Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Let's Get The Commission Rolling

     We have a lot to talk about. But before we start, I want to tell you about some changes in the works for Save 90. 
     Until now, all of this blog's "advertisers" have been businesses in Baltimore County. The reason was to let our government know that the people who keep our local economy rolling really care about the animals in the Baltimore County Animal Shelter to encourage county officials to begin to make changes at BCAS.
     But the landscape has changed in the past few months. County officials have begun to embrace many of the ideas put forward by animal advocates and this blog. The county gets it. As a result, Save 90 no longer needs to limit endorsements to businesses in Baltimore County. So, if you know people who own businesses anywhere in our area who would like to support the rescues and organizations to which we donate, please have them contact me.
    New "ads" this week are from Steve Caplan, Esq., a family law attorney in Towson and Anne George, a dog trainer with
Bark Busters Home Dog Training in Baltimore. I want to thank them for their support.
     Their ads will appear below the text of this post along with my list of all advertisers, funds raised so far, and a thank you from the latest recipient of a Save 90 check, the Baltimore Humane Society.

     Now let's get down to business. We need to get the Commission rolling.

     It's been over two months since the Baltimore County Council approved Bill 2-15, creating an 
Animal Services Advisory Commission. 
     The Commission is tasked with looking into the 
Baltimore County Animal Shelter and making recommendations. 
     Each of the seven County Council members must appoint one member to the Commission from his/her district. The 
County Executive will appoint four members.
     Several weeks ago, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz told me he had chosen his four members and was waiting for members of the County Council to appoint theirs.
     But as of now, only three Council members have named their appointees to the Commission:
District 5 Councilman David Marks has appointed 
Animal Behaviorist and Trainer Joy Freedman. 
District 2 Councilwoman Vicki Almond has appointed me.
The most recent appointment comes from District 3 Councilman Wade Kach who announced last week he is appointing Veterinarian Dr. Jean Townsend.
     Says Dr. Townsend, "I want to say that I am pleased to be named to the Commission.  I feel my training as a veterinarian will be put to good use in this capacity as will my lifelong interest in cats. My goal is to increase adoption of cats especially and to be an advocate for trap-neuter-return."  
     There's no doubt Trap Neuter Return (TNR) for free-roaming cats will be one of the issues before the Commission. As you might know, Baltimore County recently announced that it will conduct a pilot TNR program. I'm among those who hope that will lead to full use of TNR in Baltimore County.
     There are four County Council members who have yet to make their appointments to the Commission. Councilman Crandell expects to make his appointment by the end of this week. Councilman Quirk who did not have many applicants for the position now has had several people come forward. There is still time to put your name in the running if you're interested.
     I urge all the Council members to make their appointments soon. There's a great deal of work to do. The quicker it starts, the better.

Another Animal Bill Dies in Annapolis-SB 393/HB 362
     The cost of Animal Care bill died at the very end of the  
2015 MD General Assembly session. This bill would have allowed animal control agencies to recover costs for caring for animals seized in cruelty cases by making the animals' owners pay restitution. 
     The House and Senate passed different versions of the bill and these differences were to be worked out in a conference committee, but the session ended before a compromise could be reached.
     Lisa Radov of Maryland Votes for Animals sums up the legislative session this way:
     "The 2015 Maryland Legislative Session was a combination of new and old. We were greeted by a General Assembly with 69 new legislators, many of whom had never heard about the types of animal issues raised this session. 
     This presented a challenge, but also an opportunity for us to educate these new legislators about the animal issues that are vitally important to Marylanders....
     The 2015 Session featured legislation affecting many types of animals: companion animals ( dogs & cats), farm animals (for example banning the use of non-therapeutic antibiotics) and wildlife (Sunday hunting legislation, Ivory Ban).
     I am proud that Maryland Votes For Animals was a leader in defeating bills to expand Sunday Hunting in several counties. These bills would have changed a 300 year- old law banning hunting of deer with bows on Sundays. Thanks to the efforts of a coalition of determined animal advocates and concerned legislators, we can safely say that families in these counties can continue to enjoy Sundays without hunting.   
     There is still work to do! Many bills such as those dealing with the cost of care of animals in abuse cases, protecting pets in extreme weather, banning horse slaughter, prohibiting non-therapeutic use of antibiotics on farm animals  and others did not pass this session. Although these bills were unsuccessful, we remain optimistic about them for next year."
     Radov encourages voters to contact their legislators and let them know about their concerns involving animals.
     Next session is a whole new ballgame. We'll fight another day.

Kitten Season
     While the county determines whether or not to conduct TNR on a county-wide basis, the number of free-roaming cats is about to go through its annual explosion. Spring is the start of kitten season, the time of year when cats give birth, flooding animal shelters with homeless litters. 
    The Baltimore County Animal Shelter is beginning to use fosters for these kittens. If you're a Baltimore County resident and are interested in becoming a foster for the 
Baltimore County Animal Shelter, please contact Laura Culbertson at
     The Baltimore Humane Society also needs foster parents to help care for newborn kittens. It also has a registry of items it needs to help in their care. You can find a full list of these items by clicking on this link:
     BARCS is in need of fosters as well. Its Executive Director, 
Jen Brause says, "At BARCS, we take in over 6,000 cats and kittens annually. We are always looking for foster parents to temporarily house them and to help us network to find them homes. Of course, if anyone is interesting in adopting, now is the time to head to the shelter and save lives!" 
     A cat can become pregnant at 5 months of age. Please remind everyone you know to spay and neuter their pets.

2014 Shelter Statistics
     Save 90 has obtained the latest 2014 statistics for the Baltimore County Animal Shelter. 
     (My apologies...I misunderstood one of the stats and miscalculated earlier. These numbers are updated.)
     Here are some of the figures and a comparison from 2013 numbers. 

                                          2013                                    2014

Cat intake                          2800                                    2945
Dog intake                         1759                                    1219
Total Animal intake          4559                                     4164

Cats Adopted                     540 (19.3%)                       541 (18.4%)
Dogs Adopted                    726 (41.3%)                       437 (35.8%)

Cats to Rescue                   275   (9.8%)                        515 (17.5%)
Dogs to Rescue                  209   (11.9%)                      224 (18.4%)

Cats Returned                     38                                       76
to Owner
Dogs Returned 
to Owner                            406                                       398

Cats Euthanized  
(Includes owner request)  1947  (69.5%)                    1859 (63.1%)
Dogs Euthanized                                 
(Includes owner 
request)                             418 (23.8%)                        304 (24.9%)

Approximate Live 
Release (Cats)                   853 (30.5%)                        395 (17.5%)

Approximate Live 
Release (Dogs)                  1341 (76.2%)                     1059 (76.6%)
     To summarize, BCAS took in more cats than the year before but fewer dogs. 
     Adoption percentages went down. The actual number of cats adopted was almost identical to the year before and the number of dogs adopted went down. 
     BCAS increased the percentage of both cats and dogs going to rescue, but the number of dogs wasn't much higher than the year before. 
     Finally, the big number...the percentage of cats euthanized went down slightly. The percentage of dogs euthanized went up slightly.
     This tells the story of the work that's needed. Clearly adoption numbers need to improve. Part of the way to do that is through better marketing. The shelter's new Facebook page is a start.      
     But the bigger picture requires a broader approach. Many county residents don't even know about the shelter or where it is. If you need proof of that, take a look at these interviews I conducted with people in Baltimore County for a Save 90 post that ran last August. 

     Here's a link to the entire post with many suggestions for improving the shelter's visibility.
     At the very least, the county could make a flyer about the shelter and its Facebook page and begin posting it throughout county buildings. And when the County Executive is invited to appear at various events, his staff could hand these posters out. What a perfect opportunity for Kevin Kamenetz to showcase the improvements underway in Animal Services.
    Visibility is only part of the story, of course. If there weren't so many homeless animals, we wouldn't have a problem. So, the biggest solution is spay and neuter. Baltimore County will be opening satellite low-cost spay/neuter locations on the east and west sides of the county. I hope the county will market the heck out of this so residents know the service is there.
     Another disappointing statistic involves the number of dogs and cats the shelter is getting out to rescue. BCAS needs to augment its list of rescue partners and bring those numbers up. 
     In addition, more foster families are needed as interim caretakers. Presumably this will improve once the county hires a foster coordinator in the coming fiscal year.
     In addition, the county needs to begin thinking about implementing counseling programs... one for adopting families so that people choose an animal that is right for them, as well as a program to counsel anyone who comes to the shelter to give up their pet. If we can connect them with needed support services, they might not need to surrender their dog or cat.
     Another big piece of the puzzle is TNR. If cats are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and returned to the communities from which they came, they'll no longer take up space in the shelter or need to be euthanized. The cat euthanasia numbers will drop like a rock.          Let's hope the county's TNR pilot is a huge success and will lead to broad use of Trap Neuter Return for free-roaming cats.
Now on to advertisements. Here are Save 90's latest ads from 
Octavia II
Steve Caplan, esq. 
Dr. Evan Feinberg.

Here's the complete 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
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
Gourmet Again
Four Corners Travel
Charles Levine Caterers
Len Stoler Auto Group
Eddie's of Roland Park on North Charles Street
Studio 111
Great Finds and Designs
Stone Mill Bakery
The Manor Shopping Center Merchants Association
The Silberstein Insurance Group: Employee Benefits Consultants 
The Suburban House Restaurant
Zibazz Day Spa and Makeup Art
Steven Caplan, Esq.
Anne George (Bark Busters)

Individual Contributors
Jim and Bonnie Hunter
Marty Sitnick
Elmo Barranco
Eric Brennan

Funds raised so far: $7466.00

Here's a thank you video from Save 90's latest recipient of a check for $750, the Baltimore Humane Society.

Recipients of Save 90:
Animal Allies Rescue Foundation
Adopt a Homeless Animal
Feine Rescue Association
Tara's House
Bella's Bully Buddies
Homeward Trails
Recycled Love
Baltimore Humane Society

If you know of a business that would like to advertise on Save 90 or an individual who would like to contribute please have them contact me at

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