Friday, November 20, 2020

November 2020 Meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission

 Hi, All,

     Here's a complete rundown of the November 2020 meeting of the Commission.

1) Call to order

2) Roll Call and certification of a quorum-In attendance were Deborah Stone Hess, Roy Plummer, Janice Vincent, Chris Shaughness, Steve Malan, and Bob Swensen.

3) Approval of October 2020 Minutes-Here are the October 2020 minutes as approved:



October 20, 2020

The forty-ninth regular meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission was held on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 via Zoom.

Members in attendance were: Deborah Stone Hess, Maryanne Bailey, Roy Plummer, Louis Eguzo, Ann Gearhart, Chris Shaughness and Bob Swensen.

This meeting was called to order at 6:34 p.m. by the Chair Deborah Stone Hess.


September minutes were approved.

New Business: 

New member – Chris Shaughness. She's an Administrative Commission appointment. Chris has an extensive background in working with animals.

She spent 25 years in the corporate world, then when her dog developed arthritis, she looked into holistic treatments and became certified as a pet massage therapist, then became certified as an animal behaviorist and trainer. She quit the corporate world and wrote a book about how to work with puppy mill survivors. She worked as Marketing Dir. of two shelters in Pennsylvania.

For the past four years she was Exec Dir of a fundraising group for Montgomery County's shelter. She has now left that job and is opening a senior dog sanctuary.

Other new member is a teacher who has class tonight and will hopefully be able to be present at the November meeting.

Deputy Animal Services Chief Jonny Akchin was in attendance and was asked to speak about the cultural change taking place at BCAS. He spoke about increased openness and transparency and efforts to improve relationships including those between staff and volunteers. 

BCAS has a new Assistant– volunteer coordinator/foster & rescue, Tim Greenfield.

3rd Q stats: increase in live release rates from last year.

BCAS does not have the resources to provide medical treatment for all cats that go through the TNR program. Deborah spoke with Dr. Andrulis about this…hoping to find ways to be able to treat more of these cats. 

Info from Dr. Andrulis:

BCAS is still doing everything by appointment and is doing more virtual meet and greets.

The website is being updated…still not working properly.

Dr. Andrulis recently learned that BCAS has a Petfinder account that had not been used in a long time so BCAS is going to begin using it. 

BCAS has a partnership with Petsmart in Towson and it has been going well.

Dr. Andrulis has put in a request to have a tv mounted in the lobby so she can put all the videos on there so adopters can watch them.

 Becky is doing a great job with the working cat program. 

Deborah made cat two-week shutdown video. Next video is how to introduce new pets to current pets.

Deborah to work on outline for Commission Annual Report.

Ann asked for contact information for members. Send to Deborah and she’ll distribute.

Next meeting scheduled for November 17, 2020 via Zoom.

Adjournment at 7:00 p.m.

4) New Business

a) Introduction of new Commission member Steve Malan-We're happy to announce the latest Commission appointment. Steve Malan is an Administrative appointment. Steve has an extensive background and brings unique expertise to the Commission in animal issues. We unfortunately had some Zoom connection issues and weren't able to have Steve introduce himself and tell us about himself, so he agreed to write down an introduction, and I'm sharing it here:

"Thanks for the opportunity to serve on the Animal Services Advisory Commission.  I must confess that most of my experience involves livestock and poultry issues, although I am a lifetime dog owner.  A 13 year old Rat Terrier (Putter) currently owns me and my wife, Jan.  I’m currently an adjunct biology professor at Stevenson University since 2017.

My background in animal issues is a result of my previous 36- year career as a biologist for the Maryland Department of Agriculture in Annapolis, MD.  In 1981, the State of Maryland began to respond to disasters by activation of all State Agencies who had newly defined response duties.  As an agriculture spokesman, I was responsible for all aspects of livestock and poultry emergency response and recovery.  It became apparent that there was no guidance on companion pet sheltering and no agency was responsible for the planning and logistics of caring for companion animals.  So I forced a reluctant Secretary of Agriculture to assign these duties to the State Veterinarian’s Office within the agency.

The driving impetus for me to develop a pet sheltering plan involved the repatriation of several hundred federal employees that were being forced from Pakistan for political reasons.  As the US citizens embarked, it was quickly realized that the small USDA animal holding facility at BWI airport was inadequate to temporarily house their evacuated pets.  I visited all kennels and vet clinics within a 20 mile radius and obtained a profile of available pet spaces for temporary boarding.  This data gathering was then completed for all 23 MD counties.  Veterinarians and kennel managers provided number of cats and dogs they could house in emergency declarations.  This plan is still in effect 40 years later.

Most of my companion animal opinions were molded by these events and the close relationships I maintain with the State Veterniarian’s Office.   I have been part of dozens of pet/owner reunions.   However, my view on dog breed-specific legislation and other biting issues are probably at odds with the rest of the commission."

b) BAWA numbers for October-Live release for dogs is over 93% and live release for cats is over 91%.Excellent!

c. Resolution of Cruelty case-  the Bird River cruelty case has finally come to a conclusion. The owners reached a plea agreement with the State and the animals have been forfeited to BCAS for adoption, foster and rescue. BCAS took animals in two rounds from this case. A lot of animals brought in on the first round were able to be adopted out because the owners improperly filed their Replevin. The second time they got it right and BCAS was holding between 30 and 40 animals from this. The plea deal requires the owners to give up ownership to the animals. They will serve 50 days in prison then they will be own probation.  Many fosters have been caring for some of these animals in their homes, Some will want to adopt, others may wish to continue fostering until suitable  homes are found.

d. c) Other News from BCAS-The Working Cat Program is going really well. Here's some background:  BCAS began its Working Cat program in July of 2017 and placed 5 cats that year. The program has continually grown and so far in 2020 BCAS has placed 201 “working” cats  at farm properties, stores, a garage, even a distillery. Some just need behavior modification efforts to help them become more social and often turn into loving household cats.BCAS wants to grow this program and create a free-roaming space and possibly even an enclosed outdoor space so the cats can be more comfortable while they wait for placement. 

e. Volunteer Orientations-  four upcoming virtual new Volunteer Orientations scheduled. Lissette sent out over 60 invites and so far 21 people have signed up. 

f) BCAS Videos-Getting ready to shoot a video with BCAS on how to introduce a newly adopted dog to a current dog already in the home

5) Commission Annual Report-Deborah has been working on this with  Chris Shaughness and hopes to have it finished in a few weeks.

6) Next meeting date-We will be meeting on Dec. 15, 20230 at 6:30 via Zoom.

7) Adjournment

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