Baltimore County leadership is ramping up efforts to improve animal adoption rates from the county-run animal shelter in Baldwin with a new facility, expanded services and reduced prices.
"We will continue to do all that we can to encourage pet adoption and responsible pet ownership in Baltimore County," Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said in a statement. "I know first hand how pets add much joy to their owner's lives, and the more adoptions we encourage, the less burden there will be on our shelter."
On Tuesday, Kamenetz announced that the county will expand its spay and neuter services so that county residents can utilize sterilization services even for pets not adopted from the shelter.
"We continue to improve our Animal Services operation, and this new initiative will allow County residents to spay and neuter their pets at a very reasonable cost," Kamenetz said in a release. "The package of services is priced to improve public health by encouraging all County residents to spay/ neuter their pets in order to avoid abandonment of unwanted cats and dogs, to use technology to assist in the return of stray animals, and to vaccinate their pets against the spread of rabies."
If the County Council approves, the new policy will begin on January 13.
In addition to being accessible to all county residents, spay and neuter services will also be easier to access. Last month, the county initiated a program that will allow spay and neuter services to be done on site at the Division of Animal Services Facility in Baltimore at the time of adoption. And the $65 adoption fee covers the spay/neuter services.
Earlier this fall, County Executive Kamenetz also announced plans for a new $5 million Animal Services facility. According to a news release, the new facility is being constructed on the 14 acres of land where the current Animal Services office and kennel are located. The current shelter is more than 30 years old and inadequate in size and design to meet the demands of managing stray and adoptable animals, according to a Baltimore County news release.
The proposed structure 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/socialization room, additional parking, and office space for staff and volunteers.
It's getting cheaper to adopt and sterilize animals in Baltimore County, too. In addition to expanded services and a new facility, the County will also occasionally offer "Deep Discount Days" at which fees for adoption and sterilization will be reduced by up to 50 percent.
The cat adoption fee is also being reduced from $65 to $50. The adoption fee covers the cost of first distemper and rabies shots, deworming, a county license, a micro-chip, and spay/neuter services.
"With the County's Animal Shelter located in my district, these issues are very important to me," 3rd District Councilman Todd Huff said in a statement. "I have been working closely with the administration to improve the operation of the entire facility. This latest effort is good for my district and good for the County."