• Petitioned Dr. Gregory Branch
  • Responded

This petition was delivered to:

Director, Health and Human Services, Health Officer
Dr. Gregory Branch
Director of Government Affairs
Yolanda Winkler
Baltimore County Executive
Kevin Kamenetz
Baltimore County Council Member
Baltimore County Council Member
Baltimore County Council Member
See response
Baltimore County Council Member
Baltimore County Council Member
Baltimore County Council Member
Baltimore County Council Member
Baltimore County Council Member
Delegate Joseph F. Vallario, Jr., Chair of Judiciary Committee
Baltimore County Administrative Officer
Fred Homan
Maryland House of Delegates Judiciary Committee Member
Maryland House of Delegates Judiciary Committee Member

Help people and animals in Baltimore County-pass HB 1478!

    1. Donna  Bernstein
    2. Petition by

      Donna Bernstein

      Baltimore, MD

March 1, 2013

Kevin Kamenetz, Baltimore County Executive 
Dr. Gregory Branch, Director, Health and Human Services, Health Officer 
Yolanda Winkler, Director of Government Affairs 
Baltimore County Council 
Baltimore County Members of the Maryland General Assembly 
Maryland House of Delegates Judiciary Committee

Michael E. Busch, Speaker of the House of Delegates


House Bill 1478 would force Baltimore County Animal Control to create a volunteer program, and make the adoption of animals into suitable homes a priority.

Why is this needed?

1.    Fiscal Responsibility:  Volunteers would save taxpayer’s money by performing unpaid work, and allowing employees to focus on other tasks.

 2.   Less Animals Killed:  The increased placement of animals into suitable adoptive homes would reduce the euthanasia rate.  Volunteers would help with this by providing training for animals, providing foster homes for animals, socializing animals at the shelter to make them more adoptable, and fundraising.

3.   Relieve Stress on Employees:  Animal shelter employees have very stressful and difficult jobs at times.  By allowing volunteers to share in basic tasks, and saving more animals, the shelter environment would be much more positive for both humans and animals. 

Dear Legislator:

For many years, concerned citizens and animal advocates in Baltimore County have worked hard to change the policies, procedures and leadership at the Baltimore County Animal Control (BCAC) shelter, located at 3800 Manor Road, Baldwin, Maryland. We now have an opportunity to enact change. House Bill 1478, if passed, would mandate that the Baltimore County Department of Health, Division of Animal Control, make the placement of dogs and cats in suitable homes a priority, and establish a program of volunteers to assist it in meeting this goal. Although these may seem like basic functions of an animal shelter, the BCAC shelter falls short in both of these areas. This legislation is desperately needed to modernize this shelter and bring its policies and procedures in line with the other shelters in our community.

The BCAC shelter is the only “open admission” animal shelter in Baltimore County, and takes in stray, abandoned, abused, neglected and lost companion animals. The BCAC shelter took in approximately 5,700 animals in 2012. Unfortunately, the BCAC shelter also euthanized more than 60% of the dogs and cats that came into its care in 2012. Animals who are surrendered to the shelter by their owners are routinely euthanized instead of being made available for adoption. This practice is heartbreaking for the Baltimore County residents who surrender their animals, and tragic for the animals themselves. Strangely, the shelter also adopts out companion animals that have not yet been spayed or neutered, relying instead on adopters to have these procedures done. As a result, these animals may leave the shelter and contribute to the massive companion animal overpopulation problem.

Unlike the vast majority of local animal shelters, the BCAC shelter has no real foster care program by which animals can be cared for in volunteers’ homes while they await adoption. Foster care programs remove animals from the stressful shelter environment and allow them to learn housetraining and basic obedience skills while living in home environments. Foster care programs help prepare animals for their permanent homes, and often lead to fewer return adoptions.

Unlike other shelters, the BCAC shelter does not adequately utilize the numerous non-profit animal rescue organizations that are willing to accept ownership of shelter animals, provide necessary veterinary care, and place them in loving, permanent homes. It has refused to release animals to willing rescue organizations in the past, despite the fact that this would free up space for other animals in its care and reduce the euthanasia rate.

The BCAC shelter has a minimal volunteer program. Potential volunteers with experience in animal care, animal training and fundraising, report that their requests to volunteer have gone unanswered. Animals frequently go without comfortable bedding, kennel or cage enrichment, exercise, and toys. These are all things that could be provided through a vibrant volunteer program. Volunteers are also instrumental in planning adoption events and educational outreach events, publicizing animals that are available for adoption, locating rescue organizations that are willing to take animals into their care, and finding the best possible match between an adoptable animal and a prospective adoptive home. The benefits that volunteers would provide to the BCAC shelter are immeasurable, and there is simply no reason to allow further delay in the implementation of a program.

Baltimore County citizens are tired of this misuse of their tax dollars and are tired of watching the animals suffer as a result. We ask that you do everything in your power to pass House Bill 1478. Neither the residents of Baltimore County nor the animals that end up in its shelter can afford to wait any longer.

The Undersigned

Recent signatures


    1. Rabies incident in Baltimore County demonstrates need for a TNR program!

      Donna  Bernstein
      Petition Organizer

      Baltimore County recently had a rabies incident. One rabid cat was found in the Milford Mill area. If the County permitted the practice of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), this would not have happened. And more importantly, the practice of TNR would have created a "firewall" against the spread of rabies. TNR is an important part of any well run shelter program.

    2. Baltimore County Animal Control is moving forward!

      Donna  Bernstein
      Petition Organizer

      Let's KEEP THE PRESSURE ON: Please contact the following officials and ask them to continue to increase volunteer opportunities at the Baltimore County Animal Control shelter, and continue with the plan to put the shelter under the control of a non-profit organization.
      *Baltimore County Council Chairman Tom Quirk:

      *Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz:

      *Dr. Gregory Branch, Baltimore County Health Dept.:

      Please VOLUNTEER if you can: Please see volunteer opportunities here: http://volunteer.truist.com/baltimore-county/org/10506741045.html?utm_source=supporter_message&utm_medium=email

      BED DRIVE: Community members have come together to organize a bed drive for the animals at the Baltimore County Animal Control shelter. Please donate here if you can: http://kuranda.com/donate/8712

      Thank you for your continued support!

    3. HB 1478 will not pass, but we can hold Baltimore County accountable

      Donna  Bernstein
      Petition Organizer

      HB 1478 will not pass because Baltimore County has argued that Maryland does not have the authority to force it to make these changes. However, we have been told that Delegate Vallario (Judiciary Committee Chair) plans to send a letter to County Executive Kevin Kamenetz asking that he take further action on this issue and report back.

      HB 1478 and your support have pushed Baltimore County to make changes, including a recent expansion of its volunteer program.

      Please continue to call/email the County Council, Dr. Gregory Branch, and Kevin Kamenetz to tell them that you want to see the volunteer program continue to improve and you want the County to follow through on its promise to put its shelter into the hands of a non-profit. This will keep the pressure on!

      Also, please sign up to volunteer at the shelter:

      Thank you for your continued support!

      Agency - Baltimore County Animal Shelter

      Baltimore County Volunteers organizes and coordinates volunteering in Baltimore County, Maryland

    4. Baltimore County officials testify AGAINST HB 1478 in Judiciary Committee!

      Donna  Bernstein
      Petition Organizer

      In Annapolis yesterday, Baltimore County government officials testified AGAINST HB 1478 at the Judiciary Committee Hearing. Meanwhile, in Baldwin, Banner and Putt Putt were euthanized at Baltimore County Animal Control. Banner's last 48 days and Putt Putt's last 41 days could have been much better if the shelter had a vibrant volunteer program, adoption events, and enrichment for the animals in its care. Shame on Baltimore County officials.

      Luckily, many animal advocates testified in favor of the bill. Staff from BARCS and the MD SPCA also testified in favor, disputing Baltimore County's excessive cost estimate.

      We are hopeful that members of the Judiciary Committee will do the right thing. We await their response.



    5. Reached 1,500 signatures
    6. County Delegation passes HB 1478, calls now needed to Judiciary Committee!

      Donna  Bernstein
      Petition Organizer

      House Bill 1478 has been voted on and PASSED THROUGH THE BALTIMORE COUNTY DELEGATION!

      We are one step closer to our goal, but THE BIG STRUGGLE STARTS NOW-THE BILL HAS TO MAKE IT THROUGH THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, where it has been "killed" in the past.

      We need everyone to call and email every single member of the Maryland House of Delegates’ Judiciary Committee before Thursday, March 21st (when the hearing will likely take place). Please ask them to support House Bill 1478, which would mandate that Baltimore County Animal Control create a volunteer program and make the placement of animals into suitable homes a priority.

      The list of Judiciary Committee members can be found here: http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/mdmanual/06hse/html/com/05jud.html

      Thank you!

      Maryland House Judiciary Committee - Members

      Curtis S. (Curt) Anderson Sam Arora Jill P. Carter Luke H. Clippinger John W. E. Cluster, Jr. Frank M. Conaway, Jr. Glen Glass Michael J. Hough Kevin Kelly Susan C. Lee Susan K. McComas Michael A. McDermott Keiffer J. Mitchell, Jr. Neil C. Parrott Samuel I. Rosenberg Luiz R. S.

    7. Reached 750 signatures
    8. Decision-maker Baltimore County Member of the Maryland General Assembly responds:

      Baltimore County Member of the Maryland General Assembly

      I am pleased to inform you that I support the passage of HB 1478. I voted to move the bill out of the Baltimore County Delegation and will vote for its passage if I am given the opportunity when it comes to the full body for consideration...

    9. Decision-maker Baltimore County Council Member responds:

      Baltimore County Council Member

      Please give these poor animals a chance! They have feelings just like we do. Help the people and animals in Baltimore County-please pass House Bill 1478!

    10. Reached 500 signatures
    11. Nearly 500 signatures-please help keep HB 1478 moving!

      Donna  Bernstein
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you for your support! If each of the nearly 500 people who have signed could recruit another ten people to sign, we would be halfway to our goal!

      We have heard that there may be enough votes among the Baltimore County Delegates to pass HB 1478 and send it to the Judiciary Committee. Please make polite calls to the Baltimore County Delegates and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz (410-887-2450) asking them to support HB 1478. Delegate Cardin is sponsoring the bill and Delegates Bromwell, Kach, Morhaim and Malone are cosponsoring. Please thank them for their support.

      Please locate your delegates: http://action.humanesociety.org/site/PageServer?pagename=electedOfficials
      (“Maryland” tab as a “State Representative”)

      If the bill goes to a hearing before the Judiciary Committee, your calls and emails to all members of the Judiciary Committee will be needed. A similar bill was opposed and “killed” in the Judiciary Committee last year. Let’s not let that happen again.

    12. Reached 250 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Elizabeth Hartman ODENTON, MD
      • 5 months ago

      If we don't have empathy for animals, there is little hope for the human race

    • Jane Housewright NEWPORT, VT
      • 5 months ago

      Animals are not litter you pick up off the streets and then destroy. I pity the employees of this animal pound. Please make the humane changes outlined here.

    • Linda Harbaugh BOWIE, MD
      • 9 months ago

      It's our duty as human and humane beings to help these animals get an opportunity to live in a home with someone to care for and love them. It is our responsibility to do the right thing and stop treating these potential pets as disposable trash.

    • beverly meile MARYLAND, MD
      • 11 months ago

      Because I am an animal lover..

    • Morgan Krempel BALDWIN, MD
      • about 1 year ago

      I love animals and they deserve a better life and a loving home.


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