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Humane Society of Carroll County kennels reopened to public after 'Black Rock Dogs' episode

Humane Society of Carroll County kennels reopened to public after 'Black Rock Dogs' episode
Karen Baker, Humane Society of Carroll County executive director, says hello to one of the cats available for adoption Thursday. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

When 27 dogs came into the Humane Society of Carroll County on the night of April 5, rescued from filthy conditions in a Hampstead house, the organization’s care resources were pushed to the limit and some services were put on hold.

It took about three weeks, but they’ve been able to open their dog kennels back up to the public.

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The rescued dogs are doing well, said Karen Baker, executive director.

For some of the 27, contracts with breeders who sold them to the owners whom they were rescued from — John J. Roberts, 49, and Laura S. Filler, 55 who were each indicted Thursday on more than 100 counts each — required that they be returned.

For the “Black Rock Dogs,” as they have been called, who remain at the shelter, the Humane Society will be partnering with rescue organizations who specialize in their breeds. These groups will have the most resources to evaluate and vet potential adoptive homes for the dogs, who will likely need more special care because of their background, she said.

In the time that the dogs have been at the kennels, Humane Society staff members were also able to judge which of the dogs could share living space, and start putting them in a “buddy system.” Living with a compatible other dog in the kennel helps make them less stressed and helps the Humane Society make the best use of its space.

For the dogs who were already at the Humane Society before the influx of rescues, the staff have been giving them extra TLC.

On Thursday, the day the dog kennels reopened, the dogs were listening to the “Chronicles of Narnia” on audiobook. Bakes said studies show that dogs like to listen to human voices on recording, while cats do better with music.

Commissioner Eric Bouchet had already scheduled a visit to the Humane Society for Thursday prior to the Black Rock rescue. He wanted to be more familiar with it after not visiting for a few years, and toured the facility with Baker.

From the Black Rock rescue, Baker said it became abundantly clear that despite their work to use the facility space the best way possible, they will need more space. Right now there are no concrete plans for a new facility. They have started a building fund for donations for whatever the plan may be in the future.

Ken Mays, President Board of Directors, wrote in a post on their website that they moved to the current location in 1977 and it expanded to its current size in 1980.

“We have no plans at this point, however, to get a jump start we have established a dedicated fund for those who wish to donate to our future. Should you wish to make a tax deductible donation to this specific fund please make a note on your check for “BUILDING FUND.” We know when the time comes it will be a multi-million dollar project, so we need to start somewhere.”

A one-eyed, four-year old female cat, one of many animals available for adoption at the Humane Society of Carroll County in Westminster, peers out from its enclosure Thursday, April 25, 2019.
A one-eyed, four-year old female cat, one of many animals available for adoption at the Humane Society of Carroll County in Westminster, peers out from its enclosure Thursday, April 25, 2019. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Following the tour, Bouchet said his favorite part was interacting with the cats. He and Baker also talked about ways the cat housing has been improved recently.

For cats that are housed by themselves, there are cat towers. They look like a tall skinny cabinet with a glass front door and several shelves.

Cats can move up and down the shelf levels, giving them space to move up and make space between themselves and their litter boxes. The Cat Condos are similar — lots of space to move around vertically — but bigger to house bonded pairs of cats.

“The goal is to keep cats less stressed to keep them healthy,” Baker said.

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Similar to humans, cats who are run down with stress are prone to get sick.

They also talked about a point of pride in raising their live release rate, meaning the number of animals leaving the shelter by means other than euthanasia or in‐shelter death — usually adoption, reclaim by owner or transfer to another agency.

“It’s really important to our staff that animals have the best possible outcome,” she said.

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