Wednesday, July 21, 2021

July 20, 2021 Meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission

 Hi, everyone,

Here a wrap-up of our July meeting. We covered a lot.

                                                       JULY 2021 AGENDA

1. Call to Order

2. Roll Call (Determination of a quorum)-Commission members in attendance were Deborah Stone Hess, Bob Swensen, Chris Shaughness, Sarah Hardy, Rene Varela, Louis Eguzo, Steve Malan, Roy Plummer, and Maryanne Martin Bailey.  Also attending was Chief of Animal services Dr. Sandra Andrulis.

3. Approval of June 2021 minutes-Here are the minutes as approved:



June 15, 2021

The fifty-seventh regular meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission was held on Tuesday, June 15, 2021 via GoogleMeet.

Members in attendance were: Deborah Stone Hess, Chris Shaughness, Sarah Hardy, Bob Swensen, Louis Eguzo, Rene Varela, Roy Plummer and Maryanne Bailey.

Other attendees: Dr. Andrulis.

This meeting was called to order at 6:31 p.m. by the Chair Deborah Stone Hess.


May minutes were approved.

Old Business:

The volunteer training videos are complete. 

Steve Malan followed up by speaking with reps of the Friends of Baltimore County Cats and friends of Baltimore County Dogs. 

New Business:

Deborah shared that Joy Freedman has passed away. Joy was an original member of the Commission and contributed greatly to its work. Sbe will be missed terribly by all who k new her. 

Dr. Andrulis update:

The Volunteer Coordinator has resigned. 

The shelter has completely reopened to the public. 

It is asked that visitors/staff wear masks if they are not vaccinated. 

Surrenders are still appointment only and this seems to be working well. In emergencies, if someone needs to surrender immediately, arrangements are made. 

 Kitten season is here. Kittens  are adopted quickly. 

Review of May BAWA stats. Deborah and the shelter were using different methods to compute stats.

July’s meeting will be the 5th anniversary since the beginning of the Commission. It will be time for election of Chair.

It’s time to work on the Annual Report. Goal is to have it ready in September. Chris, Bob and Rene volunteered to help with the report.

Chris asked about the status of possible TNR legislation.   Deborah said she had reached out to Sam O’Neill in Johnny O’s office to get a status update on that. 

Dr. Andrulis has a meeting about this issue tomorrow. 

Sarah asked if there was a better way to administer medications to dogs as meds the dogs did not swallow have been found in the kennels. She also asked if there is another option besides padlocks (safety concern) for the kennels. Asked for an update on the issue of hot water coming out of cold water spigots at the shelter.  Dr. Andrulis said that this should have been fixed last week and asked Sarah to text her if she is at the shelter and finds that it is not fixed.

Next meeting scheduled virtually for July 20, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.

Adjournment at 7:01 p.m.

4. Old Business

a) TNR law-Chris Shaughness, Steve Malan and Deborah Stone Hess met virtually a number of months ago with county reps to discuss this. We received an email this week that indicates this effort is moving forward. Very positive sign.

b) Commission Annual Report-Chris Shaughness, Rene Varela, and Bob Swensen and I will be working on the annual report. We have divvied up subject matter as follows… 

Deb-Introduction (This will include an update on pandemic-related issues and how things are getting somewhat back to normal, the growing cooperation between BCAS and the Commission and the overall perception that things are going well) 

Deb-Statistics including quarterly stats and annual totals

 Chris-Programs that have grown or changed over the last year including the Cat Alternative Placement Program, services to the public like the rabies clinics, spay/neuter clinics, appointment only surrenders and the need for other programs to help the public after they adopt including behavior training, need for more social media and other media outreach

Bob-Big seizures over the last year including the one where they brought in all the snakes and small animals and the recent one where they brought in 48 dogs and had a distemper outbreak as a result

Rene-Volunteer Program including how it’s going, how many volunteers are regularly volunteering, general feeling of volunteers about their relationship with BCAS and efforts that are being made to grow the volunteer program, as well as the series of volunteer training videos Deb made that can now make the training process more uniform

 Deb-TNR and the continuing effort to create a tNR law


5. New Business

a) Dr. Andrulis-Seizure Update 

Here is a summary of Dr. Andrulis's remarks:

A lot has occurred over last three weeks. There was a large scale seizure of 48 dogs from a local rescue due to a tip from an adopter who said the conditions were deplorable there. Over half of the dogs there were sick and not receiving veterinary care and one had to be euthanized on site.

Immediate diagnoses for many was kennel cough and upper respiratory infection. Then testing revealed the presence of distemper which is a dangerous viral disease with no known cure and it is very contagious. 

The animals were immediately placed in quarantine. 

BCAS initiated testing of every dog. Many of the dogs were puppies and they all began getting sick. 20% died despite treatment. 

Dr. Andrulis was in constant with a doctor who is a professor at University of Florida and is an expert in make sure that BCAS was doing everything possible. 

They did testing to determine which dogs showed antibodies to distemper which would indicate they had been vaccinated. 

Those showing antibodies were deemed less likely to get infected and were kept together.

Two dogs showed no antibodies at all and two days after arrival at BCAS they were vaccinated. Still one had a fever today. 

Distemper symptoms can be upper respiratory, gastrointestional problems including diarrhea, then it progresses to neurologic signs and they have seizures

In two days or so she’ll receive a second batch of test results that will tell which dogs have no virus in their systems and some will be eligible to be adopted.

To cope with a shortage of space, strays are being kept at the satellite location in Dundalk which used to be a satellite spay/neuter location. 

Volunteers have been going there to walk the dogs which is so important because the facility was never intended to be used as a shelter and doesn't have runs. The animals are being kept in cages there. 

At BCAS cat adoptions are continuing and the cat population is doing well. 

Sadly two other shelters pulled animals from BCAS before the discovery of the presence of distemper, and one of them (Bmore Humane) has now discovered a dog that it pulled from BCAS has the illness and now Bmore Humane has had to implement quarantine procedures. 

BCAS is currently not accepting surrenders unless it is an emergency as capacity is so limited.

Dr. Andrulis expressed confidence that most of the dogs will pull through.

A major challenge is that dogs with distemper can shed the virus for many weeks post recovery.

One good thing that’s ocme out of this is that the county has seen the need to fill open positions in Animal Services. Two permanent positions were recently filled. There are three temporary positions open, a vet tech position, and the position of Volunteer Coordinator.

b) Person to post strays on FB-Diane Metlin, who for many years has run the Lost and Found Pets in Baltimore County and City is going to be leaving the area in the relatively near future. She reached out and said she would like to see Baltimore County Animal Servicves post their strays on FB and someone has come forward and offered to do this.

c) Election of Chair-Deborah Stone Hess was reelected as Chair.

6. August Hiatus-As we do every year, we will not have a Commission meeting in August because many people are on vacation.

7. September meeting in person? We previously decided to begin meeting in person again in September but with the Delay variant that is still up in the air.

8. Any Other Business? Steve Malan discussed the recent decision in Delaware to turn over all companion animal issues to each of the three counties rather than keep this under the state Dept. of Agriculture jurisdiction.

Steve said many states are watching to see how this goes because he says many Agoicultural Depts don't have the resources to address companion animal issues.

Rene Varela said this can work well in jurisdictions that have the money and resources to handle these duties but that some counties will not be able to afford it. 

9. Visitor Input? Two visitors attended the meeting. One was Jen Lavin Pruitt who praised BCAS efforts to cope with the difficulties of the last few weeks and to keep volunteers informed of what's going on. 

10. Next Meeting Date and Time-The next Commission meeting will be held on September 21, 2021. It remains to be determined whether the meeting will be held virtually. 

11. Adjournment

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