New Save 90 Ads:
Before we dive in to this post, I want to thank Save 90's latest Baltimore County advertisers:
Four Corners Travel and
Charles Levine Caterers
Their ads will appear below the text of this post along with the latest tally of money raised through ads so far.
If you know a Baltimore County business owner who would like to buy an "ad" on Save 90, please have them email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Big News. Success!
We've finally taken the first step toward change at the
Baltimore County Animal Shelter.
The Baltimore County Council last night
(Monday, Feb. 2, 2014) passed Bill 2-15.
Councilwoman Vicki Almond drafted the legislation and all 6 of her fellow Council members signed on as co-sponsors. The bill will create an Animal Services Advisory Commission to look into the
Baltimore County Animal Shelter and make recommendations.
Each Council member will appoint one member to the Commission. Four more will be appointed by
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
There was some concern expressed by animal advocates over an amendment to the bill. It will require Commission members to give a 4- hour notice in order to visit non-public areas of the shelter.
According to Steve Heinl, Councilwoman Vicki Almond's legislative aide, this was done as a compromise after the County Administration requested a 48-hour notice.
Heinl says the 4 hour compromise seemed reasonable..."that Council members agreed that it is the duty of the Commission to observe and make recommendations, not be inspectors who implement penalties or fines on the shelter."
While I believe there should be complete transparency, and I don't understand why there isn't, I'm not overly worried about the four hour notice requirement. I feel that the issues the Commission should be most concerned with deal with the big picture of shelter philosophy and practices. I don't believe the four hour advance notice requirement will diminish what the Commission can accomplish.
I spoke at the Council meeting to thank the Council for taking this action. And afterward I interviewed 4 County Council members about why they wanted to create the Commission and what they hope it will accomplish. Here's what they had to say.
More news-Ravens player Terrence Cody indicted
Baltimore Ravens nose tackle Terrence Cody has been indicted for animal abuse of his dog and an alligator. Cody, who was released by the Ravens just before the indictment was announced, turned himself in and posted $10,000 bail.
An investigation started after Cody took his dog (a bull mastiff) to a veterinarian for treatment and the dog later died.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Cody is facing a total of 15 criminal charges including two felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty.
Now, let's talk about enrichment.
When you hear the word, "enrich," you think of making something better. That's exactly what it means for shelter animals.
Enrichment in a shelter setting is about supplying dogs and cats with mental stimulation, social interaction and exercise to help alleviate some of the stress of the shelter environment.
Enrichment improves animals' mental health and keeps them calmer and happier. This naturally makes them more adoptable.
Anyone who's ever been in a shelter can imagine how stressful it is for animals. Shelter pets find themselves in a place where nothing and no one is familiar. They're confined, behind bars, with lots of loud barking and other unfamiliar noises.
Without enrichment, animals that stay for any length of time face a real danger of deterioration in physical and mental health. They may exhibit all kinds of negative behaviors.
According to the SPCA of Texas, dogs might "spin in circles, jump, bark frequently and hysterically, chew on kennel bars or on their own bodies. Cats may over-groom, over- or under-eat, sleep around the clock, sleep in their litter boxes, hide under bedding or resist leaving their cubby hole. In serious cases, both cats and dogs may become aggressive, making them unsuitable for adoption. In addition, stressed animals are more likely to get sick."
Thats why enrichment is so important.
Here's a look at some of the enrichment activities happening at the Baltimore Humane Society, the MD SPCA, and BARCS in Baltimore City.
There was a time, not too long ago, when enrichment was completely off the radar for the Baltimore County Animal Shelter (BCAS). There have been improvements.
For one thing, when I visited recently I saw containers of treats outside some of the dogs' cages, so that people walking by could give treats to the dogs.
Acting Chief of Animal Services Laura Culbertson says all dogs are walked each day by staff members and all dogs get a toy each night.
Cats also get some enrichment. One of the volunteers brought in scratch posts to attach to the cat cages.
As for the dogs, this past summer, Culbertson arranged for the county to renovate a small cottage on the shelter property so it could be used for socialization time. There's a small outdoor fenced area there and a couple of rooms inside.Culbertson says some dogs are deemed eligible for socialization and approximately 10 volunteers at the shelter are allowed to walk them and take them to the cottage.
Here's a look at one of the volunteers, Paul Johnson, and the time he recently spent at BCAS with a dog named Levi.
I applaud Laura Culbertson for making efforts to create enrichment opportunities at BCAS. Things at the shelter have improved under her leadership.
Unfortunately it appears changes at the shelter are implemented in a piecemeal fashion when what is needed is a large-scale change in philosophy and practice.
The shelter needs a bigger volunteer force with broad responsibilities like BARCS (400 volunteers) and the MD SPCA (800 volunteers). BCAS has only about 20 volunteers with volunteer hours limited to 3-5 P.M. weekdays (not convenient for those who work 9-5) and 11 A.M.-1 P.M. on weekends.
With such small windows of time available, one has to wonder how many of the dogs get quality socialization time.
In addition, one volunteer recently went to BCAS and found only 3 dogs with the required slip for socialization.
Culbertson says things will be better when the new 6 million dollar shelter building is completed later this year. A new building will bring great improvements to the facility. But without broad changes (a bigger volunteer force, more coordination with rescues and a strong foster program), it will simply become a much nicer place for 2500 animals a year to die.
Now let's talk ads.
Here are the latest Save 90 ads from Andy Hoffman at
Gourmet Again, Barbara Rock at Four Corners Travel, and
Charles Levine of Charles Levine Caterers.
Here's the growing list of Save 90 advertisers. I hope you'll support them.
Needles and Threads of Ruxton
Edie Brown Associates
The Mark Building Company
Studio of Makeup
Parsonizing Dry Cleaners
Zibazz Hair Studio
Linens and Lingerie
Betsy Robinson's Bridal Collection
The Jewelry Lady
The Big Screen Store and The Sofa Store
Barre at the Quarry
The Lichter Group
The Little Shoebox
Window Consultants, Inc.
Gourmet AgainFour Corners Travel
Charles Levine Caterers
So far Save 90 has raised $4860!
The following rescues have each received a $750 check from Save 90:
Animal Allies Rescue Foundation
Adopt A Homeless Animal
Feline Rescue Association
Bella's Bully Buddies
Save 90 will be ready to write its next check very soon!