Cecil County Gets 2 Animal Control Bids: Cecil SPCA and DE “Rescue” Tied to Carletti, Author of New Animal Ordinance

September 17, 2012

Cecil County government received two bids on its “request for proposals” to provide animal control services: from the Cecil County SPCA (which terminated its current contract a few weeks ago due to adoption of a new animal ordinance) and a small Delaware “rescue” group with no shelter facilities that is aligned with Mindy Carlettti, the chief author of the controversial new ordinance.

Cecil Times was present in the county purchasing office on Friday 9/14/12 at the 1:30 p.m. deadline for submissions, when the two bidders were announced. However, due to the nature of an RFP that requires detailed review of the applicants’ credentials and proposed costs for services, the amount of each bid was not disclosed.

Meanwhile, County Commissioners received a proposed revision of the animal control ordinance at last week’s Tuesday worksession to delete regulations for and references to cats. The “no cats” proposal was put forward even though a majority of the Commissioners had only requested language to remove horses from certain sections of the ordinance, such as deposits of animal waste, after horse groups requested such revisions. (Exempting cats from the ordinance adopted by the county commissioners has been a top priority for Carletti, a Perryville veterinarian who took control of an Animal Control Task Force and re-wrote the ordinance after virtually all other members resigned over a year ago.)

According to documents obtained by Cecil Times, Carletti also recently sought to obtain county funds under an interim animal control plan after the SPCA ended its contract. But county officials deemed her proposal too costly since it would have given her hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for hours in which she did no work for the county. Carletti’s proposal was also submitted well after the county’s deadline for submissions on the interim plan.

On Friday, the Cecil County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Inc., (CCSPCA) submitted a new bid, despite having terminated its current contract effective 8/30/12 in response to the 3-2 County Commissioners vote to adopt the new animal control ordinance. The CCSPCA’s attorney had warned the county government that the new law was onerous, costly and in part illegal. [SEE Cecil Times reports here:

and here: http://ceciltimes.com/2012/08/cecil-county-animal-control-deadline-call-911-and-hope-for-the-best/ ]

The other bidder is A Buddy for Life, Inc., a small Delaware non-profit group that states on its website and phone voicemail that it has no physical shelter to house animals and instead places dogs in private foster homes. The group’s voicemail also states it has no provisions for cats and directs callers to Chesapeake Feline Association, a group under whose umbrella Carletti operates a cat rescue.

Filings with the federal Internal Revenue Service identify Crystal Litteral, of New Castle, DE, as the “president” of A Buddy for Life. (However, on some portions of the group’s filings her first name is spelled “Crystall.”) On the group’s website, Carletti is identified as a “sponsor” of the group and is further identified in online posts as “our veterinarian.” Carletti’s employee, Jenn Callahan, is identified as posting information on behalf of the rescue on its Facebook wall.

Cecil Times has called Litteral for comment and will update this report upon her response.

According to the Buddy group’s 2011 filing with the IRS, it had income of $20,070 and expenses of $19,017, leaving an end of year cash balance of $1,053. The filings also state the group has no paid employees and does not list any other officers or directors of the organization.

How such a group–with no physical shelter, no animal control experience, no expertise in animal bite reporting or quarantine requirements under Maryland law, and no track record of supervising employees or paid contractors –could handle the animal control services contract was unclear. The rescue is believed likely to propose to supervise an independent commercial kennel for housing animals and a former employee of the CCSPCA to provide independent animal capture services, along with a separate veterinarian contractor.

In contrast, the CCSPCA owns an 11 acre site in Chesapeake City, with 57 state inspected and licensed on-site kennels for dogs, an open “cat room” with an outdoor enclosed play area for cats, as well as an on-site fully licensed veterinary hospital and a staff veterinarian, according to Jeanne Deeming, executive director of the CCSPCA. The shelter also has two vans equipped with fortified cages for transport of dangerous animals, several quarantine areas for sick or dangerous animals, and computers and special software to track lost or stray animals so owners may readily find them.

“We have a one-stop shop for animals to provide safe housing, our staff vet provides medical care, and our shelter has a barn and fenced paddocks to house horses or farm animals that we might be asked to care for in neglect cases,” she said. The CCSPCA also has the only state-licensed crematorium in the county for environmentally-approved disposal of deceased animal remains.

Deeming noted that the county government has never provided additional funds for the CCSPCA’s frequent handling of equine or farm animal cruelty or neglect cases, unlike the recent decision by the county commissioners to give $12,000 to a private horse rescue for assisting in a case launched after the CCSPCA contract was ended.

Asked why the CCSPCA was now submitting a response to the RFP for animal control services when the organization terminated its contract a few weeks ago, Deeming said that the CCSPCA “was always dedicated to animal welfare” in the county and hoped to open a “dialogue” with the County Commissioners on what services could be rendered at reasonable costs under some modifications of the new ordinance. “We have offered the commissioners some cost-effective options to modify the ordinance in the best interests of animal and human welfare, but we also advised them what enforcement of some of the ill-advised provisions of the ordinance would cost.”

Meanwhile, Cecil Times obtained documents under a Maryland Public Information Act request showing that Carletti submitted a belated proposal to provide “24/7” veterinarian services to the county under an “interim plan” for animal services since the CCSPCA ended its contract. She sought payment of $20 an hour for 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, even if she had no calls for services– plus if she actually performed animal care work she demanded $80 an hour with a two hour minimum payment. For just being on call and doing nothing, Carletti’s proposal would have cost over $173,000 on an annualized basis. Instead, the county chose to use two fully staffed 24-hour emergency veterinary hospitals in Harford County that would charge nothing for being on-call and only fees-for-services actually rendered.

In addition, documents obtained by Cecil Times show that Gerald Hawkins, a former animal control officer for the CCSPCA, wanted to charge the county $10,000 per month, or $120,000 on an annualized basis, for picking up stray animals and transporting them to a private kennel paid for by the county. He said he would transport animals in his personal truck. Instead, the county chose a Delaware-based pest-control operator who bid $2,500 through the end of the year, based on county representations that he would only get about a dozen calls a month.

In related issues, the County Commissioners took no action on a proposed revision to the new animal control ordinance that would have removed cats from virtually all regulatory and definition provisions. “Why are we doing this and what’s the interest” of whomever is proposing it, inquired Commissioner Robert Hodge (R-5). “All of a sudden,” he said, the commissioners’ intent to treat cats and dogs equally as far as nuisance animals and public safety and odor questions would be nullified by the new proposal—whose author was not publically identified.

“Mindy Carletti was always about cats,” Hodge said. During the task force review and subsequent discussions in which only Carletti was left of the original task force, she sought to remove cats from the law. “Why are we trying to exempt out the feline species” now, he said, when the commissioners previously decided to include felines.

The Commissioners took no action on the mysterious proposal and sent it back to county staff for re-wording to reflect the concerns of horse groups.

[DISCLOSURE: The editor of Cecil Times has adopted several pets from the CCSPCA and in the past served as an unpaid, volunteer board member.]

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37 Responses to Cecil County Gets 2 Animal Control Bids: Cecil SPCA and DE “Rescue” Tied to Carletti, Author of New Animal Ordinance

  1. Topcat on September 17, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Amazing, Carletti and her minions have all complained about the pay of the [CCSPCA] director but Carletti wanted $173,000 a year with no work being done for most of the day. Now who is the GREEDY one ? I smell hypocrisy from that bunch.

    • john smuth on September 17, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      to be honest i dont know of another director of an animal control facility that makes 90k a year and drives a lincoln navigator. i think its time for a change. deeming is in it for her own personal gain.

      (Editor’s Note: In fact, Ms. Deeming’s vehicle is a Ford Expedition and is equipped with animal transport cages.)

      • Don't know it all on September 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm

        To John Smuth – So what, is what I would say if your facts were correct, but obviously you need to see an opthamologist. I saw that vehicle and it is a FORD 4 wheel drive with dog crates in the rear. How do you suppose they would respond to emergency calls during a snowstorm, certainly not in those old vans they have.

      • Topcat on September 18, 2012 at 4:37 pm

        Hey John, how do you know that money is coming from Cecil County? You do realize that the SPCA is also a charitable organization that has funds from other areas. Sounds like more of the same old tired class warfare! Apply for a job as a director of something and ask for $90k and see if you get it.

        • john smuth on September 18, 2012 at 8:45 pm

          i have been at that level for a while now and dont have to kill anything,thanks for your concern about my social status anyway. its all about who can take better care of our countys animals and with the spca’s past track record i hardley think its them.

          • Don't know it all on September 19, 2012 at 1:23 pm

            SPCA’s track record? WOW except for a “few” instigators who love to have the last word, the SPCA has done a very good job at animal control for over 45 years. No business is perfect and there is always room for some improvement, but improvement comes with a cost. It’s obvious that the County commissioners have not been prepared to fund those improvements. Don’t tell me that Jenn whats her name and Carletti have never made mistakes. By the way John Smuth, the SPCA was exonerated. Oh and best of all, Smiegel’s star witness against the SPCA recently pleaded guilty of assaulting his wife and mother, threatening to kill them. See Cecil Whig July for full story. Hip Hip Hooray for the CCSPCA, they should file suit against this entire bunch of nay-sayers.

      • john smuth on September 18, 2012 at 8:17 pm

        sorry its an expedition , where is she tranporting them to, she dosent go out on calls as a matter of fact one of the complaints at the public hearing for chapter 209 was that the spca never omes out when people call.buddy for life would do a much better job at animal control they are very nice people and they are in it for the animals.i wonder how many animals lives could be saved for the cost of a ford expedition

  2. concernedcitizen on September 17, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    That is OUTRAGEOUS!!!
    Where is Commissioner Broomell’s “Ethics Committee” ??????
    If the commissioners even entertain the notion to give the bid to Dr. Carletti’s buddies, I predict lawsuits.
    The whole Chapter 209 should be scrapped. It’s nothing but pandering to the special interests of a small group of fanatics.

  3. CatRescuer on September 18, 2012 at 7:31 am

    First off, I would like to say that you shouldn’t believe everything you read! Dr. Carletti is not at all GREEDY. She works tirelessly, often without pay, to help the feral cats and strays in Cecil County. She has been the force behind the massive TNR that has been done in Cecil County. She hasn’t received any money from the county for the service she provides them. Instead the money goes to the CCSPCA when they don’t even do TNR. (This is a definite waste of tax payer funds!) Their policy has been to kill anything that comes in to their “rescue” in a trap.

    I for one am offended that the word “rescue” was enclosed in sarcastic quotations! A Buddy For Life, and the Chesapeake Feline Association are rescues in every sense of the word. These rescues couldn’t do what they do without Dr. Carletti and staff…

    So please, before you leave nasty comments about this issue, try to be informed about what you are talking about. This article is blatantly skewed and biased.

    • cats on September 18, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      Dr. Carletti does recieve money for TNR she gets money from Excelon Power,for doing TNR for Conwingo and Muddy Run Colonies. She does not trap them they are brought into her and then she gets paid by Excelon Power !!! THis can very tracked very easly.

      • john smuth on September 18, 2012 at 8:22 pm

        she should be compensated , she has prevented feral cats from reproducing , if it wasnt for her there could be potentialy thousands of feral cats in our county.

        • cats on September 19, 2012 at 7:43 am

          I have no problem with her being compensated, I have a problem with all of you people sitting there and saying, which can be seen on their own list, that she does not get paid and does all this out of the goodness of her heart. Make up your minds –is she paid or not paid– it looks like no one’s stories can match up.

      • Esolina on September 19, 2012 at 9:33 am

        As an employee and business manager of All Paws Animal Wellness Clinic I can say that we DO TNR for Exelon, however they have not made a payment in over 2 years for services rendered. So for the past two years Dr. Carletti has been paying out of pocket for those ferals. Just thought you may want to get the facts right before making assumptions.
        Last year All Paws Animal Wellness Clinic did Trap Neuter Return for all of Cecil County totaling in 1100 cats that had vaccines and surgery. The complete out of pocket cost was $38,500.00 for Dr. Carletti. She also donated services for rescue work to the tune of $40,000.00. Once again out of her own pocket. You can track that as well as the payments that have not been made by Exelon.

        • Deuteronemy on September 19, 2012 at 12:19 pm

          So the end result is 1100 more feral cats in Cecil County. Cat “colonies” are OK but dog packs are not?

          • Heather on September 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm

            Actually, that is 1100 cats who were already living in Cecil County and who were trapped, neutered/spayed and returned to their location. 1100 cats which did not breed. If you start with 1 un-spayed female who produces 3 litters a year of up to 4 kittens per litter, well do the math.

        • cats on September 19, 2012 at 5:14 pm

          I know of some rescues she charges that do TNR and it is not out of her pocket and also they have to pay right then and there, which is fine since most vet’s that offer service get paid when services are rendered. But get real stop making her look as though she is never paid for TNR that is just not TRUE!!!

    • Topcat on September 18, 2012 at 4:49 pm

      So I guess a $90k salary and a Ford Expedition are greedy but taking $173,000 from the county for not working and demanding $80 an hour to do the work is ok, along with submitting your proposal a week late. Seems like the county gave her more of a fair shake than others.

      It’s time you all got over your vendetta against the SPCA . I don’t see anything in the article that is skewed or biased as all these numbers and facts are public record. It is more of the ‘We can do better and we are right ‘ mentality we have been hearing since the beginning. Here’s a novel idea: start your own rescue and run it the way you like then it will be your way.

  4. Heather on September 18, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Wow, I love how Chapter 209 is nothing but “pandering to the special interests…” I read the law many times and it seems to me it’s a voice for the animals who never had one in the county. Maybe before we judge a person’s cause we should look at ourselves in the mirror, I ask what do you provide for this community? Since when is being selfless being a fanatic?

  5. Too Much Government on September 18, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Wow that’s a chunk of money for both Carletti and Hawkins. Would you say “CONFLICT OF INTEREST” to both of these individuals? One writes the Ordinance and the other usded to work for the CCSPCA that Carletti and her pals have been trying to take down for years. Nicole Green and her group’s vision is clouded by the hate and irresponsible comments which they spew. Obviously some of these individuals live out of the mainstream of society and are oblivious to what is real life and business. Jerry Hawkins seems to think that his ability to be a dog catcher is worth more in dollars than the work of others who have to supervise and manage an entire operation, not just dog-catching.

  6. Quite Concerned on September 18, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Although I have never commented on line about this County Animal Control issue, I feel the need to opine on this topic. I have lived in Cecil County for many decades and never have I seen such nonsense over pets. It’s concerning to me that people are more troubled about animals than they are about the hundreds, maybe thousands of children and adults in this county who are homeless, abused, neglected or victims of this economy. Shame on those PETA types who are so vociferous about animals yet, never mention the lack of oversight by other county agencies whose responsibilities are humans.

    These full-tongued pet lovers should take a real look at society and set real priorities. Some of these eccentrics should probably spend more time educating themselves on what is going on in this world as a whole than to bash one small operation in Cecil County.

    • Reality Check on September 18, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      I agree with Quite Concerned. Some people from Cecil County still live in the “good old boys” days. There is so much more to this county, state, country, world than whether someone owns animals. You animal fanatics don’t comprehend the seriousness of the world economy. Wars going on all around the world and the only thing you have to talk about is the SPCA and animals. Get a life!

      • Heather on September 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm

        I can agree that this is small in comparision to other problems we are all facing, however I feel that everyone has a right to be passionate about any cause they want. It begs me to ask what is your cause? What makes it okay for you to judge others in their passion?

  7. I know the truth on September 18, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Jen Callahan has been with Dr. Carletti [for years], now you say this is not a conflict of interest on the part of her running Buddy 4 Life– yes I know she is not the president, but she is an intricate part of the Rescue and Dr. Carletti will surely have her hands in it, as planned. Jen works straight from Carletti’s home,… They know each other very well, this I know for a fact. When are people going to start opening their eyes and seeing the real agenda going on here! It’s simply down to this, a power play for a … Vet and her animal activist minions!

    • john smuth on September 18, 2012 at 8:26 pm

      activist minions what the hell is wrong with you people, dr carlleti and jen are just regular people trying to help out the countys animals , get your heads out of the sand

      • Bewildered on September 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm

        You seem to think that the only people in this county who care about the animals are Carletti, Jenn and their friends. There are more of us with sound mind that think that your group’s propaganda is rubbish. Your concerns are contrived to benefit Carletti and her isolated group as well as the three amigos.

  8. cats on September 18, 2012 at 10:33 am

    This is totally ridiculous….Beware if Buddy For Life gets the job since Carletti is so closely affiliated with Jenn Callahan and Buddy For Life she will surely be running the animal control from the shadows which is what she wanted to do all along. Hopefully the commissioners are finally seeing the light of what Carletti’s true agenda is.

  9. Lyn Yelton on September 18, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Absolutely outrageous. Chapter 209 must be scrapped & reworked by a group of knowledgable vets, kennel owners, stable managers, and breeders. Legal representation is also necessary. Plus 1 of our county commissioners should also serve on this committee. Chapter 209 is already being rewritten to address horse issues. Some “mysterious/author unknown” proposal to remove cats from virtually all regulatory and definition provisions has been received. There are several issues that need to be addressed and changed within the canine regulations. Let’s face it, Chapter 209 is an illegal and poorly scripted policy. Now, the very individual who scripted it is seeking financial gains from it! Please tell me that Cecil County isn’t going down this path.

    • Deuteronemy on September 19, 2012 at 12:50 am

      There seems to be confusion in the minds of the public between the present Chapter 209 and the “draft revised Chapter 209″, which spun out of control and is now without a “task force” to repair the document. While the county is recruiting volunteers to serve on a new task force, it seems unlikely that volunteers will want to be subjected to the problems that led to dissolution by attrition of the last group, especially now that Commissioner Broomell has decided to insert herself into the panel.

      It seems clear that Dr. Carletti wants cats exempted because that would make her TNR program unworkable. Based on who submitted RFPs, CCSPCA seems to be the only qualified facility. They have a public relations problem due to the discredited vendetta waged by Delegate Smigiel several years ago.

      • Douglas on September 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm

        I think the TNR program is brilliant, however they hoard cats! And it is not fair. Since they helped write Chapter 209, they cat issue should have been addressed right away. And I have to ask this question again: Why did it take 3 years?

  10. Douglas on September 19, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Here is a good question: “Why did it take THREE YEARS for Chapter 209 to appear? Go Goggle Harford Counties animal county laws, could have been done in days!!
    Since the CCSPCA quit because of Chapter 209 and since BFL helped write Chapter 209 – neither should get the bid!
    Anyone else????

    • Topcat on September 24, 2012 at 10:23 pm

      It took 3 years because the process was taken over by an animal rights activist with an agenda. She bullied her way around the committee and with her connection to some commissioners she forced the other task force members to give up in disgust. …

      These new laws are more costly than what they had and basically do not address the issues they complain about. They consistently claim the animals needed a voice and complained that the laws weren’t tough enough on animal abuse as they saw it. They complained that people got a slap on the wrist for animal abuse because of the laws. Even though the old laws were sufficient, the courts are the final arbiter of the sentence that the abuser receives. They also don’t realize that animal control is not a police force and does not have the authority to exert police powers over citizens…

      This brings us to the last few months and the fact that they were asking the CCSPCA to perform more under these new laws with absolutely no increase in funding and a frozen budget for the last few years. The same thing they are doing to the Sheriffs department now that they are the dog catchers. (They reduced the Sheriffs budget as he asked for more officers to deal with drug problems and they now are saddled with being the county dog catcher.) The CCSPCA was being asked to perform functions that they felt were not beneficial or in some cases constitutional and could lead to lawsuits. Of course in these contracts Cecil County is indemnified from being involved so the CCSPCA was on the hook to defend themselves against these new laws. Without a budget increase and all the new duties, they executed the clause in the contract which dissolved their relationship with the county. That was something the county hadn’t prepared for which leaves us with the interim plan. Again the animal rights activists are not happy, so a new RFP was issued which brings us up to now.

      Yes the CCSPCA is bidding on it as they can now make their proposal based on the new laws the same as Buddy for Life can. Businesses do this all the time with contracts, it is just good business sense… That leaves us where we are now: Buddy for Life that has questionable contacts in the county government and the CCSPCA that has actual experience in running a business. Let’s see who wins.

      I’m sure the animal rights activists won’t be happy unless they are given the keys to the kingdom. You ask who started all this mess and now leaves us where we are? I am sure the name Mindy Carletti will go down in Cecil County history as the person who with her friends left an impression on Cecil County we will soon not forget…

  11. K9doc on September 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Ch. 209 MUST be scrapped completely. With the recent complaints from the horse people and now the discussion of removing cats from the ordinance, it appears that these fanatics and the commissioners have an aversion to dogs and dog lovers. If this ordinance does not apply to horses and cats, then it should not apply to dogs either. ..I notice the concern for the cost of controlling cats but TNR programs are not the answer. I’d much rather see wild cats humanely euthanized than left to fend for themselves and be run over by a truck or left out in the cold, sleet, rain, heat or snow. It’s time to put an end to this ordinance and stop wasting taxpayers money.

    • cats on September 20, 2012 at 9:17 am

      With this I don’t agree,. Educating people and with low cost spay and neuter, the cat problem could be kept under control. I take care of a colony of cats, I do TNR. I have to take them somewhere else because I wouldn’t step foot in Carletti’s office. When I do TNR it comes out of my pocket, but I can’t keep up with TNR so the colony is also on (megestrol acetate) which is a birth control pill and no kittens born at the colony this year. Does it have its side effects long term, yes but what is the lesser of two evils. Statistics show outside cats have a life span of about 5 to 6 years, if that. So put them on birth control it is very cheap to buy.

      Breeders animals are all kenneled or in a yard basically confined, you would not let your purbred animals run loose if you ran a good kennel or cattery, but breeders have to microchip under the new 209 law. But the neighbor that has three cats, two dogs etc. that are not spayed or neutered and run loose to breed making tons of mixed breed unwanted kittens and puppies– these people don’t have to microchip and hence are 90% of the problem of unwanted animals….

      I smell a money issue here. There is nothing wrong with mircochipping, actually all animals should be, but don’t make it one way, what is good for the goose should also be good for the gander. Maybe if Mom and Pop had to microchip they could be traced when they dump their kittens, puppies, dogs and cats on the side of the road!!!!…

    • Heather on September 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm

      I would encourage people who don’t believe TNR works to google ‘Feral Cats and the Vaccum Effect.” Also, just a side note feral cats are not domesticated cats that curl up in your lap, they are wild animals who can survive just like any other wild animal in the elements. Most of these feral cats are much happier living outdoors then they would be in a confined space.

      • cats on September 25, 2012 at 10:02 am

        Sure the colony I take care of are just really happy to be living in the rocks in the freezing rain and snow. Or when the snow is so bad that no one can get down there for days to feed them and there is nothing to hunt, I am sure they are very happy and comfortable. GET REAL!!

  12. cats on September 20, 2012 at 9:20 am

    You are never going to get rid of feral colonies or stray dogs and unwanted animals as long as your private citizen does not have to spay/neuter or microchip. So commisioners lets add private citizens to this list if you are going to make breeders do it!!

  13. Dora on September 22, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    I have a great ideal let the tax payers vote SPCA or Buddy For Life! They would be less likely to be bias! Or we could put 15 dogs and 15 cats in a room with the directors the one that has the most animals come to them wins hands down. An animal can tell what kind of person you are or aren’t. Let them pick who they want. That is if you don’t end up with dog /cat fight first. What I am tring to say is both organizations have to be given a fair chance. If you give up a contract it opens up the door for others to walk in. Hard lesson learned.

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