Here is a wrap-up of what we covered in our June, 2021 meeting.
June 15, 2021 Meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission
1) Call to Order
2) Roll Call-Determination of a Quorum-In attendance at this meeting were Louis Eguzo,
Roy Plummer, Rene Varela, Chris Shaughness, Maryanne Martin Bailey, Deborah Stone Hess, Sarah Hardy, and Bob Swensen. Also attending was Dr. Sandra Andrulis.
3) Approval of May 2021 Minutes-Here are the minutes as approved:
BALTIMORE COUNTY ANIMAL SERVICES
May 18, 2021
The fifty-sixth regular meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission was held on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 via GoogleMeet.
Members in attendance were: Deborah Stone Hess, Chris Shaughness, Sarah Hardy, Bob Swensen, Louis Eguzo, Rene Varela, Roy Plummer, Steve Malan.
Other attendees: Jonny Akchin, Jennifer Lavin, Amy McGuirk.
This meeting was called to order at 6:32 p.m. by the Chair Deborah Stone Hess.
April minutes were approved.
Jonny Akchin reviewed volunteer survey results. He wasn’t thrilled with Survey Monkey which only allowed 40 responses and plans to use another survey system for future surveys. Overall responses were positive. A substantial majority of those who responded are very satisfied or satisfied with the volunteer program. Among those who have served three years or more there's more diversity of opinion with just over half satisfied or very satisfied. As for written responses, they range from minor to major critiques. The major complaints are of a lack of communication from staff.
Deborah reviewed BAWA stats for April.
Update from Jonny: masks are no longer required at the shelter for those vaccinated. Two new staff members are onboarding. Appointments to surrender an animal continue and will for the foreseeable future. The Cuddle Shuttle needs service. Planning to have the Cuddle Shuttle visit the Ag Center farmers market one time per month. Looking at options for putting a table at the COVID vaccination site.
Deborah making volunteer training videos.
How can this commission help “Friends of” organizations? Steve to act as liaison.
Any interest in meeting in person? Going to start meeting in person in September.
Sarah brought up the concern of empty water bowls. Jonny said he would check into it.
Steve shared that Delaware has no more state involvement regarding companion animals. It has been transferred to counties from the Dept of Ag.
Next meeting scheduled virtually for June 15, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.
Adjournment at 7:20 p.m.
4) Joy Freedman-Tragically, we have lost one of our Commissiln's original members, Joy Freedman. Joy died after a long battle with cancer. She played a strategic role in the work of this Commission. She was one of the finest people, was passionately dedicated to animals, and, as one speaker said at her funeral, she made a difference. She truly did. She will be sorely missed by all who knew her, and her death is a great loss to the animals of our community.
5) Old Business
a) Volunteer Training Videos and New Video- Deborah has completed six volunteer training videos for BCAS. They must be approved by the County before they can be integrated into volunteer orientation. Deborah is now working on a video to train volunteers (and others) to do adoption counseling,
b) Cooperation between Commission and “Friends of” orgs.-Steve Malan-At our May meeting Steve volunteered to be a liaison with the two "Friends of" organizations that help BCAS cats and dogs. He spoke with leaders of those non-profits to let them know the Commission would like to help them in any way we can. Here is his report:
Baltimore County Animal Advisory Commission
Notes on meeting with non-profits
Commission task: I approached both groups with the intent of identifying difficulties each experiences in accomplishing their mission and how the Commission can assist by proposing new laws, statutory regulations, or suggesting changes to Departmental policy or priorities.
Friends of Baltimore County Dogs: Director indicated that the group is generally pleased with the policy and personnel changes that have occurred within the present administration. At their recent meeting, there was no opportunity to discuss my outreach to membership. However, Lori gave her personal opinions on the frustrations that have affected her staff regarding the lack of imposition of monetary or incarceration penalties in cases of animal abuse/neglect. She suggests more stringent application of the penalties and cited recent changes by Cecil County Lori will provide further information to the Commission after interviewing her staff for their perspectives.
Friends of Baltimore County Cats: Director indicated that the group is highly functional and quite successful in servicing the feline needs of the shelter. Amy spoke of some difficulties in equipment acquisition procedures. However these are regulations that are not specific to animal needs, but county- wide purchase policy. Amy has assured the Commission that she will reach out to our subcommittee if further needs are identified.
6) New Business
a) Update from Jonny Akchin-Jonny was not able to attend the meeting but Dr. Andrulis was there to provide an update as follows:
Everything at BCAS is open to the public.
Staff is wearing masks if they're not vaccinated.
Volunteer Coordinator Lissette Hernandez has resigned. Balls are in motion to begin filling that position. In the meantime, Jonny Akchin is taking over volunteer coordinator duties.
Kitten season is underway but the shelter Rescue Coordinator and Assistant Coordinator are keeping on top of it. Kittens are quickly adopted.
BCAS has a lot of fosters for the kittens.
The Assistant rescue Coordinator coordinates fosters
b) Volunteer Coordinator resignation-See above
c) May BAWA stats (Live Release Rate calculation)-The May stats that were reported to the Baltimore Animal SWelfarew Alliance are below. There is a difference in the way Deborah has been calculating live release rates from the way BCAS calculates them. Deborah does it by the percentage of non-owner requested euthanasia of total intake. BCAS calculates the number by dividing live outcomes by all outcomes minus Owner Requested Euthanasia.
Here is a summary of the stats with both forms of live release percentage included.
Euth (non- owner requested)
Live Release Rate based on intalke
LIVE RELEASE RATE including animals in shelter at beginning of month
7) Election for Chair next month-Next month marks six years since the Commission's first meeting. As we do each year, the July meeting will include election of Commission Chair.
8) 2021 Commission report-It's time to begin planning the Commission's 2021 annual report. Chris, Bob and Rene all offered to help Deborah with the report.
9) Any Other Business?
Rene asked Dr. Andrulis whether she sees a big difference in the number of microchipped cats vs. microchipped dogs. The answer is a definitive yes.
Sarah Hardy, who volunteers at BCAS, brought up three issues of concern:
1. Is there a better way to medicate thew animals at BCAS? Sarah says she often goes into dog kennels and finds pills that were supposed to have taken but apparently spit out. Dr. Andrulis says this is a difficult problem to manage because there are so many meds given to the animals and BCAS tries numerous ways to disguise them so the animals will swallow them including pill pockets.
2. Sarah mentioned the ongoing problem of hot water coming out of faucets. Dr. Andrulis said she had been told the problem had been fixed and asked Sarah to text her immediately if she encounters this problem and to let her know what faucet (s) are involved so that she can get Property management to address the problem.
3. Sarah said she was concerned that BCAS uses padlocks in animal cages that could make it difficult to save animals if there is a fire.
10) Date and Time of Next Meeting-The Commission's next meeting will be held virtually on July 20, 2021 at 6:30 PM.