Skip Navigation

Image of the Baltimore County Historic Courthouse

Baltimore County News

Stay informed of what's happening in Baltimore County.
Keyword: julian jones

Residents and Businesses Encouraged to Plan and Follow County Updates Online

Baltimore County’s public safety and health officials conducted a hurricane preparedness exercise this morning in the Emergency Operations Center and outlined the County’s emergency preparedness, reminding residents and businesses to plan ahead in case of severe storms and flooding. Today’s exercise asked emergency operations representatives from County agencies and partner organizations to respond to a hypothetical hurricane similar to Isabel, which caused severe flooding in coastal Baltimore County in September of 2003.

During the exercise, Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler and the County’s top emergency management, public works and health leadership team outlined the County’s year-round storm preparations and recommendations for residents.

Preparation is Key

County officials encouraged people to have an emergency plan, prepare to get through three days without power, and stock up on water, non-perishable foods, flashlights, batteries and back-up power sources for their cellphones. They suggested that residents check to see if they need flood insurance and to prepare in advance for medical and prescription needs and for pet care. More information about storm preparedness can be found on the County website at baltimorecountymd.gov/emergency.

“We work to ensure that our first responders have the best equipment and training available and practice our coordinated response protocols multiple times each year,” said Mohler. “We are prepared and now is the time for residents and businesses to take some time to make sure they are prepared as well.”

Real-time storm updates available on the County’s website and social media platforms

Mohler reminded residents to follow the County’s Emergency Management Twitter feed, @BACOemergency, for storm warnings and updates on storm response, sheltering operations and more. “The recent extreme flooding in Ellicott City and Catonsville was an important wake-up call to all of us that these severe storms can pop up at any time and we all need to stay alert and be prepared to respond quickly,” he said.

“Flash flooding is particularly dangerous and we do have areas all around the County that are susceptible to coastal and inland flooding, and it is very important for people to keep up with storm forecasts and connect online with our County emergency managers for storm response updates,” said County Council Chair Julian Jones.

The County’s Stormfighter web page allows people to self-report storm-related issues. The system integrates with the County’s GIS mapping technology and provides real-time visual data to assist DPW and emergency managers in responding to severe storms or other localized or regional emergencies. Stormfighter provides a link to live traffic camera feeds from the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Coordinated Highways Action Response Team (CHART). It also offers a link to the County’s list of road closures, which lists County roads that are currently closed due to repairs, accidents, weather or other hazards. State roads and interstates are not included. Information on State roads can be found on the Maryland Department of Transportation’s travel advisories and road closures web page at http://www.chart.state.md.us/incidents/index.php.   


Team Shelter USA Assessment Cites Live Release Rates, Partnerships and Enrichment Programs

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 reportalso 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 of 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 indoor 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 several 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.


Equine Arena and Learning Center Offers Programs for Veterans and Others

Baltimore County officials celebrated the grand opening of an equestrian and learning center at the Baltimore County Center for Maryland Agriculture and Farm Park in Cockeysville, announcing that it is named in honor of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who passed away suddenly on May 10. Baltimore County Council Chair Julian E. Jones, Jr. led the ceremony, which featured the unveiling of a banner depicting the name, Kevin Kamenetz Arena.

The Kevin Kamenetz Arena is a multi-use facility that primarily serves as an equine arena and learning center hosting ground-based equine experiences for veterans and others, including programs operated by the New York based non-profit, Saratoga WarHorse. The overall equine operation occupies 12.7 acres including two barns, pasture and paddock space and a 9,600 square-foot arena with classrooms. The arena features a sandy surface, and it is available for equine programs as well as other events.

“Opening the Kevin Kamenetz Arena is a natural expansion of the educational mission of our agriculture center and it will provide powerful therapeutic and mental health resources to help veterans and others overcome obstacles in their lives,” said County Council Chair Jones. “Naming it the Kevin Kamenetz Arena is a fitting tribute to a man who dedicated his life to serving the public and making sure that government fulfills its role of helping those most in need,” he said.

The grand opening event, held in May, which is Military Appreciation Month, comes one day after the 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Baltimore.

Saratoga WarHorse Foundation Program at Kevin Kamenetz Arena

Baltimore County executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Saratoga WarHorse Foundation for them to assist veterans who are suffering from psychological wounds by providing a confidential, personalized equine-assisted experience that has proven to be effective for those struggling to adjust to life after military service.

The equine-assisted experience is an immersive program where a handful of veterans participate as a cohort group for a three-day program of classroom and one-on-one ground-based sessions with a horse. The equine programs do not involve horse-riding.

This life-changing program is available free of charge to participants. Saratoga WarHorse Foundation is privately funded through donations and assumes the cost of operating the equine programs, including off-site room and board for participants. Per the terms of the MOU, Baltimore County pays no operating costs for the equine programs, but the County funded the $2.96 million construction of the equine facility and pays for maintenance and the care and feeding of the rotating herd of horses.

“Saratoga WarHorse is so thrilled and honored to have this collaboration with Baltimore County,” said Bob Nevins, founder of Saratoga WarHorse Foundation. “This will ensure that the program will be open to assist more veterans in need.

The Kevin Kamenetz Arena adds a third location for Saratoga Warhorse to operate, in addition to their current locations in Saratoga Springs, New York and Aiken, South Carolina. Saratoga WarHorse plans to begin with two sessions per month at Kevin Kamenetz Arena, with the first session beginning on Monday, May 21.

Some Enthusiastic Program Testimonials

Former Saratoga Warhorse program participant, Gail Watts, spoke during this afternoon’s event. Watts is Baltimore County’s Director of Corrections and a retired U.S. Army Master Sergeant who served overseas in multiple deployments. “When you come home from deployment, it’s a very hard transition and soldiers who have experienced trauma often feel that they can’t really talk about it with civilian family and friends, and there can be a stigma about talking to doctors,” Watts said. “I was skeptical when I went through the program, especially having had no previous experience with horses, but I can’t even put into words the unexplainable connection I had with my horse and the amazing breakthrough I experienced. It was almost like the horse could relate to what I had been through.”

Baltimore County Fire Lieutenant Steve Mooney, who serves as a Chief Master Sergeant with the Air National Guard, and has been deployed five times, also participated in the Saratoga WarHorse equine experience. He said, “When you get in that ring with a 1,300 pound animal, it’s intimidating, but the next thing you know your horse is following you around like a puppy and it’s an amazing feeling. I never thought it would be such a game-changer, but I recommend it to any veteran. I think that anyone who has been deployed experiences some level of anxiety and this type of program offers a different perspective on how you look at things and it’s a great tool for dealing with stress.”

About the County’s Herd of Horses

The County’s rotating herd of thoroughbred horses at the Kevin Kamenetz Arena will range from 10 to 18 retired racehorses. The horses are provided by:

- The Foxie G Foundation, a local non-profit that provides rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of thoroughbreds through a permanent retirement and adoption program, and

- Sagamore Racing, a thoroughbred horse breeding farm on Belmont Avenue in Reisterstown owned by Kevin Plank.

Other Equine Programs Planned for Kevin Kamenetz Arena

In addition to the MOU with Saratoga Warhorse, the County is talking with representatives of EquiTeam Support Services, a southern Pennsylvania program that practices programs of the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association.  Discussions are underway about the possibility of their providing equine-assisted therapy for veterans that incorporates professional psychotherapy and offers a continuum of care for participants.

The County is also in discussions with the Connected Horse Project about the option of their expanding their operations to add programming at the Kamenetz Arena, where they would work with individuals with early stage dementia and their caregivers.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017