Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March 21st meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission

Hello, all,
Here is a summary of the March 21, 2017 meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission.
1) Call to Order
2) Roll Call (Determination of a quorum)
Those present were Deborah Stone Hess, Roy Plummer, Janice Vincent, Jean Townsend,
Joy Freedman, Julianne Zimmer, Lavinia Ringgold, and Jon Christiana (by phone).
3) Approval of minutes from previous meeting
Here are the approved minutes:
FEBRUARY 21, 2017

The eighteenth regular meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission was held on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 in the Main Conference Room of the Drumcastle Government Center. This meeting was called to order at 6:33 pm.
By the Chair Deborah Stone-Hess. Members in attendance were Deborah Stone-Hess, Jon Christiana, Jamie DeRita, Joy Freedman, Ann Gearhart, Roy Plummer, Jean Townsend, VMD, Janice Vincent and Julianne Zimmer.

Minutes from the January 17, 2017 meeting were motioned and approved as submitted.

Motion to accept minutes:

Motioned by: Jean Townsend, VMD
Second motion by: Julianne Zimmer
Decision: Unanimous Approval

Old business – None

New business –

Volunteer Program Update
         A handout was distributed showing the volunteer opportunities within the Baltimore County Animal Shelter. The new Dot system utilized by the Volunteer program allows people to see the level of training that you have on your name tag by the dot color. This program has blossomed and is improving regularly.

Liaison Committee Meeting Summary

Standards of Care
The Standards of Care document has been completed by the Baltimore County Animal Shelter and was sent to the Commission’s Liaison Committee for review. The Standards of Care are available from the Baltimore County Animal Shelter to those who ask.

Sunday Hours
Members of the Liaison Committee continue to suggest the shelter be open for adoptions and for volunteering on Sunday. However, this policy is not going to change in the foreseeable future. The Liaison Committee members were told that shelter staff currently has either Friday/Saturday or Sunday/Monday for their days off. There are no Sunday hours because that day is used to get deep cleaning completed within the shelter. There are no volunteers at the shelter on Sundays because of the lack of a supervisor.

The Baltimore County Animal Shelter can accept monetary donations at the shelter. They cannot accept any type of gift cards. Donations cannot be solicited. The donations are not tax deductible. There is ongoing discussion about the benefits of creating a 501c3-Non-profit to work with the shelter. This, among other things, would create an entity that could solicit donations.

County Code Changes
Working on changing language for animal control violations in order to clarity the meaning of menacing animal versus a dangerous animal.

Jackson Galaxy Program
Jackson Galaxy is the host of Animal Planet’s My Cat from Hell and two-time NY Times best-selling author. He has a new research project and BCAS has been chosen as one of nine shelters to participate for part of this year. It is a cat enrichment program using techniques that encourage cats to come to the front of their cages to greet those who visit the shelter. This program started last year and the MD SPCA participated. Will Webster at BCAS found out about it and reached out asking to be considered as a participant. This program just got underway. Five cats as a time will participate in this program.

There is a desperate need for newspaper for the TNR program at the shelter. If you have any newspaper, you may bring it to the next BCASAC meeting.

Rabies Bill
This bill before the MD General Assembly would require veterinarians to report every rabies vaccine given. The purpose of this report is to be able to determine if an animal has a current rabies vaccination in the event of a bite.

Ann Gearhart’s Assignment
Ann’s assignment is to attend some of the trainings being offered at the shelter for the volunteers. She will report back.

APHIS reports have been removed from the USDA website. These reports were critical to a Maryland law passed last year requiring pet stores to disclose the sources of their pets. These reports were removed from the Department of Agriculture website. Some have been restored.

Lobby Day in Annapolis
Five animal related bills are being championed.

Motion to adjourn
Motion by Jean Townsend
Second by Julianne Zimmer
 Adjourned at 7:24 pm

4) Old Business
a) U.S. Dept. Of Agriculture Website-The reports about breeding facilities that were deleted from the website are still not restored. There is a law in MD that requires stores that sell puppies to post on cages the name of the breeding facility from which the animals came. Without the reports on the Dept. of Ag website, there is o way for consumers to check on these facilities to find out if they're reputable and whether they have committed violations in the past. The MD General Assembly is considering a bill that will require stores that sell puppies to get this information themselves and provide it to customers. Deborah will be writing about this bill in her next blog post of OH! SNAP which should probably go up on Friday, March 24th. The address of her blog is Just click on blogs and scroll down to her blog.
5) New Business
a) Circus legislation-Maryanne Bailey came to the Commission meeting to talk about this issue. Although Ringling Brothers Circus has gone out of business, there are still many smaller circuses that employ inhumane methods of training with exotic animals. The Humane Society of the United States is looking into the possibility of having individual jurisdictions ban these smaller circuses from performing. Maryanne is a volunteer with HSUS and talked about this issue. She wanted to know if the Commission would support that effort in Baltimore County. Deborah said she believes that making such a recommendation would be outside the purview of the Commission as it is tasked purely as an Advisory Commission to the shelter. But Commission members urged Maryanne to pursue this issue with members of the Baltimore County Council.
b) Liaison Committee Meeting Summary
Here's a summary of the most recent Liaison Committee meeting. The Liaison Committee is made up of Deborah, Julianne and Joy. The Committee meets monthly with representatives from the county and BCAS:
                                MARCH 16, 2017

1)  West Side Spay/Neuter Clinic
The county continues to work toward getting more clients for the West Side Spay/Neuter Clinic. While they have the capacity to operate 6 days a week like they do at the East Side Clinic in Dundalk, the West Side Clinic is only operational 3 days a week right now because there aren’t enough clients to justify additional days. Ramp-up was slow when the East Side Clinic opened too, and really picked up over time. That clinic performed 35 hundred surgeries in 2016.  So, the county is confident that over time, more people will begin to make use of the spay/neuter services offered at Southwest Area Park.
However, they are encountering resistance in that community to the concept of spay/neuter, so the county is working to spread the word and educate the population that spay/neuter is the right thing to do. 
Rescue Well is involved in the effort to spread the word in these communities. In addition, the county is reaching out to managers of apartment complexes where pets are allowed to ask them to distribute flyers. Flyers are also going to PTA’s and schools are being asked to distribute the information in their newsletters.

2)  TNR-
Since the county hired a TNR Coordinator to take over the old pilot TNR program in mid-October, 400 cats have been TNR’d. Because TNR is so labor-intensive, the county was finding that by the time they got ready to go out for trapping, then travelled to the TNR location, and set the traps, there was little time to actually do the trapping before it was time to pack up and leave. So the county is beginning to loan out traps to caretakers and provide assistance, instructions and guidelines for trapping, then will go out to get the cats once they are trapped.
3)  COUNTY ORDINANCE CHANGES-We’ve 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.
Now the rewritten ordinances they 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’ve been cited for.
Baltimore County supports a bill that’s 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’s possible that there might be support for a pilot program. Montgomery County, Prince Georges County and Baltimore County have all agreed to participate.
ReLove Animals gives an award called the Valentino Award to those who go above and beyond in efforts to help animals. ReLove wants to present one of these awards to the two Baltimore County Animal Control officers who recently went down into a storm drain to save a dog that was trapped there.
County officials want to do something to recognize the dedication of the Dept. of Correction inmates who work at BCAS. This program not only benefits the shelter and its animals, but also helps the inmates learn social skills and work skills which can help them once they complete their sentences. Deborah plans to do a blog post on this program and Julianne Zimmer is going to get a plaque recognizing the inmates’ work that can be hung in the shelter.

c) Ann Gearhart report on Volunteer program-Ann Gearhart was not in attendance at the meeting so this will have to wait until the next Commission meeting.
d) 2nd Annual Commission Report-The Commission is approaching the end of its second year and must provide a second annual report to the Baltimore County Council. Joy Freedman, Lavinia Ringgold and Julianne Zimmer are going to work as a committee to begin drafting that report. All Commission members were asked to come to the next meeting prepared to discuss things they feel should be in the report.
e) Meeting Frequency
Deborah suggested that after the Commission delivers its second annual report, perhaps we might reduce the frequency of Commission meetings to once every six weeks or every other month. That will be discussed again before any decision is made on this issue.
6) Date and Time of Next Meeting
The Commission's next meeting will be held on April 18th, 2017 at 6:30 PM on the third floor of  the Drumcastle Building at 6401 York Rd. All meetings are open to the public.
7) Adjournment

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