bissell provides grants. She passed on info to Dr. Jones to look into whether they qualify for a grant.  

Deb is planning a post for her blog about the ways the shelter has changed over the last two years.

ReLove will be awarding its Valentino Award to the two Baltimore County Animal Control Officers who saved the stray dog from the sewer.

Volunteer appreciation event dates were distributed and discussed.

Emails received recently were praising the changes that had been made at the shelter and with the volunteer program. Joy wants to discuss with the Liaison Committee about some rescue issues that have been occurring. She also agrees with Deb that Sunday hours will need to be discussed soon.

There was a discussion about the Commission’s 2nd annual report and what should be included. Julianne, Joy and Lavinia will be working on this.

The Dundalk Optimist Club presented Roy Plummer its Humanitarian of the Year Award. His picture was in the Dundalk Eagle and he will also be working in the Dundalk Parade. It was suggested that he create a float representing the shelter.

Volunteer Update – Ann Gearhart
Ann was not in attendance.

Announcement of Next Meeting Date and Location
May 16, 2017 at Drumcastle Government Center, 6401 York Road, 3rd floor main conference room

Motion to adjourn
Motion by Joy
Second by Maryanne

Adjourned at 8:07 pm

4)  Julianne-class visit to BCAS-
The first field trip to BCAS by a special learning class from Perry Hall High School. The class is engaged in ReLove's Education for Responsibility program. The students got to tour the shelter and earn about the animals there.Then they got to make an enrichment toy for the cats and then got to read to the animals. Julianne says we can expect more of these kinds of fired trips in the future.

5)  Enrichment Blog Post-Deb did a post on enrichment and a video on the enrichment program at BCAS. If you would like to read it and see the video, here's a link:

6)  New Business
a) Summary of Liaison Committee meeting
Here is the summary:
                                    JUNE 16, 2017

1)  Spay/Neuter on 1st or 2nd Impound- There was so much pushback from council members who were getting angry calls from constituents who didn’t want their pets altered that the shelter has gone back to a policy of spaying or neutering only after the second impound. It’s a shame but that’s the reality.
The law will not be changed…only shelter policy. The good news is that even though they don’t alter on first impound they do microchip which will enable them to know for sure when a stray animal has been brought in before. And in addition, the old policy was that an animal would be spayed or neutered on second impound if the second impound happened within a 12 month period. Now there is no limit to the amount of time that may pass between impounds in order to trigger the spay/neuter requirement.
2)  BCAS Picnic-The shelter held a picnic to thank volunteers. It sent out 500 invitations. Somewhere between 80-100 came. A somewhat disappointing turnout, but kudos to the county for inviting so many people to enjoy a picnic day at the shelter.
3)  Mega Adoption event-BCAS participated in its third mega adoption event on June 10. About 30 volunteers and 20 staff members from BCAS were on hand. The event was held at Timonium Fairgrounds. BCAS took 83 pets…68 of them were cats which was an ambitious number,  but the shelter is full of cats and they were hoping to get as many adopted as possible. As it turned out, all 15 dogs were adopted, and 40 cats found homes, but 28 cats were remaining at the end of the day. Overall, 193 animals were brought to the event by BCAS, BARCS, the MD SPCA, Bmore Humane and the Humane Society of Harford County. Of those 193, 152 were adopted. A huge success.
If you want to read more about it or see a video check out deb’s blog. Her most recent post is about Mega events and has a video about our event on June 10.
4)  Kitten season-It’s fully underway. It’s believed a lot of the kittens brought in by citizens are actually taken from their nursing mothers. People in the public are asked NOT to do that.
5)  The Maryland 2000-This is the new name for an event that used to be known as the Baltimore 500. The Baltimore 500 involved just shelters in our area. Its aim was to find homes for 500 cats in June. The Maryland 2000 is an expansion of that. It will involve shelters around the state. They’ll offer free cat adoptions in July hoping to adopt out 2 thousand cats in that one month.
6)  Summer overcrowding-Rescues are saturated. No one is pulling animals right now because rescues are overburdened.
7)  TNR-same problems persist. A lot of people are reluctant to let the county onto their property to trap cats and return them. Ironically there are two diametrically opposed groups at play…1 is the group of people who don’t want the cats returned and the other is a group of people that is upset that the county isn’t doing more for health needs of the individual cats.
8)  Spay/Neuter-The county has performed 14 thousand spay/neuter surgeries since it ended its voucher program and began performing these surgeries for the public.
9)  West Side clinic-The county is still struggling to fill slots at its West side clinic. They have tried many things in order to remedy this including handing out flyers, meeting with church representatives to meeting with community associations. They are considering starting a pilot program where they would buy gift cards from Petco or Petsmart and citizens who make and follow through with spay/neuter appointments would get a gift card worth 20 dollars, which is the amount they spent on the surgery.
10)              Outcry on Social Media-there was an outcry on social media over a dog that was neutered at BCAS. There were complaints about the way the neuter surgery was performed…that instead of just taking the testicles the vet also took the scrotum. Advocates were upset because this surgery is more painful. There were also issues with an eye surgery performed at the shelter. The dog went to rescue but ultimately was euthanized because of aggression. Some claimed the aggression was non existent at the shelter and resulted from pain the dog was experiencing. We asked Dr. Jones about this. She explained that with some dogs, particularly large older dogs there, are risks to leaving the skin behind. It does not retract as it does in young dogs and leaves open the possibility of hematoma, which is a collection of blood. It is up to the vet’s discretion which way the surgery will be performed. As we know, things have a way of taking off on the internet and before long people were calling for the vet to lose her license to practice veterinary medicine. 
(There was discussion at the Commission meeting about following up on this issue.)

b) County Council effort re: Circuses-Our newest member of the Commission Maryanne Bailey is involved with efforts at HSUS to encourage communities to pass legislation (as 140 jurisdictions have already done) to keep small circuses that use performing wild animals out of their community. This is outside the purview of the Animal Services Advisory Commission, but as a separate endeavor, Deborah, Maryanne and Lisa Radov of MD Votes for Animals spoke to the Baltimore County Council about this issue and encouraged them to draft legislation to keep out circuses like UniverSoul which recently was performing at Security Square Mall. The next day one of the Council members reached out and asked for a meeting to discuss this further. Stay tuned.

c)  Commission Annual Report-Joy, Lavinia and Deborah have begun working on the Commission's second annual report.

d) Commission Chair Election in July
July is the second anniversary of the start of the Commission and a vote for Chair will be held at the July meeting.

e) CE Election Protocol-deborah encouraged Commission members to refrain from any heated postings on Facebook concerning the election for County Executive and the election for Governor in which the current county executive will be a candidate. Commission members are of course free to campaign for and support anyone they choose, but Deborah would like to see the members stay out of the social media fray since we are a County-appointed body.
7)  Any other business? No
8)  Announcement of Next Meeting Date and Location-The next meeting will be held at 6:30 pm July 18, 2017 in our usual meeting place on the third floor of the Drumcastle Building.
9)  Adjournment

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