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.


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
Disposition During Month   
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
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

6) Adjournment


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