Baltimore County News
Individuals coping with their own or a family member’s advanced illness face a difficult road and numerous challenges. Decisions about treatments can become quite complex, family members must reach agreement about the best path forward, and communication with medical providers and institutions must be done well to ensure that the patient receives the medical care he or she wishes.
The Baltimore County Department of Aging’s Family Caregivers Mini-Conference offers an opportunity to learn more. The free event will be held Saturday, April 22, 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., at Liberty Senior Center, 3525 Resource Drive, Randallstown 21133.
The keynote speaker, Dr. W. Anthony Riley, Chief Medical Officer of Gilchrist Services, will provide insight on how to anticipate and navigate the road ahead in advanced illness. Dr. Riley has over 35 years of experience as a physician caring for patients with advanced and life-limiting illnesses and is an expert on advance care planning.
Caregivers for older adults will also hear from other guest speakers on how to reduce stress with respite care options, what the CARE Act legislation means when a loved one goes into a hospital, and what local resources are available for seniors and caregiving families.
The event also features blood pressure screenings and emotional health education provided by University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. Resource tables will highlight programs and services for older adults and people with disabilities. A continental breakfast and beverages at the event are sponsored by AARP Maryland.
For more information, contact the Baltimore County Department of Aging Caregivers Program at 410-887-4724.
Rates now among highest in the nation
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced that the County’s Animal Shelter live-release rates during the first quarter of the year exceeded 90% for both cats and dogs. The County Executive mandated the collection of this data in 2014 so that Baltimore County would be able to track the success of its efforts from quarter to quarter. The County’s live-release rate now ranks among the highest in the nation.
The release rate for dogs is now 92.8%, while the rate for cats is 91.7%. By comparison, for the same period in 2014, the rates were 90.4% and 55.4%.
“I am extremely proud of everyone who has worked so hard to improve Baltimore County Animal Services,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “The fact that we are now a leader in the nation in live-release rates is very gratifying.”
“This is amazing progress,” said 1st District Councilman and Council Chair Tom Quirk. “The humane treatment of animals at our shelter has been a major focus of the County Council, and to see that a new facility, staff and programs are really making a difference is very exciting.”
“The news about the latest live release numbers at the Baltimore County Animal Shelter is simply wonderful," said Deborah Stone Hess, Chair of Baltimore County's Animal Services Advisory Commission. “Baltimore County made a decision to turn our shelter into one that could be a model for others around the nation. Clearly, the shelter and its wonderful and caring staff are accomplishing that goal, and continue to work in a compassionate and dedicated way to save lives and find homes for as many animals as possible. I congratulate Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, the Baltimore County Council, and the entire Animal Services team!”
The shelter also reported that during the first quarter of 2014, the live intake of cats and dogs at the shelter was 732. In 2017, that number increased to 1200, an increase of nearly 60%.
“This has been a real team effort,” continued Kamenetz. “Our staff worked with the County Council, the Animal Services Advisory Commission and shelter volunteers to turn this program around. The most recent live release rates demonstrate that we are working diligently to find homes for healthy adoptable animals, and it is worth noting that BCAS has not euthanized a healthy adoptable animal in years.”
New facility opened in 2016
The County’s new $6.6 million, 22,400 square-foot facility opened in early 2016 and was custom designed for staff and animals. It greatly enhances the delivery of services to shelter animals and the public and essentially doubles the number of spaces for cats and dogs. It includes increased kennel space, an adoption "meet and greet" room, a surgical suite, two separate dog parks – one for shelter use and one for the public, a cat observatory and socialization room, additional parking and office space for staff and volunteers. A critical component of the new shelter is the animal quarantine area. Having a separate space for sick animals significantly reduces the potential spread of illness and parasites among the animals. The quarantine area is serviced by a dedicated HVAC unit, creating a comfortable and safe environment where no recirculation of air occurs.
County spay and neuter services are a huge success
Baltimore County has made tremendous strides in upgrading Animal Services and reducing the population of stray animals in its communities with new low-cost spay/neuter facilities in three locations around the County, and as a result expects to reach the goal of doubling our positive results by altering 20,000 animals in the next calendar year.
Since expanding spay and neuter services to the public for dogs and cats not housed in the shelter, Baltimore County has performed more than 10,000 spay/neuter procedures. This is a key component of the County’s strategic plan to reduce the population of homeless animals throughout Baltimore County.
In addition to the main site in northern Baltimore County, Baltimore County operates two satellite spay/neuter centers in Dundalk and in Southwest Area Park in Baltimore Highlands, greatly reducing travel time for residents, who previously had to take their pets to the County’s main Animal Services facility in Baldwin to take advantage of the County’s low-cost spay/neuter program.
All three of the County’s Animal Services locations offer spay/neuter services for cats and dogs for the low cost of $20, by appointment only. To encourage responsible pet ownership and decrease overpopulation of unwanted animals, this program includes:
- Spay/neuter procedure
- First distemper and rabies shots
- A County license
County residents may schedule appointments and find more information, including animal restrictions on the County’s website at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/spayneuter.
Free spay/neuter services for residents in many southwest and southeast zip codes
Baltimore County Animal Services has been awarded a grant from the Maryland Department of Agriculture to cover the costs of altering 1,083 dogs and cats from three specific areas in southwest Baltimore County, including zip codes 21207 (Woodlawn), 21227 (Halethorpe), 21244 (Windsor Mill). Spay/neuter surgeries will be free for residents in those identified areas, until these grant funds are depleted.
At the same time, as part of the promotion for the westside facility, the County will also offer free spay/neuter services for 1,083 dogs and cats from areas in southeast Baltimore County, in zip codes 21222 (Dundalk), 21219 (Edgemere), 21224 (Dundalk), 21221 (Essex), 21237 (Rosedale) and 21220 (Middle River).
“I am so proud of our staff for providing such high quality service to County pets and their owners,” said Melissa Jones, V.M.D., Director of Baltimore County Animal Services. “We are committed each and every day to creating the best animal services programs in the nation.”