Minutes - December 17, 2019 | www.charlescountymd.gov


Charles County, Maryland

Minutes - December 17, 2019

Tuesday, December 17, 2019




Tuesday, December 17, 2019

A meeting of the Animal Matters Hearing Board for Charles County, Maryland, was convened by the Maria Padgett, Chairperson at 6:00 p.m. in the County Commissioners Meeting Room, Charles County Government Building, with the following Board members.


Maria Padgett, Chairman

Matthew Cook, Vice Chairman

Eva Lightfoot

Christi Montgomery

Sgt. Travis Yates

Shanee’ Major-Kelly, Associate County Attorney

Melody Weschler, Acting Clerk

Samantha Knott, Paralegal

A quorum was declared based upon the presence of a majority of the appointed Board Members.


Old Business


Minutes of November 19, 2019 – A motion was made to approve the minutes of November 19, 2019 by Matthew Cook, seconded by Ava Lightfoot, all in favor.


Appeal/Citation 6892 David Gmaz


Ms. Major-Kelly updated the Board on the David Gmaz matter.  Mr. Gmaz has vaccinated all 19 cats and has provided all information needed to Animal Control. Officer Budd completed the inspection and a Fancier License was issued to Mr. Gmaz.  The appeal is still pending.  Mr. Gmaz agreed to withdraw the appeal at this time.  The Board discussed the pending fine from citation 6892.  Chairman Padgett made a motion to hold the fine in abeyance for one year, seconded by Mr. Cook, all in favor.


New Business


Citation 6901 Animal Control vs. Mary Whalen


The Clerk swore in Officer Allison Budd and Mary Whalen.  Officer Budd testified that on October 16, 2019 she responded to a call of a dog in a basement with collar embedded in its neck.  Officer Budd testified that the dog was not at the house but about 2 ½ hours later the dog was located running at large.  Officer Budd entered into evidence County exhibit 1, three photos and County exhibit 2, one photo, with no objection.  Officer Budd testified that Animal Control took the dog for medical treatment and entered into evidence County exhibit 3, 16 phots and the vet report, with no objection. 


Ms. Whalen testified that the dog had been at her residence for a couple of weeks.  Ms. Whalen testified that she told her grandchildren to feed the dog because she couldn’t let the dog starve.  Ms. Whalen also testified that she didn’t know where the dog came from and it was not her dog.  She also testified that she told her grandchildren to put the dog in the basement when it was cold.  Ms. Whalen testified that she heard the dog cry a lot. 


A motion was made by Christi Montgomery finding Ms. Whalen guilty of  section 230.8.A.6 animal cruelty, with a $1,000 fine, seconded by Sgt. Yates.  The Board discussed the fine.  Sgt. Yates made a suggestion of amending the motion to be $1,000 with $500 held in abeyance for one year.  Ms. Montgomery amended the motion to reflect the change, seconded by Sgt. Yates, all in favor.  Fine due by February 18, 2020.


Citation 6794 Animal Control versus Clayton Smith, Jr.


Mr. Smith did not show for the hearing.  Officer Jeff Gustafson was sworn by the Clerk.  Officer Gustafson testified that on November 10, 2019 he responded to aggressive dog at large.  When he arrived on the scene the owner was there and retrieved the dog.  Officer Gustafson testified that Mr. Smith advised that his dog was in season and was probably at the neighbor’s house where there was a male dog.


A motion was made by Mr. Cook finding Mr. Smith in violation of  section 230-12 animal at large, with a fine of $25.00 and section 230.12.1 improperly confined  female in season, with a fine of $50.00 for a total fine of $75.00 seconded by Ms. Montgomery, all in favor.  Fine due by January 7, 2020.


Citation 6839 Animal Control versus Christopher Apperson


Mr. Apperson and Officer Jeffrey Thomas were sworn by the Clerk.  Officer Thomas testified that on November 2, 2019 CCSO received a call that a dog had killed another dog and he responded to the call.   Officer Thomas testified that when he arrived on the scene the owner of the dog was there and the other dog had already died. 


Mr. Apperson stated that the dog had ran out of the house when his wife was opening the door and his sons were immediately in pursuit of the dog.  Mr. Apperson stated that he offered to take the dog to the vet but it was too late.  Mr. Apperson stated that his dog is not an aggressive dog and just wanted to play with the smaller dog.  Mr. Apperson provided verification of rabies vaccination and license dated December 11, 2019.


A motion was made by Mr. Cook finding Mr. Apperson in violation of section 230-9.A  failure to provided rabies certificate, with a fine of  zero, section 230-10.A individual license, with a fine of zero and section 230-12.5, with a fine of $50.00. The Board discussed changing from “potentially dangerous” to “dangerous” and was found to be dangerous with restrictions of 230-12.5 E(1), (2), (3), (4), (5a, b, c), (6), (7), (8) and G.  Animal Control to come to Mr. Apperson’s home in 30 days to check that restrictions are in place, seconded by Ms. Lightfoot, all in favor.  Mr. Apperson paid fine at that time.


File No. 19-41 Debbie Dudak versus Gary & Tina Sweeney


Debbie Dudak and Tina Sweeney were sworn by the Clerk.  Ms. Dudak testified that Ms. Sweeney’s dog is always running loose and defecates on her property.  Ms. Dudak entered into evidence Complainant’s exhibit 1, two photos, with objection from Ms. Sweeney.  Ms. Dudak brought a witness, Jodi Martz, who was sworn by the Clerk.  Ms. Martz stated that she lives the next court over but she walks in front of Ms. Sweeney’s house and the dog is never on a leash. 


Ms. Sweeney testified that the dog is on her property.  She also made comments regarding Ms. Dudak’s character.  After being advised by Chairperson Padgett to remain civil, Ms. Sweeney left the meeting with no further testimony.


A motion was made by Mr. Cook finding Ms. Sweeney in violation of section 12.4.A.1 at large, with a fine of $50.00, section 12.4.A.8 allowed to defecate on public property and/or urinate on private property, with a fine of $100, seconded by Ms. Montgomery, all in favor.  Total fine of $150.  Fine due January 21, 2020.



Other Business


Ms. Weschler advised the Board that $5,450 was collected in fines for 2019.


Ms. Major-Kelly updated the Board on the appeal of J. Adams which has been dismissed in the Circuit Court and the Board’s order has been carried out by Animal Control.


Chief Tucker updated the Board on the case heard on November 19, 2019, Animal Control versus Darrell Battle.  Mr. Battle did not reclaim his animals and they have been adopted from the Animal Shelter. 


There being no further business Mr. Cook made a motion to adjourn the hearing, seconded by Ms. Montgomery. All members voted in favor and the hearing was adjourned at 7:05 p.m.





Melody Weschler, Acting Clerk