Minutes - August 6, 2019
ANIMAL MATTERS HEARING BOARD
FOR CHARLES COUNTY, MARYLAND MINUTES OF MEETING
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
The regularly scheduled meeting of the Animal Matters Hearing Board for Charles County, Maryland, was convened by the Chairperson at 6:00 p.m. in the County Commissioners Meeting Room, Charles County Government Building, with the following Board members.
Maria Padgett, Chairperson
Sgt. Travis Yates
Shanee’ Major-Kelly, Associate County Attorney
Jesse Bungcayao, 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 July 16, 2019 were approved and adopted.
Citation 6876 – Animal Control versus James Washington
James Washington and Officer Allison Budd were sworn by the Clerk. Officer Budd provided testimony regarding the incident which happened on July 22, 2019. Officer Budd responded to a call at Weiss Market in La Plata for a dog locked in a car. Upon arriving at the scene Corporal Ricky Fields from the La Plata Police Department was the first to arrive on the scene. Corporal Fields was sworn by the Clerk. Corporal Fields stated that on July 22 he was dispatched to the Weiss Market in La Plata for a dog in distress. Upon arriving he found a small dog locked in a pickup truck with all the windows up. Shortly after arriving on the scene Mr. Washington and his son-in-law returned to the truck and opened the doors. The dog was given water and the air condition was turned on in the truck. Corporal Fields advised that the dog did not seem in distress at the time he arrived on the scene. Officer Budd testified that when she arrived on the scene the dog was already out of the car. She advised that the temperature was 86 degrees that day and the dog did not seem to be in distress. Officer Budd inquired how long Mr. Washington had been in Weiss and he responded about 20 minutes. Officer Budd issued citation 6876 to Mr. Washington for animal cruelty.
Mr. Washington testified that he loved his dog and would never do anything to harm the dog, it was his best friend. He advised that he had went into Weiss for about 20 minutes but he thought his son-in-law had left the windows down for the dog.
Ms. Shelton made a motion finding Mr. Washington in violation of section 230-8, Animal Cruelty with a fine of $100.00, seconded by Sgt. Travis Yates, all in favor. The fine is due September 3, 2019.
Citation 6892 – Animal Control versus David Gmaz
David Gmaz was sworn by the Clerk. Officer Budd testified that Mr. Gmaz was before the Board on November 20th, 2018 and again on May 21st, 2019 which ordered him to submit and obtain a Fancier License to Charles County within 30 days of each hearing date. An application was received on July 9th, 2019 for the Fancier License, the fee was paid and rabies vaccine certificates were also submitted. Officer Budd advised that 17 of 19 rabies vaccine certificates were expired. Mr. Gmaz had no objection to the Board receiving copies of 19 rabies vaccine certificates as County exhibit 1. Officer Budd advised that Mr. Gmaz could not be licensed as a Fancier until all rabies vaccine certificates were brought up to date. Officer Budd issued a citation for Animal Fancier License and Public Nuisance – violation of Board’s previous Order.
Mr. Gmaz testified that he had done what he was ordered to do and that no one told him that the rabies vaccine certificates had expired. He thought a rabies vaccination was a one time shot. He stated that he would have to catch the 19 cats and have them vaccinated and the last time it took him two years to catch all the cats to have them vaccinated.
Chairperson Padgett made a motion to go into legal session, seconded by Katie Shelton, all in favor.
Following legal session, the Board resumed with questions for Mr. Gmaz. Katie Shelton made a motion finding Mr. Gmaz in violation of section 230-10.B, Animal Fancier License with a fine of $300.00 and section 230-12.4 public nuisance – violation of Board’s previous order with a fine of $400 and going forward being limited to 10 or more cats on his property with 30 days to come into compliance, doing this Mr. Gmaz will no longer need a Fancier License. All remaining cats must be up to date with their rabies vaccinations. Seconded by Sgt. Travis Yates. All in favor. Mr. Gmaz was advised that he has 30 days in which to appeal to the Circuit Court. The fine is due September 3, 2019 if the appeal is not filed, if appeal is filed it is due September 5, 2019.
Citation 6877 – Animal Control versus Tiffany Wedding
Tiffany Wedding was sworn by the Clerk. Officer Budd testified that on July 29th, 2019 she responded to a citizen who approached her regarding a dog that was tied out to a carport. Officer Budd responded to the residence to check on the welfare of the dog. Officer Budd identified the address as a home where citation # 6703 had been issued for a dangerous and vicious dog in July 2017. The Board issued an order on August 1, 2017 to Tiffany Wedding for a dog named Brownie. On the order issued August 1, 2017 it was ordered that Brownie was not to be tethered outside and within a double enclosure. Officer Budd contacted Ms. Wedding who indicted that the dog was not Brownie. Officer Budd entered into evidence, without objection, two photographs of a dog. Officer Budd also entered into evidence, without objection, photographs of the dog being tethered on the day of the citation. Officer Budd testified that she spoke to a neighbor who verified that the dog was Brownie. The dog was scanned and it was verified that the dog was Brownie. Officer Budd impounded Brownie and issued a citation for public nuisance, violation of Board’s previous order. The dog is current on her vaccines and license and is microchipped. There currently is a reclaim and board fee due at the Tri-County Shelter for $160.00. The dog is currently at Tri-County Animal Shelter.
Ms. Wedding is in violation of the order issued on August 1, 2017 of the following: dog was tethered, was not in a double closure, was not attended by owner, no sign was posted and the dog was on a leash that was at least 25 feet.
Ms. Wedding testified that her daughters were at home and had put the dog on the tethered to go to the bathroom. Ms. Wedding thought that the dog that was tied out was their other dog not Brownie. Ms. Wedding stated that the other incident was other two years ago and Brownie is their family dog so her daughters didn’t know that she shouldn’t be outside by herself. She said that Brownie is normally inside the house until she gets home. Ms. Wedding admitted that she was at fault and apologized.
Ms. Shelton made a motion finding Ms. Wedding in violation of section 230-12.5, public nuisance, failure to comply with the Charles County Animal Regulations in the keeping of a dangerous and/or vicious or potentially dangerous animal with a fine of $500. Additionally, restrictions pursuant to section 230-12.5(E) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, with proof of spading within 30 days, and 8, seconded by Ms. Lightfoot. Chairperson Padgett added Animal Control to reinspect within 30 days for compliance. Shelter Fee of $160 to be paid to the Tri-County Animal Shelter. All in favor. The fine is due by September 3, 2019. Ms. Wedding was advised of her appeal rights.
Citation 6878 – Animal Control vs. Raymond Minor
Raymond Minor was sworn by the Clerk. Officer Jeffrey Thomas was sworn by the Clerk. Officer Thomas testified that on July 15, 2019 responded to the call of two dogs running in the neighborhood and trying to attack the neighbors. Officer Thomas arrived on the scene and located the two dogs, a pit bull type and Rottweiler, running at large. He stated that they were relatively easy to catch. The dogs were impounded and taken to Tri-County Animal Shelter. On July 16, 2019, after discussion with other Animal Control Officers it was thought that one of the dogs impounded, the Rottweiler, was Clyde, who had been previously deemed potentially dangerous and vicious by the Board on May 21, 2019. Officer Thomas posted the house of the owner of Clyde with the impound notice to be get in contact with Animal Control to reclaim the animals. Office Thomas spoke with Mr. Minor on the 18th of July regarding what would be occurring next and that Mr. Minor would have to appear before the Animal Matters Hearing Board. A citation was issued on July 25th. Clyde is still at the Shelter and was sick during his stay and there are bills associated with that to be paid. Officer Thomas submitted into evidence without objection County exhibit 1 and 2, both invoices totaling $573 from the Tri-County Animal Shelter a reclaim fee, board, microchipping, and neutering. The second dog, pit bull type, is still at the Animal Shelter and has been unclaimed.
Mr. Minor testified that he takes full responsibility for the dogs getting out because his grandson who was staying with him let the dogs out of the kennel and into the yard without the dogs being monitored. Mr. Minor stated that he didn’t understand the terms of the last order regarding neutering. Mr. Minor also stated that he can’t afford the fines to reclaim the dog but would like to keep him.
The Board took a brief recess for a legal session.
Mr. Minor agreed to sign the dog over to Animal Control due to the fact that he cannot afford the fines. Officer Thomas provided Mr. Minor with the form to release the dog to Animal Control.
Sgt. Yates made a motion finding Mr. Minor in violation of section 230-12, animal at large, with a $100 fine, suspending the fine, section 230.12.5, failure to comply with the Charles County Animal Control regulations in the keeping of a dangerous and/or vicious animal, fine of $1,000, suspending the fine due to dog being turned over to Animal Control. Seconded by Ms. Shelton, all in favor.
Citation 6875 - Animal Control versus Christopher Feaster
Christopher Feaster was not in attendance. One continuance had already been granted on this matter.
Officer Budd testified that June 28th, 2019, she responded to a call for a crate of puppies with no water and appeared to be dehydrated. There was no one in the residence and there was a puppies for sale sign at the house. Officer Budd testified that it was 89 degrees that day and the crate was located in the sun and the gate was shut and nobody was outside in the yard. Officer Budd testified that she had been to the home several times and had advised Mr. Feaster that if he planned on breeding that he would need to have breeder’s license. She arrived at the home on this day, the owner of the home arrived 50 minutes later. Officer Budd entered into evidence 10 photographs marked as County’s exhibit 1. The puppies were taken inside the home, Officer Budd issued a citation.
Sgt. Yates made a motion to continue the matter and give Mr. Feaster a chance to come to the meeting, seconded by Ms. Lightfoot. All in favor. The matter will be continued to the September 17th meeting.
Chairperson Padgett asked to have a check on the puppies and Officer Budd agreed to go the next day.
There being no further business the Chairperson motioned to adjourn the hearing. The motion was seconded by Sgt. Yates. All members voted in favor and the hearing was adjourned at 7:19 p.m.
Melody Weschler, Acting Clerk