Here's a wrap-up of the Commission's latest meeting on Zoom.
FEBRUARY 2021 AGENDA
Animal Services Advisory Commission
1) Call to Order
2) Roll Call Determination of a Quorum-In attendance were Chris Shaughness, Louis Eguzo, Roy Plummer, Maryanne Martin Bailey, Ann Gearhart, and Deborah Stone Hess. Chief of Animal Services Dr. Sandra Andrulis also attended.
3) Approval of January 2021 Minutes-Minutes were approved as follows:
BALTIMORE COUNTY ANIMAL SERVICES
January 19, 2021
The fifty-second regular meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission was held on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 via Zoom.
Members in attendance were: Deborah Stone Hess, Roy Plummer, Chris Shaughness, Steve Malan, Bob Swensen, Ann Gearhart, and Louis Eguzo.
This meeting was called to order at 6:32 p.m. by the Chair Deborah Stone Hess.
December minutes were approved.
Volunteer Thomas McCurdy has passed away from COVID. His entire family volunteers at the shelter. Information will be sent to members.
Dr. Sandra Andrulis participated in the meeting and provided numerous updates.
Intake numbers are down for the 4th Quarter, which is a direct effect of COVID. People are staying home more. All the shelters in the area are seeing the same trend. Those numbers have to be because people are finding ways to hold onto their animals or they are able to rehome them in the community without resorting to handing them over to the county.
Maryland SPCA Pet Food Banks have seen an increase in demand.
Live release rates for dogs and cats both above 90%. The lower euthanasia rate for cats is a result of the working cat program and the lower intake.
Department of Corrections program has ended due to COVID.
2020 Report has been submitted. Deb, Chris Shaughness and Steve Malan are going to have a meeting with Sam O’Neill and other county officials to discuss TNR legislation.
Ann discussed the need for an education/outreach program to be designed and endorsed by the shelter and County Executive. Dr. Andrulis noted that Virginia does and teaches others how to do.
Next meeting scheduled for February 16, 2021 via Zoom.
Adjournment at 6:59 p.m.
4) New Business
a) Documents sent to Baltimore County re: TNR legislation-The main recommendation in our annual Commission report last year was the creation of a TNR law to eliminate issues the county struggles with concerning TNR. Among these issues: BCAS has no recourse if someone brings in a cat(s) to BCAS and says they will not allow BCAS onto their property to return the cat(s). The county wanted to learn more about our recommendation and there was a Zoom meeting to discuss this. In attendance were Chris Shaughness and Steve Malan and Deborah Stone Hess from the Commission, and Sam O'Neil from the County Executives office as well as two representatives from the Administration's Government Affairs Division. Deborah sent several documents to the county prior to the meeting, including summaries of TNR legislation in Anne Arundel County, Prince Georges County, and Baltimore City, as well as information on organizations that support TNR, and information on cat intake.
b) Meeting with County Officials on TNR Legislation-Chris Shaughness summarized our meeting with the county representatives. All our information was positively received.
5) OLD BUSINESS
a) Maryland Animal-Related Legislation-Deborah spoke with Lisa Radov of Maryland Votes for Animals to get an update on statewide animal-related legislation under consideration in the General Assembly. Here is the update:
2021 MARYLAND ANIMAL LEGISLATION
Update Feb. 2021
1) Extreme Weather Bill-has passed the House of Delegates for the 2nd year in a row. The Senate companion bill is still in committee.
2) Killing Contest Bill-This bill sets penalties for those who take part in contests to win money for killing raccoons, coyotes, and foxes-This bill has passed in the House and the Senate. The Senate bill would impose higher penalties for thoise who participate in these contests.
3) Bill that would firm up the law that forbids Maryland stores from selling dogs bred in puppy mills-This bill was introduced only in the Senate and is still in committee.
4) A bill banning the sale in Maryland of cosmetics which were tested on animals-This bill passed in the Senate last year and has passed in the Senate this year. Today the House held its committee hearing.
5) Bill to extend spay neuter and TNR grant program through the MD Department of Agriculture. Pet food sales are taxed to pay for this in MD. The program isn’t set to expire till Sept. of 2022 but there’s a bill to extend the program for 10 years. It has passed in the House. There’s no companion Senate bill.
6) Any Other Business?
a) Dr. Andrulis mentioned that there has been some concern because the money for the state's Spay?Neuter grant program comes from a tax on those who sell pet food in Maryland. The concern is that the tax would result in increased prices and this could hurt low-income Marylanders.
b) Maryanne Bailey mentioned that one bill was not included in the update. That bill would affect those who have animals seized in cruelty cases. The cost of keeping those animals in shelters can be very high as cases drag on. The bill would force the pet owners to pay these costs. I subsequently have learned that hearings on this bill is not scheduled for hearings till March.
7) Next meeting day and time-The Commission's next meeting will be held via Zoom on March 16, 2021 at 6:30 PM.