Minutes - October 1, 2019
ANIMAL MATTERS HEARING BOARD
FOR CHARLES COUNTY, MARYLAND MINUTES OF MEETING
Tuesday, October 1, 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
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 September 17, 2019 – A motion was made to approve the minutes of September 17, 2019 by Matthew Cook, seconded by Christi Montgomery, all in favor.
Citation 6741 – Animal Control versus Latara Parker
Officer Heiss and Ms. Parker were sworn in by the Clerk. Officer Heiss testified that on August 31, 2019, she responded to a report of three dogs at large. Upon arrival she located two dogs on the front porch of a residence. She testified that upon further investigation she located a dog in a metal crate in the back yard with no shade or water. The temperature outside was 89 degrees. Officer Heiss entered into evidence County exhibit 1, a photograph of the dog in the crate, with no objection. Officer Heiss testified that she seized all three dogs and took them to the Tri-County Animal Shelter. A citation was issued for animal cruelty for the dog found in the crate outside with no shade or water. No citations were issued for the dogs that were at large.
Ms. Parker testified that she had just moved into this home and was unaware that there were boards loose in the fence and the dogs were able to get out of the yard. She also stated that she had placed an umbrella over the crate that held the dog, but the sun had changed direction and the umbrella was no longer shading the crate. Ms. Parker testified she immediately reclaimed her dogs from the Tri-County Animal Shelter.
A motion was made by Sgt. Yates finding Ms. Parker in violation of section 230-8, animal cruelty, with a $50.00 fine, seconded by Eva Lightfoot, all in favor. Fine is due by October 15, 2019.
File No. 19-30 – Randel & Gail Stone versus Ron Heiligh & Karen Chamberland
Randel Stone, Ron Heiligh, Karen Chamberland and witness, Elizabeth Hernadez were sworn in by the Clerk.
Mr. Stone testified that on July 26, 2019 two of Mr. Heiligh & Ms. Chamberland’s dogs charged him on his property. He provided a video of the event. Mr. Stone further testified that he is in fear of the dogs and cannot enjoy his property. He also stated that the dogs bark continuously and at all hours which stops his family from enjoying the peace of his home. Mr. Stone entered into evidence Complainant’s exhibit 1, pictures of the dogs, timeline of barking, and sheriff’s report with no objection.
Mrs. Stone was sworn in by the Clerk. She testified that she is in fear when she leaves her home of the dogs and does not venture outside unless her husband is at home. She also testified that there was an offensive smell coming from the dog area.
Ms. Hernandez testified that she lives next door to the Stone’s. She testified that the dogs bark all the time. She testified that she is afraid to walk to the mail box and her grandchildren are afraid to use the play area on the Stone’s property.
Ms. Chamberland testified that they have had the four dogs since they were puppies. She stated that the dogs are kept either inside the garage where they have kennels or in the outside kennels. She testified that the dogs are not kept outside for long periods of time. She stated that on this occasion the dogs had figured out how to open the latch on the kennel. They now place a lock on the latch so they can no longer open it. Ms. Chamberland testified that they are in the process of getting a fence around the property but are waiting for a neighbor to remove a structure that is on their property. She also stated that the kennels are cleaned regularly and there is no odor associated with them. Owners’ exhibit 1, a picture of the inside kennels, was admitted into evidence with no objection. Mr. Heiligh reiterated what his wife had testified to.
Ms. Shelton made a motion finding Mr. Heiligh & Ms. Chamberland in violation of:
Section 12.4.A.1, at large, with a fine of $50 times 2, for a total fine of $100;
Section 12.4.A.4, intimidate pedestrians, neighbors or others, with a fine of $50 times 2, for a total fine of $100;
Section12.4.A.6, bark or make other harsh or excessive noise, with a fine of $50 times 4, for a total fine of $200. Total fine $400.
Sgt .Yates made a motion to amend the motion to hold half of the fine in abeyance for one year.
Ms. Shelton change the motion to include holding the fine in abeyance for one year, with a total fine due of $400 with $200 held in abeyance for one year, seconded by Sgt. Yates, all in favor. Fine of $200 due tomorrow.
File No. 19-31 – Kathy Simms versus Ronald Heiligh
Kathy Simms and Christine Simms were sworn in by the Clerk. Mr. Heiligh was reminded he was still under oath.
Christine Simms testified that she had been leaving her mother’s home and walking out the back door when the dogs came from behind the car and she went back inside the house. She felt the dogs were aggressive to her. This occurred in mid-July.
Kathy Simms testified that the dogs constantly bark at her whenever she’s in her yard. She stated that they are barking and aggressive towards each other and it is very loud and scary.
Mr. Heiligh testified that this incident must have been in July when the other incident occurred. He stated they are getting the fence ASAP. They are sorry and do not want people to be terrified of his dogs.
Sgt, Yates made a motion finding Mr. Heiligh in violation of:
Section 12.4.A.4, intimidate pedestrians, neighbors or others, with a $50 fine, suspending the fine;
Section 12.4.A.6, bark or make other harsh or excessive noise, with a $50 fine, suspending the fine with a total fine due of $0. Seconded by Ms. Montgomery, all in favor.
File No. 19-28 – Susan Richardson versus Teresa Bishop
Ms. Richardson withdrew her complaint on the record.
Fine No. 19-34 – Terry Davis versus Shawntel Simms
Terry Davis and Shawntel Simms were sworn in by the Clerk. Ms. Davis testified that Ms. Simms’ dog is always at large and not on a leash. She has asked them to keep the dog out of her yard and not allow the dog to go to the bathroom on her yard. On August 28th, the dog was in her yard going to the bathroom, with Ms. Simms’ nephew watching with no respect for Ms. Davis’ request. Ms. Davis entered Complainant’s exhibit number 1, pictures of the dog in her yard with people standing watching, in to evidence with no objection.
Shawntel Simms testified that she has an electric fence but they keep taking off the collar. She said that the matter has gotten out of hand. She stated that the dog stays beside the person she’s with and is not aggressive. She also stated that she always cleans up after her dog.
Mr. Cook made a motion finding Ms. Simms in violation of:
Section 12.4.A.1, at large, for a fine of $50 times 2, for a total fine of $100;
Section 12.4.A.3, molest pedestrians, neighbors or passersby, for a fine of $50;
Section 12.4.A.8, allow to defecate on public property and/or urinate on private property, for a fine of $50 times 2 for a total fine of $100, total fine due is $250. Seconded by Sgt. Yates, all in favor. Ms. Simms paid the fine at the hearing.
Administrative Appeal of Jasmine Adams – C-08-CV-19-000467
Jasmine Adams was sworn in by the Clerk. Ms. Adams advised the Board of the measures she has taken to ensure that if the dog is returned to her home it will not be able to leave the house without proper restraint.
Lance Nogosek, Sit Means Sit Training, was sworn in by the Clerk. He testified that he had spoke to Ms. Adams on the phone but had not met the dog. Mr. Nogosek testified about his program. In the program he needs to see the dog in its home, it’s environment and work with the owner to be able to handle the dog. He does not want to bring the dog to his facility only to work with him as this will not assist the owner when it returns home. The Board explained to Mr. Nogosek that the dog had been in Tri-County Animal Shelter for the past five months with minimum human touch. Chief Tucker advised that the dog continues to be a threat to the workers and others in the shelter. The Board discussed Mr. Nogosek coming to the Shelter and working with the dog and the owner. Chief Tucker advised that he did not feel that was safe as the dog continues to be a threat and the owner has not had any contact with the dog for the past five months.
The Board had further discussion on the matter. The Board unanimously voted to let the matter proceed to the Circuit Court and their decision stand.
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 8:50 p.m.
Melody Weschler, Acting Clerk