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County Set to Spay and Neuter Pets at Reduced Rates

Towson, Maryland (April 3, 2014) - Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced today additional enhancements to the Animal Services Division including: public spay and neuter services, the hiring of two full-time veterinarians and new adoption hours.

Beginning April 14 County residents will be able to pay just $65 for dogs and $50 for cats to be spayed or neutered at the shelter. This fee will include, as necessary, a license, rabies immunization and microchip. To schedule an appointment, beginning April 14, residents may call 410-887-PAWS (7297) or send an email to spayneuter@baltimorecountymd.gov.

Ongoing Effort to Provide High-Quality, Comprehensive Animal Services

The spaying and neutering of residents' pets is an expansion of a service that started in October 2013 when the County began spaying and neutering all adoptable animals in the shelter. Since then over 250 spay or neuter surgeries have been performed.

"I am very pleased that we are able to expand spay and neuter services to all County dogs and cats, not just the animals housed in our shelter," said Kamenetz. "This program is simply another very positive step in the County's commitment to providing high-quality animal services for its residents."

County Hires Two Full-Time Veterinarians

Kamenetz also announced that the County has hired two full-time veterinarians to work at the Animal Services Facility, appointing Dr. Leslie Sinclair as the Veterinarian Medical Director. In addition, Dr. Melissa Jones will join the County's Animal Services team as a full-time veterinarian on April 21, 2014. This is the first time in County history that two highly-qualified, full-time veterinarians will staff the shelter.

"The addition of these outstanding veterinarians to the County's animal services staff makes a dramatic statement about the County's commitment to quality animal care," said Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, Director of Health and Human Services in Baltimore County. "Having a vet on staff overseeing the care of the animals in our custody each day sends a very strong message to our residents about how seriously we take our responsibility for the animals and the health of the public."

"The announcement that the County will now have two full-time vets overseeing care at the animal shelter is great news for pet lovers," said 6th District Councilwoman and Council Chair Cathy Bevins. "Opening up spay and neuter services to all County residents at reduced rates is terrific. The reasonable cost of these services will really encourage people to get their dogs and cats spayed or neutered."

New Adoption Hours

In addition to the public spaying and neutering program, the shelter is offering new, more convenient adoption hours. As of Sunday, April 27, adoption hours at the shelter will be from noon to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. The shelter will be closed for adoption hours on Mondays and Tuesdays.

"The addition of late afternoon and weekend adoption hours is a culmination of our efforts to increase adoption rates and meet the needs of our residents," said Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, Director of Health and Human Services.

"I have spoken with my colleagues, and I know that council members are very pleased with these new changes coming to animal services in Baltimore County," said Third District Councilman Todd Huff. "It will be much easier for citizens to access animal services, and that is a very good thing."

County Moves Forward With New $5 Million Animal Services Facility

Budgeting is in place and design is underway for construction of a new Animal Services facility on the 14 acres of land where the current office and kennel are located. The new facility is estimated to be a $5 million dollar capital budget project.

The new facility will include 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 or socialization room, additional parking and office space for staff and volunteers. The new facility is scheduled to open in August 2015.

"Step-by-step, we are taking definitive action to ensure that our animal service program is one of the finest in the region, and we are making a significant financial commitment toward that goal" said Kamenetz.