Allegany County Animal Control Changes

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Changes for Animal Control of Allegany County are underway after the death of 9 dogs on McGill Dr. in BelAair. Becky McClarran, President of the Allegany County Animal Shelter Management Foundation, informed yesterday (8/21/14) the County Commissioners and the public about the immediate changes that already have taken place and changes that are still pending and being worked on to guarantee a better follow up on calls and reports from the public:

  •  dedicated phone line with separate phone number for Animal Control
  • administrative assistant for Animal Control to answer phone calls and dispatch Animal Control
  • daily management review of Animal Control phone log to make sure all issues have been addressed the same day.
  • Introduction of a new mapping system as it is used by Emergency Services to keep better track of complaints.

This are the immediate steps that have been taken by the Allegany County Animal Shelter to serve the public better and faster. Further changes are pending due to on-going review of Animal Control operations.

Also see previous Blog


Open Letter to the Allegany County Community

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Dear Community of Allegany County,

the community of Allegany County always played a important role in the change and the success of the Allegany County Animal Shelter. I can not say enough how much I thank the community for all the support we received over the last 3 ½ years.

The events from last week at the McGill Drive have affected me personally. I have worked very hard over the last 3 ½ years to bring the shelter out of the dark. My sweat, my blood, my tears and my heart is in that shelter, every day and every night, every week, every month and every year. There is no excuse for my and our failure. We failed to respond to the calls and safe the dogs. It is a tragedy that I take very personal. I’m embarrassed and devastated, I’m sad and I’m angry all at the same time that I let the community down and that the 9 dogs are dead. I have carried the bags with the dead dogs out of the house. It was my darkest most terrible hour in the last 3 ½ years. I wish I could turn back time and undo what happened but I can’t. It just is not possible.

I apologize to you, the community of Allegany County, for my failure. I’m sorry that I let this happen. I’m sorry that I failed the 9 dogs and I’m sorry that I failed you, the community who always supported me over the last 3 ½ years. I fully understand if you are angry at me. I would feel the same way.

From here on out, I have to work even harder and become even better so that this will never happen again. I can not allow that this will ever happen again.

I’m so sorry that I failed you.

Peter Masloch








The story as it was reported in the Cumberland Times News:


My Interview on Animal Wise Radio:




Interview with Douglas Anthony Cooper

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dac4Douglas Anthony Cooper has written bestselling novels, and recently wrote a series of articles highly critical of PETA and in support of the national No Kill movement.
This work, “PETA’s Death Cult,” appeared in the Huffington Post, and was a finalist for the Canadian Online Publishing Awards, in the category of “Best Online-Only Article or Series of Articles.”
Douglas Anthony Cooper has also written for various magazines and newspapers, including Wired, the New York Times, and Rolling Stone. He won a National Magazine Award in Canada for a travel essay in Saturday Night. A piece in Travel + Leisure won the Lowell Thomas Gold Medal from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation in 2004, and was collected in The Best American Travel Writing 2004.
In his newest project, Douglas Anthony Cooper is working on a Seuss-like picture book that is suited for children as well as for adults. It is about the life and adventures of “Galunker”, a Pit Bull type dog.
His partner on this is Dula Yavne, a fabulous illustrator from Tel Aviv, whose work has been shown around the world.

No Kill Alegany County (NKAC):  How and why did you get involved in animal welfare and the No Kill movement?

Douglas Anthony Cooper (DAC): Well, it started when I fell in love with dogs. I was always keen on animals, but not really obsessed with dogs until my girlfriend insisted that we get one — and now we have four. A friend alerted me to the mass slaughter of dogs by PETA; I was furious, and decided to write a piece about it. While researching that I came across Nathan Winograd’s article about Newkirk. And it just took off from there.

NKAC: You have become a fixture and outspoken Advocate for the No Kill movement: you have written several articles for the Huffington Post condemning PETA and the mass killing of companion animals in animal shelters. What does the No Kill movement mean to you, and in what way has it changed your life?’

DAC: Well, to me it’s just a no-brainer: once you realize that some three million adoptable shelter animals are being killed annually — for no reason — it’s pretty hard not to get involved. And for me, the most effective way to contribute is through writing — that’s what I do. Once I started covering this, it snowballed: partially because I realized just how many enemies that No Kill has, and just how vicious they are. It’s crucial to stand up to them. This is one of the most important political campaigns in the nation — a revolution in animal welfare.
It’s completely changed my life. Not simply because I have all sorts of lovely new enemies across the continent, but because I’ve never really had the opportunity to devote myself completely to an unambiguously good cause.

NKAC: Your newest project is a picture book about a pit-bull-type dog with the name “Galunker”. Tell us a little bit about it. Who is Galunker, how did you come up with the idea, and what do you hope to accomplish with it?

DAC: Partially it’s an effort to make up for my own bigotry. For years I swallowed all the misinformation about pit bulls: that they had locking jaws, were uniquely dangerous, etc. My girlfriend finally convinced me — after presenting me with all of the statistics and studies — that I was just wrong. Completely wrong. And this kind of widespread error is responsible for a million pit bulls killed every year in shelters. It’s not a trivial mistake.
One of the things that inspired me was the story of Michael Vick’s pit bulls. The rescuers had been told that these were some of “the most dangerous dogs in America”. Not only were they NOT dangerous, but one went on to become a therapy dog in a hospital.
So I came up with a children’s story about a rescued fighting dog, Galunker, who terrifies everyone — and who is scheduled for execution at the shelter — until one small girl, Blinky, discovers that he’s in fact harmless and completely lovable. So it’s her against the world: she’s determined to save this dog from the evil woman who runs the city’s shelters. The woman’s name is Ms. Breezy Pacifical Ooze (a take on Breed Specific Laws). Blinky is, like Galunker, a misunderstood outsider: a tiny girl with an eye patch, who has questionable social skills. They become this heroic pair.
And then I stumbled over the work of this fabulous illustrator, Dula Yavne — I thought she’d be perfect for the project, so I approached her. She dove right in, and has come up with fabulous illustrations. Really great.

NKAC: Today, May 27th 2014, is the start of the Galunker Kickstarter project. Can you tell us what Kickstarter is and how it works?

DAC: Dula and I were both aware that there was no way we were going to get a traditional publishing house to release a kids’ book about a pit bull. Both of us have had our work distributed worldwide, but we were told that with regard to Galunker, “we might as well create a children’s book about meth.” The misconceptions are just too widespread. So we decided to turn to Kickstarter.
Kickstarter is a so-called “crowd funding” organization — it’s a way of raising funds for various things, including artistic projects: indie CDs, books, etc. What happens is that you put together a complete proposal, describing the project in detail, and you invite people to “pledge” funds. Depending upon how much money they give, they become entitled to certain rewards: say, a signed first-edition, or a t-shirt with Galunker printed on it, etc. For people who pledge a lot, we’ll have Dula paint a portrait of their dog. (This will be available to only a few people — it’s a lot of work, and she’s a perfectionist.)

NKAC: Do you have any plans for more picture books? Perhaps more Galunker adventures or any other projects you have in mind and would like to share with us?

DAC: If this takes off, we’ll certainly contemplate a series. Either a sequel to Galunker, or more books devoted to misunderstood animals. Dula and I have discovered that we love working together.
And we have strong reason to believe that it will take off: pit bulls have a hugely committed community of activists, and they’ve shown real support for this book. These dogs need all the help they can get.

NKAC: Anything you would like to add?

DAC: Just that the first few days really matter. If people could pledge this week, we’d really appreciate it: Kickstarter projects require momentum, and then they just keep rolling. Also, it would be stunning if animal advocates were to mention Galunker on their blogs, etc. Anything to get the word out. That’s how crowd-funding works: it’s all about making as much noise as possible. And we think this is a truly important project.


Thank you, Douglas Anthony Cooper, for this interview.


Galunker on the web

Galunker on Facebook



Final Maryland Pet Legislation Update

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The Legislative Session in Maryland has come to a end. Besides of the dog bite legislation, lawmakers passed four other important animal related bills!  Below are all the details about the bills we have been tracking this session, including links to committee votes, floor votes and the bill language.

Thank you to Tami Santelli for keeping up with the updates.



BILLS THAT PASSED:   Dog Bite Liability Compromise (SB 247/HB 73) – Signed into law YESTERDAY!

Roadside Zoos (SB 827/HB 1124)

Devocalization (SB 660/HB 667)

Surgical Procedures (SB 659/HB 665)

School Reporting – Animal Cruelty (HB 222)

BILLS THAT FAILED (L):   Costs of Care (HB 93) – the House and Senate passed different versions of this bill and never reconciled the differences

Prohibiting Breed Discrimination (HB 422) – this bill never received a vote on the Senate floor before the legislature adjourned

Cost of Care Task Force (SB 513/HB 795)

Dogs and Cats in Research (SB 862/HB 1347)

Dog Bite Liability – Dogs Running At-Large (HB 80) – the concept of this bill was added onto the compromise bill that eventually passed (SB 247/HB 73)

Dog Bite Liability – Strict Liability (SB 286)

Dog Bite Liability – Third Parties (HB 563) – the concept of this bill was also in the language of the compromise bill that eventually passed (SB 247/HB 73)

Dog Bite Liability – Insurance Discrimination (SB 285)

Dangerous Dogs (HB 371)

Dangerous Dogs – Increased Penalties (HB 523)

  Animal Abuser Registry (HB 373)

Animal Abuser Registry (SB 912) – this bill never received a vote in committee or on the floor   Feral Cats (SB 1010) – this bill never received a vote in committee or on the floor   Tax Credit – Dog/Cat Adoptions (HB 1358) – this bill never received a vote in committee or on the floor   Horse Slaughter (HB 1392)

  Statewide Sunday Hunting (HB 671 & HB 890) – neither of these bills ever received a vote in committee or on the floor  

Oranjie is home again

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When I saw him for the first time a little over 1 year ago, he came walking down the mountain through the woods behind the house.  His light orange color stood out from the leafless trees around him.

Over the next weeks and months I would see him more often, sometimes hiding in the bushes close to the house. There always was cat food on the back porch but he would not come on the porch when I was outside but I knew he was eating the food when he felt he was alone. On several occasions I was able to see his face close up, when he was eating on the porch and I was watching him from behind the window. He always kept his left eye half closed and it started to worry me. The decision was made to borrow a Trap and try to trap him. Week after week I watched him sitting right next to the trap without ever going in to the trap.

As the nights got cooler in November, he started using the straw filled winter box that I always kept on the porch and I would set the food right next to it. He became less scared and one day I finally was able to touch him. In December then I decided to take him inside for the winter since the night temperatures started dropping down to almost  zero degree.  Oranjie, as we named him,  seemed to have a ear infection, we cleaned his ears and vaccinated him. After looking at his left eye it seemed that the lower eye lid was sometimes rolling inside a little bit which could be from a injury or simply a birth defect. It was treated with some eye ointment. After spending some time inside, Oranjie also got neutered and received a rabies vaccination.

Today the time has come for Oranjie to go home. He loves to be outside and that is where he belongs, as do many other stray and feral cats. Oranjie is home again and I hope to see him many more times going up and down the mountain behind the house.

There are many other Oranjie’s out there, some are feral, some are friendly. This cats are not homeless, they have a home. Please think before you pick up a cat and take her away from her home. There is no reason to take a stray, healthy cat inside (other than temporarily for medical reasons, or spay/neuter) or even worse, to a animal shelter.

If you want to help a cat, please have her spayed/neutered, vaccinated and let her go back home.

To learn more about outside cats please visit the website from Alley Cat Allies

Maryland Pet Legislation Update 3/28/14

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Just 10 more days in the 2014 Maryland legislative session but there is one more major hearing left next week on anti-BSL legislation, with one more call-to-action.  See details below!

And just a reminder about the process for several of these bills which have passed their chamber of origin (i.e. bills introduced in the House have passed the House, and bills introduced in the Senate have passed the Senate).  Even if identical bills have passed the House and the Senate, we still need at least one of them to pass BOTH chambers.  That is the last step before bills can be sent to the Governor – and that’s what will (hopefully!) be happening next week for a bunch of animal bills.  The General Assembly adjourns Monday, April 7th at midnight.


As always, thank you to Tami Santelli for providing the updates.




***Priority items for the next week***


  • Prohibiting Breed Discrimination – Please call your state senator and ask for his/her support of HB 422, and then use this link to send a follow up email And consider coming to the hearing on TUESDAY at 1pm in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee!  We need to show strong support for this bill, and it only has a week to pass the Senate!





  • Dog Bite Liability (SB 247/HB 73). SB 247 has passed the Senate, HB 73 has passed the House, and HB 73 has passed the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee!  This bill is almost done – HB 73 just needs to pass the Senate, which hopefully will happen early next week.  SB 247 is still waiting for a vote in the House Judiciary Committee.  You can read the amended language here.  Getting so close!


  • Roadside Zoos (SB 827/HB 1124).  SB 827 has passed the Senate and HB 1124 has passed the House!  As amended by the committees, this legislation would put in place basic requirements for facilities that keep especially dangerous wild animals (big cats, bears and primates).
  • Costs of Care (SB 149/HB 93).  HB 93 has passed the House, and just passed the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee last night!  This legislation will allow judges to order people convicted of cruelty to pay the costs of caring for the animals during the trial.  It was substantially amended by the House Judiciary Committee so that reimbursement would be capped at $15,000 and would only be available in felony animal cruelty cases – but those amendments were removed by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, so now the differences will have to be reconciled.  You can read the amended version here.  It will receive a vote on the floor of the Senate next week!
  • Surgical Procedures (SB 659/HB 665).  SB 659 has passed the Senate and HB 665 has passed the House!  This legislation bans ear cropping, tail docking, removal of dewclaws and C-sections of dogs unless done by a veterinarian under anesthesia.  The Senate originally adopted an amendment allowing ear cropping, tail docking and the removal of dewclaws by a vet tech under the supervision of a veterinarian, but this change conflicts with existing law that doesn’t permit vet techs to do these procedures.  We worked with the Maryland Department of Agriculture to address this problem this week and the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee just passed HB 665 (without the vet tech language) last night.  Fingers crossed!


  • Devocalization (SB 660/HB 667).  SB 660 has passed the Senate and HB 667 has passed the House!  This bill bans debarking or surgically silencing dogs or cats.  The House and Senate originally adopted slightly different versions, but the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee accepted the House version last night.


  • School Reporting – Animal Cruelty (HB 222).  HB 222 has passed the House!  This bill adds felony animal cruelty to the list of offenses that must be reported to school officials by law enforcement.  It is awaiting a vote in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.


  • Tax Credit – Adopted Police Dogs (HB 1357).  Establishes an income tax credit for qualified veterinary expenses incurred by state or local police officers who adopt a police dog. It is awaiting a vote in the House Ways and Means Committee.  This bill has missed the crossover deadline so it is unlikely to move for this year.


  • Tax Credit – Dog/Cat Adoptions (HB 1358).  Establishes an income tax credit for people who adopt a dog or cat from an animal shelter.  It is awaiting a vote in the House Ways and Means Committee.  This bill has missed the crossover deadline so it is unlikely to move for this year.


Other dog bite related legislation:

  • Prohibiting Breed Discrimination (HB 422):  As amended, this bill would prohibit a dog from being deemed dangerous based solely on breed and would prohibit counties and municipalities from adopting breed specific laws in the future (but would not overturn existing BSL).  Even with these changes, this would represent a statewide anti-BSL policy, and that would be a huge step forward for Maryland!  HB 422 was just scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committeeon TUESDAY, April 1st at 1pm.  Please come if you can, and see the action item above. J


  • Dog Bite Reporting – Rabies (HB 1204): Requires the owner of a dog who bites someone to provide the injured person with proof of rabies vaccination. It is awaiting a vote in the House Environmental Matters Committee.  This bill has missed the crossover deadline so it is unlikely to move for this year.

Other animal related legislation:


  • Animal Abuser Registry (SB 912).  Establishes a centralized database of convicted animal abusers and an animal abuse registry fund, requires information in the registry to be available to the public, provides for an appeal process, prohibits animal shelters, pet stores and breeders from selling or adopting an animal to someone listed on the registry.  This bill is awaiting a vote in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.  This bill has missed the crossover deadline so it is unlikely to move for this year.


  • Feral Cats (SB 1010/HB 1473). This bill clarifies that the animal abandonment statute does not apply to a feral cat caretaker, and prohibits local jurisdictions from banning TNR or declaring feral cats a nuisance, potentially dangerous, or dangerous solely because they are unowned.  SB 1010 had a hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee last week and is awaiting a vote.  HB 1473 was filed late and is still in the House Rules Committee.  This bill has missed the crossover deadline so it is unlikely to move for this year.


  • Horse Slaughter (HB 1392).  This bill prohibits buying, selling or transporting horsemeat for human consumption or horses for slaughter for human consumption.  It received an unfavorable report from the House Environmental Matters Committee and is dead for the year.


  • Baltimore County Shelter (HB 1474).  This is also a late-filed bill that would require Baltimore County animal control to make it a priority to adopt unclaimed dogs or cats and establish a volunteer program.  It has been assigned to the House Rules Committee.  This bill has missed the crossover deadline so it is unlikely to move for this year.


Hunting related legislation:


  • Montgomery County Safety Zone (SB 309/HB 138):  HB 138 has passed the House and SB 309 has passed the Senate. As amended, this bill would reduce the “safety zone” for bowhunting in Montgomery County from 150 yards to 100 yards.  SB 309 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Environmental Affairs Committee on April 2nd at 1pm.


  • St. Mary’s Safety Zone (HB 1133):  HB 1133 has passed the House. This is a similar bill that would reduce the safety zone in St. Mary’s for bowhunting to 100 yards.



  • Statewide Sunday Hunting (HB 671 & HB 890).  HB 671 would authorize bow hunting of deer on private property on any Sunday of bow hunting season, and HB 890 would remove the county specific Sundayhunting provisions and allow DNR to establish Sunday hunting throughout the entire deer hunting season.  Counties that prohibitSunday hunting are exempt.  Both bills are waiting for votes in the House Environmental Affairs Committee.  These bills have missed the crossover deadline so they are unlikely to move for this year.


Advocacy in Baltimore County, MD

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Baltimore County is a county located in the northern part of the U.S. state of Maryland. As of the 2010 census, the population was 805,029. Baltimore County has a county run animal shelter, Baltimore County Animal Services, which is overseen by the Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and the Director of Health and Human Services, Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch.

In the last 12 month complains from animal advocates in Baltimore County became louder about insufficient animal care in the shelter and the high kill rate of healthy pets. Baltimore County Animal Services did not seem to take the complaints serious and decided to shut out volunteers and announced that more volunteers are not needed.

In response of this, animal advocates from Baltimore County formed a group, Reforming Baltimore County Animal Services.


We talked with the President of the group, Sarah Nickol:



Picture courtesy of Meredith Brown showing Sarah Nickol with dog Sarah who is available for adoption.


No Kill Allegany County: How did you become involved in animal welfare and advocacy?

Sarah Nickol: I think it is safe to say, I have been involved with animal welfare since the moment I could remember. It started with sneaking the dog food under the table, or insisting the family dog sleeps with me. As for advocacy, well that is my full-time job. I am social worker during the day. It just so happens that these two things finally collided for me.

NKAC: What can you tell us about the animal shelter in Baltimore County?

SN: What can I tell you about the shelter in Baltimore County? Well, first you have to find it. Then once you find it, you need to find a DeLorean and set it to 1930. When I say 1930, I am not referencing the structure, but every aspect of the county shelter: management, policies, operations, and the care provided at the shelter.

NKAC: You have become one of the leaders of the group Reform Baltimore County Animal Services. How did you get involved?

SN: I didn’t get my feet wet till our dog, Ginger passed in May/2013. Our dog that passed was my husband’s prior to our relationship, so this was truly going to be my first dog that I would be looking for as an independent adult with our own home. My only stipulation was the dog had to be a rescue dog. I told my husband he had to do all of the searching, because I had no ability to say “yes” to one and “no” to the rest. Time passed and my husband said, “Sarah you need to help me look.” He might regret that statement now. Needless to say, I discovered the animal rescue world on facebook. Of course we took in two puppers, a “re-home” and a rescue from BCAS. That is when I was introduced to Ms. Kathy Quinn. I am not sure who I fell in love with more, Jazzy (Rescue from BCAS) or Kathy. Jazzy was not easy for his past was not easy. At one point I called Kathy crying, and thinking the world was ending. Kathy showed up at my home so fast, and was there for our family. That will never leave me. As I began to follow Kathy I learned about BCAS. I truly didn’t think places like this existed anymore. I was like every other resident in Baltimore County. I was dumbfounded. My full-time job is advocating, so I did what I knew how to do, advocate.

NKAC: What are the goals of RBCAS and how do you hope to accomplish them?

SN: The animals that end up at our shelter don’t arrive because something amazing happen to them, they arrive because a human relationship failed. Yet, the shelter only exacerbates this. I want just the opposite. You don’t have to be an “animal lover,” but we all want a healthy functioning county, right? Providing a basic level of respect and care to some of the most vulnerable members of our society is having a healthy functioning county. Yes, animals are members of our society, whether you have a pet or not. I am sure you have a neighbor that believes their pet is a family member. Don’t we want a county that helps promote responsible, safe, care of pets? Ultimately I want BCAS to adapt the skills, policies and leaders that will implement all things needed to provide a SAFE, CLEAN, HEALTHY, & COMMUNITY FRIENDLY SHELTER.

NKAC: How do you see the future of Baltimore County Animal Services?

SN: There are many, wonderful, amazing people that came before me, that are still around, and those silently helping; I see a future they have all worked for, have fought for, cried for, and pleaded for. Those days are coming to an end. There is no turning back. This dirty secret is no longer a secret and we will make change. I am so excited for the future.
NKAC: Anything you would like to add?

SN: I can’t stress enough that we all have a role in this, every single role is of value. No contribution is too little. We must spread the word and demand better.

Thank you, Sarah Nickol, for the Interview. Sarah Nickol can be reached via e-mail:

Reform Baltimore County Animal Services also has a website which can be found here