This letter is in response to Sharon Trego’s letter entitled, “More laws needed to protect dogs” printed in the January 22 Recorder. Ms. Trego, I couldn’t agree with you more. I am not sure how long you have lived in Calvert County, but I have been here for 17 years now. When I first moved into this county, I was sickened by the living conditions of a chained black Labrador Retriever on Wilson Road. I had recently joined a national group called Dogs Deserve Better. After numerous citizens asked me to check on this dog’s welfare, I did. I soon found out that Calvert County had absolutely no provisions for the constant chaining of dogs.
I grew up in a humane neighborhood in Montgomery County where dogs were family members and inside the home the majority of the time. I could hardly believe the horrors I saw in this county. The owner did not want the dog and signed him over to me. He told me that he would hit the dog, who had no name, in the head with a hammer when he barked too much. This dog was chained outside to a tree for four long years. When I rescued him, he was filthy, had heartworms, and was fearful of pretty much everything. This dog is now living with a wonderful woman in our county, inside the home, and has been relieved from his suffering. Not all dogs are this lucky.
In 2005, when we had Delegate Sue Kullen in Annapolis representing us, I went to her with students in my Humane Society Club. Delegate Kullen sat with us for hours and listened to our pleas regarding the inhumane treatment of dogs. At the time, the Calvert County Commissioners could not change the animal control ordinances in our county without permission from Annapolis. Former Commissioner Linda Kelley and Delegate Sue Kullen accomplished this feat, and the BOCC could now update our animal control ordinances. Delegate Sue Kullen is a friend to the animals, and I will be voting for her in this upcoming election to regain her seat in Annapolis. She has proven to me that she is true to her word. I encourage all animal loving citizens of Calvert County to do the same. I will be writing more on this topic as election time grows closer.
In 2006 a Citizens Advisory Committee was established to review the animal control laws in Calvert County. The committee listened to all sides of the issue. One of the items that I pushed very hard for was an anti-tethering/penning law. Not only is it inhumane, but we have had cases of children, horses and adults being mauled and killed in this county by penned dogs that escape or chained dogs that are set free. I thought for sure the county commissioners would be reasonable and enact some sort of relief for these dogs at least from a public safety stance.
The night of the hearing, when I testified, Commissioner Gerald Clark could not understand why a dog could not be left in a barn at night regardless of the temperature. The animal control officer present explained that a dog must have an enclosure small enough so that its body heat can provide relief. Commissioner Susan Shaw felt that any law that interfered with an owner’s right to do whatever he/she wanted to do with their own animal was too intrusive. Commissioner Barbara Stinnett had no interest in providing relief to dogs. In fact, after the committee finished their work, she remarked that the commissioners do not take much stock in what Citizen Advisory Committees have to say anyhow.
The four commissioners that did not listen and use the opportunity to pass an ordinance to provide relief to chained and penned dogs were: Barbara Stinnett, Susan Shaw, Gerald Clark and Wilson Parran. Commissioner Linda Kelley was the only commissioner in favor of enacting a provision for the relief of chained and penned dogs. I can t