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Group plans rally to spotlight issues with Balto. Co. animal shelter

A animal advocacy group is planning a rally today to highlight what members say are inadequate operations at the Baltimore County animal shelter.

Organizers of the group, Reform Baltimore County Animal Services, say they will host the rally at 5:30 p.m. at the county's historic courthouse in Towson.

"We just feel like the county is not doing enough to provide care and adoption services," Lynn Greene, a member of the group, said. "We would like to see a more compassionate approach, that we're going to care for these animals, heal them if they're sick, and find homes for them."

Among the group's complaints are that the Baldwin shelter's euthanasia rate — more than 60 percent last year — is too high, and that the county does not encourage volunteerism at the facility.

County spokeswoman Monique Lyle declined to comment on the planned rally. But county officials have said they are working to improve the shelter. They plan to build a $5 million facility to replace the existing one. Also, the shelter expanded spaying and neutering services this year and reduced the adoption fee for cats.

Last year, the county sought a nonprofit partner to provide some shelter services, but received no responses to its request for proposals. County leaders had said they wanted to focus on enforcement issues, such as dealing with dangerous dogs, and have a nonprofit handle adoptions and other duties.

The announcement of plans to build a new shelter hasn't satisfied some critics.

"Animals don't care about a beautiful building," said Greene, who added that the location of the shelter in the northern part of the county is inconvenient for many people.

Part of the group's goal is to help the county find a nonprofit partner to help operate the shelter. Members believe such an arrangement would save taxpayer dollars and provide better care for the animals, Greene said.

alisonk@baltsun.com

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