Sunday, June 24, 2018

June 19, 2018 Meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory oOmmission

Here's what happened at the most recent meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission on June 19, 2018


1) Call to Order
2) Roll Call-Determination of a Quorum-In attendance were Deborah Stone Hess, Joy Freedman, Janice Vincent, Roy Plummer, Ann Gearhart, Larry Townsend, and Maryanne Martin Bailey
3) Approval of minutes-I apologize I don't have the final file of the minutes in my computer and our Commission's secretary is on vacation. As soon as she returns I will get the minutes and add them in here.

4) Welcome New Commission Member, Gerald Brooks-Gerald Brooks was not able to attend tonight's meeting. We look forward to seeing him any our meeting in July.

5) Police Unit Q and A
Two members of the new Baltimore County Police Animal Abuse Team attended our meeting. They were Sgt. Sundia Gaynor and Detective Mo Gardner. There are three other members of the team that are on vacation and will attend the Commission's next meeting.
Sgt. Gaynor and Detective Gardner were warmly welcomed by all Commission members. They will be performing such an important duty for our county...investigating all complaints of animal abuse, cruelty and neglect.

Here's the number to call if you suspect an animal is being mistreated:

Here's a summary of our Q and A with Sgt. Gaynor and Detective Gardner:

Q: How are things going since the unit started up at the beginning of May?
A: It's been busy and consistent. Investigations are similar to any other investigation.
You’de be surprised how many witnesses step up.

Q:How many calls have you gotten?
A: To date we’ve investigated 23 cases. Some have been cleared. It's expected to increase over time as we are getting our phone number out.
We get cases from Animal Svcs., veterinarians, the States Atty, and citizens. In addition, sometimes we do our own research into one case that leads to other cases. Also when patrol officers see something that may involve neglect or cruelty, they call the Animal Abuse Team.
Q: Can you tell us about the complaints you are getting most?
A: It's too early to say what issues we’re dealing with more than others. It changes. It's getting hotter outside so we're getting more calls for animals left outside and left in vehicles.
Q: Can you say how many complaints you're getting from citizens?
A:  Ballpark 20-30
Sometimes people get in touch with us after calling 911 because 911 gives out the number.
Q: Have any cases been referred to the State's Attorney's office?
A: Several
Q:Do you refer cases to the Animal Hearing board?
A: No Animal Services does that. The police unit deals with criminal cases. Animal Services deals with civil cases. Civil cases go before the Animal Hearting Board. If we realize we have something that’s not criminal we send things over to Animal Services so they can deal with it civilly if necessary.
Q: Will there be ongoing efforts to increase public awareness of your unit through the school system in the county?
A: eventually that’s part of our initiative.
Q: How many people are in your unit?
A: There are 3 detectives, an Animal Service Officer from BCAS, and Sgt. Gaynor is supervisor. They anticipate their staff will grow.
Q: Are there any changes in the law that would be helpful to you?
A: It’s a little too early know. We’re still learning. We’re working with the States Atty. It would be a collaborative effort to determine that.
Q:Do you do cross reporting with agencies like social services and child welfare?
A: Throughout our investigation if we encounter another crminal act we would not ignore it. We reach out to other agencies.
Q:How is this kind of police investigation different from other different from other investigations?
A: It's not that much different other than working with different entities.
Q: What kind of training are you receiving to help you in this work?
A: We attended a county animal abuse seminar and we did some training at Days End Farm and we have other trainings scheduled.

6) Fred Homan and Gary Klunk Q and A
Here are the questions and answers from our Q and A with Fred Homan and Gary Klunk:
Q: We understand there is a new requirement for volunteers and all those who are not staff to obtain a key from the guard to use the bathroom? Why?
A: Approximately 30-40 times the toilet has been clogged with feminine products, paper towels, real towels anything anyone can shove down there, so the door will be locked. We think it’s intentional and possibly is being done by the Dept of Corrections workers. Now Dept of Corrections workers must be escorted one at a time.
Everyone must ask for a key
The next time the tiolet is clogged we will know who left it that way.
This is not punitive.
We have a unique situation...when the toilet backs up, it causes the back row of kennels to not be functional because the sewer line backs up into the kennels.

Q: what are you doing to inform your employees and others about Oscar's law?
A: Animal Service Officers (ASO's) are handing out literature about it on the street.

Q: Can you send us the flyer?
A: Yes.

Q: How are your workers enforcing the new law?
A: If an Animal Service Officer sees something suspect on the street, they report it to their supervisor.
If a citizen sees something and calls us, they can be transferred to the new police Animal Abuse Team and we give them the phone number.

Q: Is each complaint entered into your system?
A: Yes. We create a complaint and enter it into the system and it will say what the complaint was and where the call was transferred.

Q:If you call the phone number after hours and get a recording does it have the Animal Abuse Team phone number?
A: It gives the 2222 number which is the non emergency 911 line.
They would dispatch to the nearest police precinct.

Q: Is the unit open Monday thru Friday?
A: Yes.

Q: What do you do if you TNR a cat from someone's property and they don't want the cat back on their property?
A:  If people are complaining about the cats on their property we talk with them about how to keep them off their property. We give out deterrents to help them keep unwanted cats off their property. Our goal is to not only return the cat but to mediate the dispute between the neighbors.
We encourage people to allow us to TNR the cat and bring it back to their property.

We loan traps only if someone agrees to take the cat back. We have to have a signed consent to drop them off
If we trap a cat and the property owner doesn't want the cat back on their property, and 
if the cat has a healthy body weight we know someone has been feeding it. We walk the block and we’ll find out where the cat has been eating and return it to them. If we cant find the caretaker we have no right to release the animal on someone else’s property without their permission.
If there's no caretaker and no one wants it back, it could possibly go into the working cat program,
If we cant find a caretaker and a complainant doesn’t want cat back, the only other outcome is euthanasia.

Q: Do you release cats in areas other than where they were trapped?
We don’t relocate animals.
We get complaints about people leaving food out for cats in neighborhoods with rat issues. Cat food becomes rat food. Neighbors complain and call code enforcement who will issue citations and refer the issue to Animal Svcs
We will educate the person leaving the food out not to overfeed but to set out just enough food for that meal and take it back up when the cats are finished. These are best practices.

Q: If you can't release a cat where art was trapped, what's the maximum distance away that you will release it?
A:  id have to ask Rebecca what the distance is.  that we release cats from the trapping location
Q: Would you ask her?
If there is sequestered public prperty away from residnetial or from public activity
sometimes there are places away from residences and parks
it's rare
Q::How would there be a feeding source there?
They’re close enough to a caretaker.

Q: If TNR'd cats need minor medical treatment, do you provide it?
A: It depends on what you mean. If there are wounds of unknown origin, the  cat is euthanized because of the risk for rabies.
We will have to ask the Doctor about any other treatment they might receive.

Q: How long are cats kept after surgery?
A: Cats are trapped one day. We do surgery the next day.
Then they go home the day after surgery. 99.9% of cats are returned after one day.

Q: What about kittens under 6 weeks of age?
A: We encourage people to never separate a mother from its kittens and allow the mother to nurse till 12 weeks of age.
When we get motherless kittens, they go into foster to be bottle fed and foster parent either adopts or has found someone to adopt. We encourage you to take ownership of the outcome of the cat
A mother can be TNR’d and returned to the have to bottle feed the kittens in the interim.

Q: Do you log kittens into your system?
A: Absolutely the mother gets named and the kittens are named.

Q: Are unadoptable litters of kittens euthanized?
A: If there’s no other option.

Q: Do you ever keep friendly cats that come in through the TNR program and put them up for adoption?
A: Never.
Q: Even if there are cages available in the adoption room?
A: Even if there are cages available, the cats go back out and are never put up for adoption.
If the cat came from outside, it goes back outside.

Q: Tell us about the working cat program.
A: It was formed this year. Rebecca Sass-Crews is in charge of it.
This is for commercial places that want rodent control, barns, warehouses. We are unable to provide as many cats as are being requested for this, there’s been so much demand.
It has to be a unique cat and has to have no other possible outcome.
Two of these cats have been placed at the Ag Center.
Becky makes that decision.

Q:Do you take steps to transition them to this environment?
A: Yes.
They’re crated or kept in a small enclosed area for two weeks in the new environment and we give information on how to adapt the cats.

Q:Do you place kittens in barns?
Will you check on that please?

Q: How many have been placed in all?
A: Gary will let us know how many have been placed.

Q: Tell us about Team Shelter USA which provided the 2018 Progress Report on BCAS.
A: The Doctor from Target Zero (Dr. Sara Pizano) spun out on her own. We asked her to come back and look at what we’ve done.
Target Zero is no longer functional.


Q; How much did you pay to have this assessment performed"
A: We think it was 11 or 12 thousand dollars.
Q: Will you check that?
A: Yes.

Q: What is your relationship with Carroll County Humane?
A: We have a couple layers of relationships. They are pulling cats from us.
They are pulling adoptable cats like the SPCA does, etc.
Q: Do they ever take all of the cats in the adoptable room?
A: Sure.
Q: But then you won't have cats available for adoption?
A: Every day we release a new population into the adoptable room.
Q: What does Carroll County do with the cats they pull?
A: We don't know what they do with them.
Q: How many cats do they take?
A: Ballpark 20-25 a month.
Q: Can we get those stats?
A: Yes.

Q: What are the job responsibilities of animal Service officers now that the police have taken over cruelty investigations?
A: Nothing has changed...they are still doing welfare checks, bite issues, etc.

7) Announcement of Next Meeting Date and Time-The next Commission meeting will be held July 17 at 6:30 PM in the usual location on the third floor of the Drumcastle Bldg.
8) Adjourn

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