Baltimore County Animal Services earns nation-wide recognition
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
• A County license
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.