www.co.worcester.md.us

Animal Control Educating Public on New Legislation

Snow Hill, MD (August 23, 2021) – Worcester County Animal Control (WCAC) officers launched a campaign to educate the public about legislation adopted earlier this summer that strengthens local laws protecting domestic animals. The new legislation increases the level of accountability for commercial kennel operators and pet owners, and it allows abandoned and stray dogs and cats to enter the adoption process more quickly.

“The new regulations prevent breeders from making a profit by mistreating or inhumanely housing animals,” Chief Animal Control Officer Glen Grandstaff said. “We are working to bring commercial breeders and private pet owners into compliance with the new regulations. We are providing them with the information and the tools to be more responsible pet owners.”

Bill 21-3 revises the kennel license code and adds regulations that require record keeping for vaccinations and healthcare for breeders involved in the sale of kittens or puppies. It also increases the enforcement authority of WCAC related to those involved in commercial operations, defines suitable shelter, and establishes certain conditions in which tethering an animal is not acceptable.

This legislation also lowers the stray hold period for cats and dogs from 10 days to the industry standard of three business days. However, it does not reduce the 10-day observation period for stray cats and dogs that may not be immediately adoptable or able to be placed with a rescue agency.

“Thanks to the new bill, we can now place animals into the adoption program or with a suitable rescue program within three days of coming to WCAC instead of remaining on hold for 10 days. This alleviates a lot of stress for the animals and significantly improves their adoptability. So, we want to get them out of the cages as quickly as possible and into the adoption process.”

Staff closely evaluates all shelter animals and partners with multiple agencies and nonprofits to rehome friendly, approachable animals that are not adopted during their time at WCAC.

WCAC, Development Review and Permitting, the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office, and County Attorney Roscoe Leslie drafted the new legislation, which the commissioners unanimously adopted on June 15 as Bill 21-3 (Public Safety – Animal Control). A copy of Bill 21-3 is available at https://www.co.worcester.md.us. To learn more about the many loving animals available for adoption through WCAC, call 410-632-1340.