Public Hearings - Code Home Rule 1-2010- Animal Control Ordinance

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PUBLIC HEARING - March 2, 2010

Code Home Rule 1-2010- Animal Control Ordinance


March 2, 2010

A public hearing was held today at 9:20 a.m. in the County Commissioners’ Hearing Room, 400 High Street, Chestertown, MD on Code Home Rule Bill No. 1-2010, which is an Act to repeal and re-enact with amendments, Chapter 64, Article I (“Animals”), Sections 64-1 through 64-11 of the Code of Public Local Laws of Kent County, Maryland (Ed. 2005), reinstating language inadvertently omitted and making certain technical changes to Article II (Foxes).

County Commissioners Roy Crow, Ronald Fithian, and William Pickrum, were in attendance as well as Susanne Hayman, County Administrator, Edward Birkmire, Executive Director, Humane Society, Paul Showalter, Animal Control Officer, approximately eight interested persons and two members of the media.

Commissioner Crow read the Notice of Public Hearing into the record.

Commissioner Crow requested that the Latin word “nolle prosequi” contained in §64 – 5 “Restraints” (B) “Public Nuisance”-2 be changed to read “dismissed.”

In response to question raised by Commissioner Crow regarding Section §64-6 “Impoundment” (E) “Proof of Ownership”, regarding the costs to permanently identify the animals. Mr. Birkmire informed that the Humane Society currently microchips animals because it does not have the capability to tattoo at this time. The microchip allows lost animals to be identified and returned to their owners. The Humane Society imposes a fee of $15.00 for this service. Mr. Birkmire noted that the $15.00 does not entirely cover the costs of this service. He added that this section of the bill has always been included in the law; however, there were a couple of words that were added. Mr. Birkmire stated that there have been accusations from feral cat groups that this fee is being applied in order to make money for the Humane Society programs. He stated this is not true, and that in the past feral cats were not identified or redeemed once they were brought into the Humane Society and therefore they were not micro-chipped. With the new feral cat program, feral cat colony owners are claiming the cats and they are being micro-chipped. In response to question raised by the County Administrator, Mr. Birkmire informed that there are sometimes additional fees other than the micro-chipping fees (i.e. vaccination charges) depending on the circumstances.

Commissioner Crow questioned what technical changes are being made in regards to Article II- Foxes. It was stated that this section was mistakenly omitted from the amendment adopted in November, 2009. There were no changes to this section from the original language. Commissioner Crow questioned how this article would affect any fox hunts that occur. Mr. Birkmire stated that this area is related more to the Department of Natural Resources. He stated that to his knowledge there are no rules against someone who harms a fox out of protection, but there are rules against harming a fox for commercial reasons. Commissioner Crow stated that he may request clarification to be included in the legislation before it is passed.

In response to question raised by Tim Lloyd, clarification was provided that the legislation does not prevent one from protecting their dog if a fox with rabies were on their property and endangering the dog.

In response to question raised by Mr. Lloyd, Mr. Birkmire informed that four individuals have accepted the paperwork to identify how many feral cats they have, and one of the four has been returned the paperwork. There are no official feral cat colonies at this time. Mr. Birkmire encouraged anyone with two or more feral cats to come to the Humane Society to begin the identification process.

This hearing was taped and referenced and adjourned at 9:40 a.m.


Janice F. Fletcher
Executive Assistant
Roy W. Crow, President