Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Statewide Solution

     O.K. Business first.
     Many thanks to the latest Baltimore County businesses who support the concepts expressed in this blog and are advertising on Save 90. The newest advertisers are: Larry Rosenberg of The Mark Building Company, 
Karen Weiner of Studio of Makeup, 
Barry Steinfelder of BJS Insurance, and 
Michael and Mitchell Parson of Parsonizing Fine Dry Cleaning. 
Here are Save 90's latest ads and don't forget…Support Our Sponsors! 
This is the growing list of Save 90 advertisers:                   
Chesapeake Contracting
Needles and Threads of Ruxton
Bare Necessities
Edie Brown Associates
The Mark Building Company
Studio of Makeup
BJS Insurance
Parsonizing Dry Cleaners

 Total money raised so far: $2070.00. All is going to area animal rescue organizations.
     Having Baltimore County businesses support these efforts is crucial. This sends our county government a message: The people at the heart of our county's economy want our shelter to emulate the great shelters that are its neighbors: the MD SPCA, the Baltimore Humane Society, and BARCS. 
     If you know a Baltimore County business that would like to place an "ad" on Save 90, please have them contact me at
    Nelson Mandela said, "It always seems impossible until it's done."
     Keep that in mind.
     This will get done.

Now on to today's post:
     I saw Ken Ulman (Democratic candidate for Lt. Gov.) recently and asked him for a comment on our state's animals. Here's what he had to say.

So, what might statewide support for Maryland animals look like? 
     It would be a challenge, because in Maryland, there is no cookie cutter animal shelter mold. Each county or jurisdiction has its own shelter. Some of these employ best practices and save most of the animals in their care. Some do not.
     So, whether a dog or cat gets out of a shelter alive is partly a matter of location. If it's lucky (a relative term!), it ends up in a shelter like BARCS in Baltimore City. BARCS has a foster program, extensive relationships with area rescue groups, and a large and active volunteer force. As a result, BARCS saves almost 80% of the 12 thousand animals that come through its doors each year. 
     Animals in many other Maryland shelters aren't so fortunate. For example, in Baltimore County, euthanasia rates are 50%. So, only half of the approximately 5000 animals there each year survive. 
     Imagine a statewide solution…legislation that would standardize the practices at Maryland shelters, requiring them to do what shelters like BARCS, the MD SPCA, and the Baltimore Humane Society do: place the highest priority on saving as many lives as possible. That means creating extensive relationships with rescue organizations, having a thriving foster program, as well as a large and active volunteer force. 
     Creating statewide standards is the goal behind "CAPA 4 Maryland". CAPA stands for "Companion Animal Protection Act." The state of Delaware passed a CAPA law in 2010. The state of California has something similar known as the Hayden Law. The group, 
"CAPA 4 Maryland" wants this kind of legislation in our state.  
     Tammy Zaluzney of CAPA for MD says, "CAPA basically mandates all the things good shelters do."
     Among other things, here's what she says CAPA would do:
1) Make euthanasia the last resort, requiring shelters to make lifesaving their primary goal.
2) Standardize public safety efforts as well as the relationship between shelters and animal rescue organizations. 
3) Provide transparency for taxpayers who are footing the shelter's bill.
     Zaluzney says her group is working on language for CAPA legislation to be introduced in the next session of the Maryland General Assembly, and is talking with potential sponsors of the legislation.
     But don't expect smooth sailing. One possible roadblock to this kind of law is that Maryland is what's known as a home rule state. That means cities, municipalities, and/or counties have the ability to pass laws to govern themselves as they see fit as long as they obey state and federal constitutions. Some counties will no doubt balk at statewide sheltering requirements.
     Will Baltimore County be one of them? I contacted the Baltimore County Health Dept. to ask. A spokesman declined to comment. 
     Since the legislation is not yet written, it's difficult to know if CAPA 4 Maryland is the right way to go. But on the face of it, the idea of standardized practices seems to make sense for animals as well as humans. Think of the Ebola epidemic. We would all hope that every state in our nation is on the same page there. 

     We'll be watching this issue as the MD General Assembly convenes in January of 2015. And no matter the outcome of next week's MD gubernatorial election, I surely hope our next governor is concerned about the animals in our state's shelters. If statewide rules make sense, I hope he supports them.


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