Minutes - November 19, 2019
ANIMAL MATTERS HEARING BOARD
FOR CHARLES COUNTY, MARYLAND MINUTES OF MEETING
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
A meeting of the Animal Matters Hearing Board for Charles County, Maryland, was convened by the Maria Padgett, Chairperson at 6:05 p.m. in the County Commissioners Meeting Room, Charles County Government Building, with the following Board members.
Maria Padgett, Chairman
Matthew Cook, Vice Chairman
Sgt. Travis Yates (Arrived at 6:30)
Bill Van Blarcum
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.
Minutes of October 15, 2019 – A motion was made to approve the minutes of October 15, 2019 by Matthew Cook, seconded by Katie Shelton, all in favor.
Citation 6837 – Animal Control versus Juanette T. Poles
Officer Jeffrey Thomas and Juanette Poles were sworn by the Clerk. Officer Thomas testified that on November 4th, 2019 he responded to a call of a dog attack. When he arrived at the scene he found that the dog which was attacked had died from its injuries. Officer Thomas stated he did not witness the attack but there were witnesses that were in attendance and could testify.
Dana Clark was sworn by the Clerk. She was the owner of the dog that was killed in the attack. Ms. Clark testified that she did not witness the attack. She stated that she heard a horrific noise and ran out of the house. She testified that she saw her son fighting off the neighbor’s pit bull that was attacking their dog. She stated that her son, Dominic Clark, could testifying to what happened.
Dominic Clark was sworn by the Clerk. Mr. Clark testified that he was returning to his house from walking their two dogs when the neighbor’s front door was opened and the dog (Karma) rushed out of the house and began attacking his dogs. One of his dogs was able to get away and run home. He stated that he was walking on the sidewalk at the end of the driveway when the dog came rushing out. He testified that he kept hitting the dog trying to get it to release his dog. The neighbor’s son, Kevin Poles, Jr., pursued Karma but was unable to get the her under control. Mr. Poles told Mr. Clark to stop hitting his dog. When Karma finally released the other dog, the dog was dead.
Officer Thomas responded to the call and when he arrived on the scene he interviewed Mr. Poles and examined Karma and found no injuries. Officer Thomas submitted into evidence, County 1, a Bite Report, with no objections. Office Thomas advised the Board that there were no previous violations for this dog.
Ms. Clark admitted into evidence with no objection, County 2- pictures of her dog after the attack.
Ms. Poles testified that she did not witness the attack but her son and husband were there. Kevin Poles, Jr., was sworn by the Clerk. Mr. Poles testified that he opened the door and his dog, Karma, heard the small dog barking and ran out the house. He also stated that the small dog attacked his dog first and she was just defending herself, and that she had a bite mark on her neck. Mr. Poles testified that after he was able to get Karma away from the other dog he put her in the house. He also stated that he and his mother walked over to Ms. Clarke’s home but they heard Ms. Clarke threaten them while on the phone so they left.
Tim Mitcheltree was sworn by the Clerk. He is a neighbor and witnessed the event as he was standing in the street talking with Mr. Clark. He also had a security video of the event which had not been submitted previously therefore could not be submitted as evidence with no objection. Mr. Mitcheltree testified that Karma came rushing out of the house and attacked the small dog. He stated that Mr. Clark was on public property and not on the Poles’ property.
After discussion, Mr. Cook made a motion finding Ms. Poles in violation of 230-10.A, Individual License with a fine of $50.00 and under 230.12.5.A finding Karma vicious with a $500 fine and to be euthanized. Seconded by Mr. Van Blarcum. Further discussion was had with disagreement with euthanizing the dog as it was the dog’s first offense. Mr. Cook amended his motion finding violation of 230-10.A with a fine of $50, and under 230.12.5.A finding Karma vicious with a $500 fine with restrictions E(1); E(2); E(3); E(4); E(5)(a); E(5)(b); E(5)(c) and G, seconded by Ms. Shelton, all in favor. Total fine of $550 due within 30 days by December 17, 2019.
Citation 6793 – Animal Control versus Michele Pittard
Officer Jeff Gustafson and Michele Pittard were sworn by the Clerk. Officer Gustafson testified that on October 23, 2019 he responded to a call of a dog attacking the owner. When he arrived on the scene the dog was in the house and the owner was outside the house. Ms. Pittard surrender the dog and the dog is currently at Tri-County Animal Shelter.
Ms. Pittard testified that she had rescued the dog and only had the dog for about 10 days. She said that she was advised by the Rescue that the dog had a bit history when it was in Georgia. She also advised that the dog had bite her once before. She stated that she and her son had come home that evening, she was taking the dog out and her son had food and the dog was trying to get the food and she tried to stop him and he bite her on both forearms. Ms. Pittard stated that she just wanted to return the dog to the Rescue.
Ms. Cynthia Coulter, R&T Loving PAWS Rescue, Indian Head, was sworn in by the Clerk. Ms. Coulter stated that she was the Rescue that placed the dog with Ms. Pittard. She advised that Ms. Pittard was advised of the bite history and felt she could handle the dog. Ms. Coulter further stated that the dog had been with her for three months prior to being adopted. She stated that she would not adopt the dog out again but would keep it herself.
Officer Gustafson stated that the dog has not been aggressive while at the shelter.
Mr. Cook made a motion finding the dog as dangerous and/or vicious with no fine, with restrictions put into place including not being adopted to anyone in the future, seconded by Ms. Lightfoot.
Chief Tucker advised the Board that Ms. Coulter lives on the base in Indian Head and Animal Control does not have any jurisdiction on the base.
Mr. Cook changed his motion for euthanization of the dog, as the dog has now bitten four times, seconded by Sgt. Yates, all in favor.
Ms. Pittard was advised of her rights to appeal.
Citation 6742, 6743, 6744 – Animal Control versus Darrell W. Battle
Mr. Battle did not appear for the hearing. Officer Amanda Heiss and Officer Jeff Thomas were sworn by the Clerk.
The Board was informed by the Clerk that Mr. Battle had been before the Board three previous times with different animals at large. He has failed to pay the fines associated with the previous orders.
Officer Heiss testified that on October 30, 2019 she responded to welfare check on a pony. Officer Heiss testified that the pony was covered with burrs. Office Heiss testified that another call was received on November 2 for the pony at large. At that point the pony was seized and is currently at the Tri-County Animal Shelter. Officer Heiss admitted into evidence, County exhibit 1, six photographs of the pony after having the burrs removed for its coat.
Mr. Cook made a motion on citation number 6742 finding Mr. Battle in violation of section 230-11(a), seconded by Ms. Shelton, with a fine of $35 and section 230-12 with a fine of $50, for a total of $85.00.
Officer Thomas assisted Officer Heiss on the November 3, 2019 call. Officer Thomas testified that along with the pony, two steers were at large. With the assistance of the Charles County Sheriff’s Officers the two steers were corralled. One steer was very aggressive and was put down by the Officer. Mr. Battle was notified and picked up the steer and took it to the butcher. The remaining steer and the pony were seized and taken to the Tri-County Animal Shelter.
Mr. Cook made a motion on citation number 6743 and 6744 finding Mr. Battle in violation of 230.12, seconded by Sgt. Yates, with a fine of $50 for each citation, for a total of $100. All fine for previous orders must paid along with Tri County Animal Shelter reclaim fees.
File 19-33 Robin Robinson versus Antione & Jaquan Tuckson
Robin Robinson and Antione Tuckson sworn by the Clerk. Ms. Robinson testified that Mr. Tuckson’s dog is always at large without a leash. He walks the dog without a leash. She stated that Mr. Tuckson is always with the dog when the dog is off the leash. She stated that she is afraid of the dog.
Mr. Tuckson testified that he is training his dog and that is why he walks the dog without a leash. When he is not training the dog is on a leash. He stated that the dog has continuous training through Apple Jack. Mr. Tuckson agreed to always have the dog on the leash when he is in the vicinity of Ms. Robinson’s home.
Mr. Cook made a motion finding that Mr. Tuckson is not in violation of section 12.4.A(1), seconded by Sgt. Yates, all in favor.
File 19-40 Raymond Morgan versus Robert Smothers
Raymond Morgan and Robert Smothers were sworn by the Clerk. Mr. Morgan testified that Mr. Smothers’ dog came into his yard and frightened him. He stated that Mr. Smothers’ daughter came and called the dog back into the house and the dog returned to his yard. Mr. Morgan entered into exhibit Complainant’s 1, pictures of the property line, with no objection.
Mr. Smothers testified that when this incident happened he was not at home and his daughter told him that she didn’t see Mr. Morgan in his yard when she let the dog out. Mr. Smothers stated that his dog is trained and responds to commands and he never lets the dog outside without being with him. He stated that he just moved in the area and will be putting up a fence on his property to abate the problem fully.
Ms. Shelton made a motion finding Mr. Smothers in violation of sections 12.4.A(1), 12.4.A(3), 12.4.A(4) and 12.4.A(8) with a fine of $50 to be held in abeyance for three months. She also found Mr. Smothers not in violation of section 12.5.A(3) and 12.5.C, seconded by Mr. Cook, all in favor.
File 19-39 Michele Robinson versus Delilah Brown
Michele Robinson and Delilah Brown were sworn in by the Clerk. Ms. Robinson testified that Ms. Brown’s two dogs, a bulldog and a chihuahua are not on a leash and come into her yard and is aggressive to her and her dog. Ms. Robinson brought a witness, Ruth Anderson-Cole. Ms. Anderson-Cole was sworn by the Clerk. Ms. Anderson-Cole testified that she was walking her dog and the bulldog was not on a leash, approached them and she picked up her dog, the bulldog jumped up on her and tried to get her dog. During these events Ms. Brown always comes out and retrieves the dogs and returns them to her property. Ms. Robinson entered into evidence Complainant’s exhibit 1 with no objection. Angela MacLyndon, also a witness for Ms. Robinson, was sworn by the Clerk. She testified that she witnesses the dogs off leash and they were on her front porch.
Ms. Brown testified that she has remedied the problem and has put out runners in her front yard for the dogs. Her yard is not fenced and there really is no backyard because it is a hillside.
The Board reminded Ms. Brown that there is a leash law in Charles County and the dogs should not be off their property without a leash.
Ms. Shelton made a motion finding Ms. Brown in violation of section 12.4.A(4) for a fine of $50 and in violation of section 12.5.C for a fine of $50, for a total of $100. Mr. Cook seconded with the suggestion that it be held in abeyance for six months. Ms. Shelton agreed and amended her motion, all in favor.
Ms. Major-Kelly updated the Board on the appeal of J. Adams in the Circuit Court.
There being no further business Sgt. Yates made a motion to adjourn the hearing, seconded by Mr. Cook. All members voted in favor and the hearing was adjourned at 9:10 p.m.
Melody Weschler, Acting Clerk