Saturday, March 31, 2018

Baltimore County Animal Svcs. Advisory Commission March 27, 2018 meeting

Here's what happened at our March 27, 2018 meeting

March 20, 2018

I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call – Determination of a Quorum-Attending were Deborah Stone Hess, Roy Plummer, Janice Vincent, Ann Gearhart, Jon Christiana, Joy Freedman, Julianne Zimmer, and Maryann Bailey (by phone)

III. Approval of February Minutes
Here are the minutes as approved:
February 20, 2018
The twenty-sixth regular meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission was held on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 in the Main Conference Room of the Drumcastle Government Center. This meeting was called to order at 6:35 p.m. by the Chair Deborah Stone-Hess. Members in attendance were: Deborah Stone-Hess, Maryanne Bailey, Joy Freedman, Ann Gearhart, Janice Vincent and Julianne Zimmer. 
Minutes from the January 16, 2018 meeting were motioned and approved as submitted.

Motion – 
Motioned by: Ann Gearhart
Second by:  Julianne Zimmer
Decision: Approved

Update on Members
Councilman Jones has yet to assign a new person to replace Lavigna Ringgold. Councilman Kach has been notified that Jean Townsend may need to be replaced due to health issues. 

Jamie DeRita-Rodriguez has not attended a meeting in some time and Deborah has been unable to reach her. She is an administrative appointment and Deborah has contacted the county Administration to notify them she needs to be replaced.

Oscar Update
The State’s Attorney’s office is still investigating. The necropsy results have not been released.

Julianne and Joy have been talking with council members about possible changes in county code to deal with the issue of animals left outside in inclement weather. . Julianne talked about the vagueness of Article 12 in the County Code. Joy & Julianne are in process of helping to create legislation. Parts will mirror PA’s Libra law and part will mimic Baltimore City’s code in regards to need of dog houses to be elevated, national weather advisory and access doors. Joy and Julianne’s proposal, which was submitted under ReLove, was sent to David Marks’ office for review. There is a meeting scheduled next Tuesday with Councilmembers David Marks and Tom Quirk to discuss this legislation. 

Question for the County Administrator: Is it a requirement for Baltimore County ACO’s to attend the Maryland ACO academy?  At the Shelter, they are taking shelter workers and front staff and Animal Control Officers and are cross-training. This will help them understand each other. Animal Control Officers are specifically trained and this cross-training is taking them off of the road.

General Update

The County Administrator has halted the Liaison Committee meetings and now wants all questions in writing. Deborah met today with Don Mohler, wanting to know whether he can intercede to see if liaison committee meetings can resume. He promised to look ito this and get back to her.

New Committees

Clear communication is needed between Animal Services, the State’s Attorney’s Office, and the police department. There is a police officer within each precinct to investigate animal issues/complaints.

A new committee made up of Maryanne Bailey and Ann Gearhart will look into communication in other jurisdictions between the State’s Attorney’s Office, the police department and Animal Services. Baltimore City has an Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Commission that works well with the health department and the police department. It was suggested it would be helpful to have a police officer on the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission. 

Deb would like to invite those running for County Executive to speak to the commission about their views on Animal Services. . Janice to contact and invite them.  The commission will create questions and present them to the candidates in advance. They would only need to talk for 10 minutes or so to answer the questions. Deborah, Joy and Julianne will devise questions, send them to the candidates, and will invite them to the March, April or May meetings in advance of the primary in June. Those who cannot attend a Commission meeting can answer the questions in writing.

Announcement of Next Meeting Date and Location 
March 20, 2018 at Drumcastle Government Center, 6401 York Road, 3rd floor, Main Conference Room

Motion to adjourn
Motion by: Joy Freedman
Second by: Maryanne Bailey
Motion approved.

Adjourned at 8:00 p.m.

IV. Old Business
a. Update on Commission Member Appointments
 Councilman Jones has not named a replacement for Lavinia Ringgold. Jean Townsend is still recovering aud we don't know if she will be returning.  
i. New member – Mr. Bradley Organ-The Administration has named a replacement for Jamie Derita Rodriguez. His name is Bradley Organ. He could not attend tonight but should be at our next meeting.
b. Invitations to candidates-The Commission has invited all candidates running to fill the County Executive seat to come to a Commission meeting and talk about their plans for Animal Services.
Delegate Pat McDonough came to this meeting. Here are the questions asked of him and a summary of his responses:
1) How much do you know or understand about the operations of BCAS? He said he knew very little but he loves animals and has always been a supporter of animal welfare legislation in his years as a Delegate in Annapolis.
2) Do you have any plans for change in Baltimore County Animal Svcs? Not at this time...he said he needs to learn more about it but has a fixed commitment to protecting animals. 
4) Should Animal Control and the shelter be operated separately? He said he didn't know enough about this subject and would have to look at that.
He said part of his philosophy as a candidate is to have no special interests and no special agendas....that he is committed to putting people of the county first.
5)  Should there be an oversight committee for BCAS?  He said.that he would take a serious look at that. He promised to have the shelter open on Sundays as well.

c. Oscar Update-As we now know, a necropsy showed that Oscar died of hypothermia,. In addition he was found to be malnourished and suffering from muscle wasting. The Baltimore County State's Attorney's office has filed charges against Oscar's owner. The Commission continues to push for answers to many unanswered questions. See UPDATE ON LIAISON COMMITTEE MEETINGS BELOW

d. Oscar’s Law – Julianne and Joy have been working with Councilmen Marks and Quirk to create legislation to protect animals that are left outside in hopes that there will be no more incidents like the one involving Oscar. The legislation will be presented at the next County Council meeting.
V. New Business
a. New Police Unit-The Country Executive sent out a press release saying the county is creating a dedicated animal abuse unit in the Baltimore County Police Department that will be comprised of a police sergeant, a police officer and three civilian investigators. It should be up and running by the end of March. We know very little about it but will surely have more information by the April meeting. This appears to be a very positive move.
b. Committee Reports –Ann Gearhart looked into relationships between State's Attorney offices, Animal Control and police departments in other jurisdictions and found a wide range of cooperation depending on jurisdiction. 
c. Update on Liaison Committee Meetings-The Commission had been promised that Gary Klunk and Fred Homan would attend this meeting but Deborah received an email Monday saying that Fred Homan was too busy with budget matters to attend. Deborah sent an email to Don Mohler saying this was unacceptable and that it needed to be resolved this week or the Commission would go to the County Council for help with this matter. Don Mohler called Deborah Tuesday afternoon and said the County Executive had gotten involved and met with Fred. But he believed Fred was too overwhelmed with working on the budget to attend and that he would definitely attend the April meeting. Deborah explained that in that case, we need to resume Liaison Committee meetings which were terminated by Fred Homan. Don Mohler promised to work on this and we will keep everyone updated on the progress made concerning this issue.
Many questions need to be asked and answered about the Oscar case and the county response.
d. Next Commission Annual Report-The Commission's next annual report is due in July. We will begin planning for that at the April meeting.
VI. Next Commission Meeting
a. Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.
b. 6401 York Road, Third floor Main Conference room, Baltimore, MD 21212
VII. Adjournment