Thursday, September 23, 2021

September 21, 2021 Meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission

 Hi! Here's a recap of all we covered in our September meeting.


1. Call to Order

2. Roll Call (Determination of a quorum)  Members in attendance were Roy Plummer, Sarah Hardy, Bob Swensen, Deborah Stone Hess, Rene Varela, and Chris Shaughness  Also attending was Deputy Chief of Animal Services Jonny Akchin

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



July 20, 2021

The fifty-eighth regular meeting of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission was held on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 via GoogleMeet.

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

Other attendees: Dr. Andrulis, volunteer Jennifer Lavin Pruitt, and Anne George.

This meeting was called to order at 6:32 p.m. by the Chair Deborah Stone Hess.


June minutes were approved.

Old Business:

TNR Law – An email was received this week that the effort is moving forward. 

Annual Report – Committee is working on the annual report. The subjects will be sent to the commission members for their input.  

Deb will write the introduction, a section on on shelter statistics, a section on TNR law, and the conclusion.,

Chris Shaughness will write about programs that have grown or changed over the last year, services to the public and the need for other programs to help the public after they adopt.  

Bob Swensen will write a portion on large seizures over the last year. 

Rene Varela will write a portion on the Volunteer Program.  

New Business:

Dr. Andrulis update:

She discussed the recent large scale seizure of 48 dogs, including 3 litters of puppies, from a rescue organization. Their conditions were deplorable. Multiple dogs were sick, the air conditioning was broken, and there was overcrowding. Within a week of this seizure, dogs were showing signs of distemper which triggered a quarantine. Fluids and antibiotics were given, but twenty percent were initially lost. At this point, the population is stable and all adults appear to be recovering. There were two dogs tested for antibodies that did not have any and are getting sick. Testing will occur again to see which dogs do not have distemper, and their titers are zero. Trying to isolate those that are sick.  

Strays are being held at the Dundalk satellite site and redemptions are taking place there as well. 

Animals are in crates or cages as there are no runs. These dogs have to be walked several times a day and volunteers have been coming to walk dogs. Cat adoptions are open and they are doing well. 

Great confidence that most of the dogs will pull through. One is not in good condition, but was emaciated to begin with.

One dog pulled by Baltimore Humane Society has also tested positive for distemper and Bmore Humane is also quarantined as a result.

The shelter on Manor Rd. is not taking surrenders at this time and the capacity at the Dundalk satellite location is too small to take surrenders.  

Many dogs that come into the shelter have never had any vaccinations which makes them susceptible to illnesses like distemper. The quarantine will continue until the quantitative PCR test comes back zero, which could take six to eight weeks. Baltimore County has been helpful, delivering additional equipment, as needed. 

Baltimore County is publishing the openings at the shelter. There were two permanent positions that have been filled. There are three temporary positions, a vet tech position and a volunteer coordinator position that need to be filled.  

Donna Metlin who has been posting photos of strays at various shelters on her Facebook page will be leaving the area soon. There are volunteers wanting to take over this responsibility. Waiting to hear further. 

The Chair position is up for nomination. This is the sixth year for the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission. Roy Plummer nominated Deb Stone for this position and the motion passed unanimously.

In August, the BCASAC does not meet and will resume meeting in September. Meetings were supposed to return to in person meetings at Drumcastle Government Center, but not sure with the Delta variant of COVID-19. Deb will contact everyone if this changes. 

Steve Malan mentioned that the State of Delaware has transferred all companion animal issues from the Department of Agriculture to the three counties of Delaware. This is a pilot program that may give other states an initiative. The Delaware Department of Agriculture will now only be in charge of issues involving food/farm animals.  

Dr. Andrulis mentioned that the Baltimore County Animal Shelter is in need of facilities to house the food/farm animals that they receive.  

Next meeting scheduled for September 21, 2021, at 6:30 p.m. 

Adjournment at 7:08 p.m.

4. Old Business

a. Commission Annual Report-Our annual report is almost complete. Chris Shaughness, Rene and Deborah have been working on it. We are waiting for a few bits of additional information we want to include, especially shelter stats from the 3rd quarter of the year which should be available in early October. The hope is to vote on acceptance of the report at the COmmission's October meeting.

b. Video on Introducing a Second Cat-Deborah has completed another video for the shelter...this one about how to introduce e a second cat to your home.

5. New Business

a. Staff departures-Both Dave Ledford (Assistant Shelter Supervisor) and Anna Battle (Rescue and Foster Coordinator) recently resigned. Both were well-liked and well respected and it's a shame that BCAS must now find people to fill these posts. 

b. New Volunteer Coordinator-BCAS has hired a new Volunteer Coordinator named Lindsay Jacks who Deborah met last week and was very impressed. She is enthusiastic, warm and friendly, and comes with a great resume...

 She has called Baltimore home for 15 years, moving here to be the Volunteer Coordinator at Center Stage. She has a degree from Towson in Animal Behavior and spent years being a bird keeper at Baltimore-DC zoos and aquariums. Her personal time is spent running a nonprofit called Lights Out Baltimore, which rescues injured migratory birds and bats that collide with glass buildings then transports them to Phoenix Wildlife Center for rehabilitation.

She is also  a mom to many special needs pets, a MAS rescue pup, two cats, 10 birds and a tarantula. She also volunteers at Phoenix Wildlife Center, and at Center Stage.

The Commission is very excited to have a new Volunteer Coordinator in place and can't wait to see all the great things she accomplishes with the volunteer program.

c. Working Cat Program-BCAS has been using 16 of its cat caves in the adoptable room for working cats. The plan is to reduce that number to 8. They’d like to grow their capacity and may decide to utilize the Dundalk location for that, but right now they want to get as many adoptable cats in front of the public as possible.

d. TNR law-The County is finishing up work on its proposed TNR law.

e. Puppy Stores-Maryland's ban on the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores has been upheld in court. just Puppies tried to have the courts knock down the ban but was unsuccessful. Awesome. 

6. Cage Locks-Sarah hardy expressed concern about the locks on dog kennels at BCAS in the event of fire. Deborah did some research on what other shelters in our area do and plans to include this issue in the Commission's upcoming annual report. Here's what several shelters in our area do:

BARCS does not lock cages because of concern about accessibility in case of fire. They have slide locks. Some dogs bounce against the cage door so much they can push these open so in these cases, they use a carabiner. 

Md SPCA also uses carabiners on its dog enclosures.

Baltimore Humane Society does not lock the cages at night. There is a combination lock at the main entrance to the kennel area and everyone knows the combination. 

7. Any Other Business?

8. Visitor Input? Anne George attended the meeting. She said she's found it difficult to find out how to observe our meetings. Antyone who wants to attend our virtual meetings is welcome to do so. All they have to do is reach out to Deborah at or message her on Facebook and she will send a link. 

Anne said that she sat in on animal hearing board and was impressed by the questions they asked and the suggestions they gave to people involved in cases there.

She’s interested in interfacing the community with the shelter and hopes that can facilitate more education on animal care and behavior issues.

She asked if there is a policy and procedures manual at BCAS. Jonny answered that there are internal documents, all of which are available through Public Information Act request.

9. Next Meeting Date and Time-Our next meeting will be held on October 19, 2021 at 6:30 PM.

10. Adjournment

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