Bal­ti­more County An­i­mal Ser­vices earns nation-wide recog­ni­tion

The Avenue News - - EDITORIAL -

Bal­ti­more County An­i­mal Ser­vices (BCAS) un­der­went a com­pre­hen­sive re­view by one of the coun­try’s top an­i­mal shel­ter con­sul­tants, and re­ceived high marks for its dra­matic in­crease in live re­lease rates of cats and dogs, which has re­sulted from an over­all trans­for­ma­tion of shel­ter and pro­gram­ming op­er­a­tions.

“I am very proud of our An­i­mal Ser­vices staff and lead­er­ship, who have em­braced a mul­ti­tude of changes and truly trans­formed the whole op­er­a­tion into an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple of gov­ern­ment do­ing things the right way, for the ben­e­fit of our con­stituents as well as vul­ner­a­ble an­i­mals,” said County Ex­ec­u­tive Don Mohler. “The on­go­ing suc­cess of our An­i­mal Ser­vices func­tion is part of the last­ing legacy of for­mer Bal­ti­more County Ex­ec­u­tive Kevin Kamenetz.”

The as­sess­ment was con­ducted by Sara Pizano DVM of Team Shel­ter USA, for­merly with the non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion, Tar­get Zero. The re­port, Bal­ti­more County An­i­mal Ser­vices 2018 Progress Re­port, calls BCAS a “pro­gres­sive and in­no­va­tive or­ga­ni­za­tion that should be con­sid­ered a na­tional role model for other mu­nic­i­pal shel­ters.” The re­view, a fol­low-up to a 2016 au­dit, also con­ducted by Pizano, cites the County’s sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in live re­lease rates from 53.4 per­cent to 89.6 per­cent be­tween 2014 and 2017, which it hails as “an as­tound­ing in­crease not com­monly seen in pub­lic shel­ters in such a short pe­riod of time and de­spite an in­crease in in­take.”

Some ar­eas high­lighted in the re­port for their fa­vor­able im­pact in­clude:

• En­hanced com­mu­ni­ca­tions and pub­lic out­reach, with an em­pha­sis on so­cial me­dia

• A proac­tive plan to greatly in­crease ac­cess by low-in­come pet own­ers to spay/neuter ser­vices, and ef­forts to help peo­ple avoid sur­ren­der­ing pets be­cause they need tem­po­rary as­sis­tance

• Staff de­vel­op­ment and an ex­pan­sive pro­gram of in­cor­po­rat­ing vol­un­teers and De­part­ment o

• f Corrections in­mates into shel­ter op­er­a­tions and an­i­mal en­rich­ment ac­tiv­i­ties

• Ex­cel­lent part­ner­ships with res­cue or­ga­ni­za­tions and re­gional an­i­mal wel­fare or­ga­ni­za­tions

• The estab­lish­ment of a ded­i­cated po­lice unit to han­dle an­i­mal cru­elty in­ves­ti­ga­tions

• A suc­cess­ful pilot Trap-Neuter-Re­turn pro­gram in partnership with a lo­cal non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion, which has de­creased stray cat in­takes from 2,108 in 2016 to 1,737 in 2017

• En­rich­ment and be­hav­ior in­ter­ven­tions that in­crease adopt­abil­ity of chal­leng­ing shel­ter an­i­mals, in­clud­ing in- door and out­door play ar­eas and a ded­i­cated Be­hav­ior Co­or­di­na­tor

• Ag­gres­sive adop­tion ef­forts that in­clude a full-time Res­cue and Fos­ter Co­or­di­na­tor, and the pop­u­lar Adop­tion Ex­press Cud­dle Shut­tle

“My staff and I con­tinue to get good feed­back and hear pos­i­tive re­sults from An­i­mal Ser­vices and I com­mend ev­ery­one in­volved for do­ing a great job, as re­flected in this very pos­i­tive re­port,” said Bal­ti­more County Coun­cil Chair Ju­lian Jones.

Low-cost Spay/Neuter Ser­vices Of­fered to the Pub­lic at Bald­win, Dundalk and Bal­ti­more High­lands Fa­cil­i­ties

All three of the County’s An­i­mal Ser­vices lo­ca­tions of­fer spay/ neuter ser­vices to the pub­lic for cats and dogs for the low cost of $20, by ap­point­ment only. Many res­i­dents ac­tu­ally qual­ify for free pro­ce­dures through one of sev- eral grant-funded pro­grams. To en­cour­age re­spon­si­ble pet own­er­ship and de­crease over­pop­u­la­tion of un­wanted an­i­mals, this pro­gram in­cludes:

• Spay/neuter pro­ce­dure

• First dis­tem­per and ra­bies

shots

• De­worm­ing

• A County li­cense

• Mi­crochip

County res­i­dents may sched­ule ap­point­ments and find more in­for­ma­tion about spay/neuter pack­ages, in­clud­ing an­i­mal re­stric­tions on the County’s web­site.

Ap­point­ments are avail­able now at the Spay/Neuter Cen­ter lo­cated at 7702 Dun­man­way in Dundalk; at the South­west Area Park lo­ca­tion, lo­cated at 3941 Klunk Drive in Brook­lyn; and at the County’s main An­i­mal Ser­vices lo­ca­tion, 13800 Manor Road in Bald­win. Ad­vance pay­ment by debit or credit card is re­quired. No pay­ment of any type is ac­cepted at the fa­cil­ity.

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