Thursday, January 1, 2015

This Is What We've Been Waiting For!

     As I'm writing this post, I have a cameraman from WJZ over my left shoulder. Unusual company, to be sure. Channel 13 came to my home to do a story on Save 90. 
     Many of you have seen the story, but in case you haven't, and would like to watch, here's the link.
New Save 90 ads:
     Before we talk about this post's subject matter, I want to thank my newest Baltimore County advertisers: 
The Little Shoebox, 
Window Consultants, Inc., and 
Matava Shoes. 
     Their ads will appear below the text of this post along with a thank you video from the latest animal rescue group to get a check from Save 90, as well as a new tally of money raised so far.

Now the news...And there's lots of it.
First the good news. And it's really good.
     Efforts to bring change to the Baltimore County Animal Shelter have moved onto a new stage. They came front and center at the meeting of the Baltimore County Council
     Newly re-elected 2nd District Councilwoman Vicki Almond has been a very strong supporter of change for the 
Baltimore County Animal Shelter. She spent a great deal of time and effort crafting a bill to be introduced at the first meeting of the newly (re) elected County Council. The legislation, if approved, will establish a Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission.
     The Commission will consist of 11 members; each of the seven Baltimore County Council members will appoint one member to the Commission. The other four will be appointed by 
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. Of the four members appointed by Kamenetz, one must be a licensed veterinarian, one must be a representative from an animal welfare organization, one must be a person who operates an animal shelter, and the fourth must be an at-large member from the public.
     Councilwoman Almond sees this Advisory Commission as just a first step toward major change. 
     Watch this video to hear what Councilwoman Almond has to say about this bill.

     I'll write more about public/private partnerships in the weeks ahead. At BARCS, it means Baltimore City has a partnership with the shelter and provides some of its operating budget (that's the public part). But BARCS is a 501 c3 (that's the private part) and is responsible for raising the rest of  the money it needs to operate. 
     At the time I interviewed, Councilwoman Almond before the bill was introduced, five of her 6 fellow Council members had signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. By the time she introduced the bill at the County Council meeting, all 6 of her fellow Council members were on board. This measure will be veto-proof.  
     The next step for the legislation is discussion at a Council work session on January 27th at 2 PM. 
     The County Council will hold a final vote on the bill at the Feb. 2nd County Council meeting at 6pm. 
     This truly is a first step toward change. It's huge. Now we must keep this moving forward. Please go online, find out the name of your County Council representative.  Call his or her office to express support for this bill and/or write an email.
     If council members don't hear from their constituents, they'll conclude that people don't care about this issue. You're reading this blog. Clearly you do care. Let them know it. 

Legal News:
     Three Baltimore County citizens have filed suit against Baltimore County over the Baltimore County Animal Shelter. The suit is a mandamus action, meaning it is asking the court to order Baltimore County to do things it is obliged by county law to do at the shelter but is currently failing to do. For example, it alleges the shelter routinely fails to walk or exercise dogs, fails to provide for the adequate socialization of cats, and fails to provide environmental enrichment for the animals.
     The suit, which is not seeking financial damages, has been filed on a pro bono basis by a large Washington, D.C. law firm called Covington and Burling. 
     I spoke with two of the attorneys involved, Kamila Lis and Bryant Lee. They told me the suit includes a number of witnesses who have come forward with statements about what they've seen and experienced at the shelter. 
     Said Lis, "Our facts are strong and our case is strong. Otherwise we wouldn't have brought the case." 
     Don Mohler, Chief of Staff for County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, was quoted in a Baltimore Sun newspaper article on Saturday, saying the lawsuit is "absolutely absurd." The county refused additional comment today.
More legal news:
     You may have read about the recent animal fighting ring bust in Baltimore City. Many dogs were taken in that bust, and six of them are at the Baltimore County Animal Shelter. Because of the pending legal case, they've been placed in something called, "Administrative Hold." That means they may be at the shelter for quite a long period of time while the dog fighting case makes its way through the legal system. 
     According to Baltimore County Health Dept. spokeswoman, Amanda Knittle, "All animals held in custody are cared for by our ....professional animal care staff and veterinarians. Adoptability decisions will have to wait until their status is resolved."
     Here's the problem. There's a good chance those animals will be caged for weeks and possibly months while prosecutors work on this case. Being caged for that length of time is obviously not an ideal situation at all. Save 90 hopes Baltimore County will seek out rescues willing to take these dogs and keep them in foster care while the case is resolved. 
Now a story of volunteerism and of diamonds in the rough:
     If you've ever been amazed by before and after pictures in beauty magazines, you know what a little sprucing up can do. But those pictures don't begin to compare with the transformations that can take place in an animal shelter.
     Many shelters don't have the money to have a full-time or even part-time professional groomer on staff. That's where volunteers come in...people like Animal Groomer Chris Goldsmith who volunteers her time at Anne Arundel County Animal Control. 
     Animals often arrive in shelters dirty and matted. They don't exactly put their best paw forward to potential adopters. Chris helps peel away this outer layer to show the beauty of the animals that lies beneath. Take a look.

     Robin S. Catlett, Administrator of Anne Arundel County 
Animal Control says, "Our shelter staff, volunteers and the animals greatly appreciate Chris donating her time and services to helping the animals in need.  She has had a positive impact on countless animals since she began volunteering with our shelter."
     I often criticize the Baltimore County Animal Shelter, but here I have to give them great credit. One of the shelter's staff members has duties that include grooming. 
      For those shelters that don't have groomers on staff, volunteers like Chris Goldsmith make all the difference. 
     Now, for the latest Save 90 ads:
Thank you to The Little Shoebox, Window Consultants, Inc. and Matava Shoes:

Because of money raised through its advertisements, Save 90 has written its 5th check for $750 to an area animal rescue group...this one to Bella's Bully Buddies:
Here's the growing list of Save 90's advertisers...I hope you'll support them:
Chesapeake Contracting
Needles and Threads of Ruxton
Bare Necessities
Edie Brown Associates
The Mark Building Company
Studio of Makeup
BJS Insurance
Parsonizing Dry Cleaners
Graul's Market
Zibazz Hair Studio
Linens and Lingerie
Betsy Robinson's Bridal Collection
Nationwide Nissan
The Jewelry Lady
The Big Screen Store and The Sofa Store
Barre at the Quarry
The Lichter Group
The Little Shoebox
Window Consultants, Inc.
Matava Shoes

Because of Save 90's advertisers, Save 90 has now raised $4100 for area animal rescue groups.
Thank you.
If you or someone you know owns a Baltimore County business and would like to advertise on Save 90, please have them contact me at



  1. Wonderful news on every front, especially the pending legislation! Kudos to all of the activists who have stayed strong and persevered in the effort to bring about change at the shelter including this Blog.

    I would like to add that I think it goes a long way for constituents to thank their representatives for sponsoring or co-sponsoring a bill, so let them know that you support the bill, but also thank them for their support.


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