Anti-Animal Abuse Taskforce Has Successful First Public Meeting
Thursday Sep 17th, 2009
The Mayor’s Anti-Animal Abuse Taskforce met with members of the public on Wednesday evening, September 16, 2009 to hear concerns from Baltimore residents and stake holders.
About 100 people turned out at the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute at 1400 W. Coldspring Lane to discuss their concerns and suggest solutions. For many it was a last minute venture as notification went out late, but turn out was pretty good for this kind of meeting and the suggestions were great according to Caroline Griffin, Anti-Animal Abuse Taskforce chairperson.
In addition to concerned individuals, folks from rescues who are often left to care for the animal victims of abuse lucky enough to find themselves rescued, as well as advocacy groups and organizations like B-More Dog and the Snyder Foundation were all in attendance. As were staff and volunteers from BARCS (Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter) which, in conjunction with Baltimore City Animal Control, is often the first line to a new life for many of the animals that survive abuse. Teachers, humane educators and those organizing grassroots efforts to combat abuse were also represented.
While Ms. Griffin noted several themes among the issues raised, the meeting seemed to be more about ideas, solutions and how both individuals and organization can help. “Many of the attendees expressed their interest in being part of programs to combat animal abuse in Baltimore,” says Griffin. “Others offered really great suggestions, such as information displayed on MTA buses, the involvement of schools and faith based organizations as well as help from the Ravens and Orioles to get the anti-abuse message out into the community.”
Ms. Griffin notes specifically a suggestion by a teacher attending the meeting. Animals used to be part of the classroom. Children learned to care for them and about them as an important life lesson in empathy. We need to include animals in the classroom again so that children who may not otherwise have a positive interaction with another creature are given that opportunity.
“We also need to address the fact that the City has only 16 animal control officers and that because they are not police officers they do not have the authority that police officers have.” Griffin says.
While Animal Control attempts to respond to complaints as they come in, they are spread rather thin. One solution offered is to assign a police officer to accompany Animal Control on specific cases where greater authority may be necessary.
Ms. Griffin was please to see so many concerned individuals make time to come out and contribute to the meeting despite the late notice. When asked what one thing a person might do to help combat animal abuse Griffin suggests getting involved with BARCS. “The folks at BARCS are trying to do such good work to help animals and people, but are just overwhelmed by the numbers and need. Go to the shelter, volunteer, foster, donate, adopt.”
Anyone can combat animal abuse and be a hero for the most vulnerable members of our community, the animals. To learn about volunteer opportunities at BARCS click here or contact BARCS’ volunteer coordinator by clicking here.