May 7, 2019 Minutes
ANIMAL MATTERS HEARING BOARD
FOR CHARLES COUNTY, MARYLAND MINUTES OF MEETING
The regularly scheduled meeting of the Animal Control Board for Charles County, Maryland, was convened by the Chairman at 6:09 p.m. in the County Commissioners Meeting Room, Charles County Government Building, with the following Board members in attendance.
Maria Padgett, Chair
Matthew Cook, Vice Chair
Sgt. Travis Yates
Bill Van Blarcum
Shanee’ Major-Kelly, Associate County Attorney
Maria Team, Clerk
Jesse Bungcayao, Assistant Clerk
Samantha Knott, Paralegal
A quorum was declared based upon the presence of a majority of the appointed Board Members;
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Animal Matters Hearing Board for April 16, 2019 were approved and adopted.
File No. 19-10 – The case of Patrick & Bernadette Clerkin against Michelle Robillard was called. The complainants, Mr. and Mrs. Clerkin, were not present therefore the case was dismissed.
File No. 19-08 – The case of Kristin Rutland against Kiana Petty was called. Testimony was heard from Ms. Rutland and Ms. Petty. Ms. Rutland alleged that Ms. Petty was in violation of Sections 12.4.A.1, 12.4.A.2, 12.4.A.3. Ms. Rutland testified that Ms. Petty allows her dog, Sasha, to roam at large in a common area to the residences and has on one occasion shown vicious behavior. Entered into evidence were 12 photos marked Complainant Exhibit 1. Ms. Petty testified that Ms. Rutland was very fond of Sasha and that her complaint stems from a personal conflict between Ms. Rutland and Ms. Petty.
Ms. Christi Montgomery made a motion to find Ms. Petty in violation of Section 12.4.A.1 (Animal at Large) with a fine of $25.00 and not in violation of Section 12.4.A.2 or 12.4.A.3.
The motion was seconded by Mr. Matthew Cook with all members voting in favor to pass the motion and the motion passed.
File No. 19-11 – The case of Charles Cauffman against Joseph Gurtoski was called. The complainant, Charles Cauffman, was present and Ms. Tasha Williams was present and claimed ownership of the animal(s). Testimony was heard from Mr. Cauffman, Ms. Williams, and Animal Control Officer Thomas.
Mr. Cauffman alleged that Ms. Williams is in violation of Section 12.4.A.1 and 12.4.A.6.
Mr. Cauffman testified that Ms. Williams’ dogs bark at all hours of the day and night. On one occasion the dogs tried to come through the fence to reach Mr. Cauffman’s guests working on his home, and on another occasion dug a hole, damaging his fence and coming onto his property. He also testified that the dogs also tried “busting” into his sliding glass door. Animal Control and the Charles County Sheriff’s Office was called to respond.
Officer Thomas testified that there have been several calls this year regarding the barking. He spoke to Ms. Williams on several occasions and explained the County rules for barking. Ms. Williams On the date the dogs were on Mr. Cauffman’s property, while Officer Thomas was attempting to catch the dogs, the owners came out and called them in but were unresponsive to Mr. Thomas when he came to the door to speak to them.
Ms. Williams testified that she was unaware that her two dogs, Jack Russell Terrier/Pug mix, got out and no one let her know. She also testified that her dogs do not sleep outside but during the day the dogs have barked at people doing work on her neighbor’s property. She also indicated that there are other dogs barking in the neighborhood as well. Ms. Williams intends to have a fence installed on her property but as a temporary solution has put the doghouse in front of the hole.
Mr. Travis Yates made a motion to find Ms. Williams in violation of 12.4.A.6 in the amount of $50 and in violation of 12.4.A.1 with a fine of $50 for a total of $100.00. Ms. Christi Montgomery seconded the motion and will all members voting in favor, the motion passed.
Citation Nos. 6865-6867 – issued to Maria Colorado for the alleged violation of Section(s) 230.10.A, 230.8, and 230.9.A of the Charles County Animal Regulations for three dogs being left unattended in a parked vehicle. Testimony was heard from Ms. Colorado and Animal Control Officer Alison Budd. Ms. Colorado was represented by legal counsel, Hugh Williams.
Officer Bud testified that they received a call for dogs left unattended in a vehicle at Starbucks and when she arrived there was no one near the car or in Starbucks in La Plata who owned the vehicle. Entered into evidence were two photos marked as County Exhibit 1 and a pet care and temperature summary as County Exhibit 2. Officer Budd stated that the surface temperature was 102 degrees and the air temperature was 93 degrees.
Ms. Colorado testified that she and her children went into Starbucks and afterwards went to into Family Dollar but checked on them often and were not gone for very long and the temperature was 73 degrees outside and not very hot. Ms. Colorado produced proof of rabies vaccinations and licenses in Prince George’s County where she resides with her three dogs.
Mr. Matthew Cook made a motion to find Ms. Colorado not in violation of Sections 230.10.A and 230.9.A and in violation of Section 230.8.A with a fine of $50 for each citation for a total of $150.00. The motion was seconded by Mr. Yates with all members voting in favor to pass the motion.
Citation Nos. 6880 – issued to Christopher Windham for the alleged violation of Sections 230.12, 230.9.A, 230.12.5. Mr. Windham was not present at the hearing. Testimony was heard from Officer Thomas who stated that Charles County Sheriff’s Office responded to a dog attack on a minor. The animal remained at large. Animal Control tracked down the owner based on a loss report made. Animal Control placed traps to capture the dog, but it was still at large. After making contact with the owner, citations were issued.
Mr. Matthew Cook made a motion to find Mr. Windham in violation of Sections 230.12, 230.9.A, and 230.12.5 (Dangerous and vicious) with a total fine of $450.00. The Board also implemented Section 230.12.5.F and ordered the dog to be humanely euthanized if caught or turned into Animal Control.
Ms. Christy Montgomery seconded the motion with all members voting in favor to pass the motion.
File No. 19-07 – (Continuance issued prior to hearing)
Chief of Animal Control, Edward Tucker provided an update to the Board on the status of File 19-05, Oscar Zelaya. Animal Control was asked to do a compliance inspection and Mr. Zelaya is in fact in compliance.
Associate County Attorney presented the Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Charles County Animal Matters Hearing Board for adoption.
Mr. Matthew Cooke made a motion to adopt the Rules and Procedures for the Animal Matters Hearing Board. The motion was seconded by Ms. Christi Montgomery with all members voting in favor and the motion passed to adopt the Animal Matters Hearing Board Rules and Procedures.
Associate County Attorney, Shanee’ Major-Kelly advised the board that the appealed cases for Renee Ford-Thomas was dismissed.
A motion to adjourn was made by Mr. Matthew Cooke and seconded by Ms. Christi Montgomery. All members voted in favor.
There being no further business, the Chairman adjourned the hearing at 8:59 p.m.