The Montgomery County Council’s Public Safety Committee at 10:15 a.m. on Thursday, July 18, will receive an update on progress in building the new County Animal Shelter. The shelter, which will be located at the corner of Muncaster Mill Road and Airpark Road in Gaithersburg, is scheduled to open in November.
The Public Safety Committee, which is chaired by Phil Andrews and includes Councilmembers Roger Berliner and Marc Elrich, will meet in the Seventh Floor Conference Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The meeting will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) and will be streamed through the County Web site at www.montgomerycountymd.gov
The opening of the new shelter will initiate other changes to the way the County addresses lost, dangerous and homeless animals. One change will see the Police Department directly take over the adoption and shelter services—functions that have been performed at the current shelter by the Montgomery County Humane Society, which was under a management contract.
The Police Department has had oversight for animal control since 1996. The Animal Services Division is responsible for responding to, and investigating, more than 9,000 complaints each year for cruelty to animals, dangerous animals and public nuisance animals.
The Police Department decided to make the new position of shelter director a civilian position. It hopes a new director is in place by August.
Chris Voss, manager of the County’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, also will attend the Public Safety Committee meeting for a worksession on the County’s multi-hazard mitigation plan. Since the plan’s last major update in 2007, the County has experienced the Derecho storm of June 2012, earthquakes and a significant wildfire in the Darnestown area. The new plan also includes updated flood maps of areas that have shown repeated inclination to flood.
At 2 p.m. in the Seventh Floor Hearing Room, the Public Safety Committee will meet jointly with the Health and Human Services Committee, which is chaired by George Leventhal and includes Councilmembers Nancy Navarro and Craig Rice. They will meet with representatives of the County’s Police Department, Department of Health and Human Services, the State’s Attorney’s Office and the Collaboration Council for Children, Youth and Families and the Alliance for Youth Substance Abuse Prevention for a discussion on the intrusion into the County of synthetic marijuana—also called K-2 or Spice.
While some users report that using synthetic marijuana produces experiences similar to those of regular marijuana, in some cases, there are stronger reported effects including extreme anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations. Spice abusers taken to the County’s Poison Control Centers have reported symptoms such as rapid heart rate, vomiting, confusion and blood pressure changes. There have been a few reports of heart attacks.
The County’s Adult Drug Court now tests for K-2. The initial testing in 2010 show that about 10 percent of participants tested positive. The most recent tests show usage is now down to about 1 percent.
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