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Moore Names Five to Animal Control Oversight Panel; “Buddy” Group Gets $65K Trucks

February 5, 2013
By Nancy Schwerzler

Cecil County Executive Tari Moore selected five people to serve on a new animal control oversight panel and submitted their names Tuesday to the County Council. None of the appointees has current evident ties to A Buddy for Life, Inc., the Delaware animal rescue group that assumed county animal control duties last month under a more than $2.2 million contract.

Moore told Cecil Times that it was an “interactive” process, as she reviewed some 40 applicants for the Animal Care and Control Oversight Committee and sorted them by residency in each of the five County Council districts. She forwarded applications to the appropriate Council members and gave them “right of first refusal” before returning to her a list of their choices.

As it turned out, County Council President Robert Hodge (R-5) said Tuesday, each Council member’s pick was ultimately selected by Moore. “They are the people we recommended,” Hodge said. The Council must confirm the appointments before they become effective.

The selected members are:

–Madelyn B. Yelton (Dist. 1), Elkton–owner of Rebel Ridge Farms, a cat and dog boarding facility, and active in retriever dog clubs. She holds an MBA from the University of Rochester (NY) and is a certified financial planner. During a hearing last fall on proposed changes in the animal control ordinance, she said she welcomed inspections of kennels but questioned regulations in the new ordinance that required exercise plans of up to two hours a day per dog, noting that such demands were not even placed on public school children in the county.

–Kerrianne Hanlin (Dist. 2), Elkton– a veterinarian who took over the North East Animal Hospital on Route 40 over a year ago. Dr. Hanlin, who came to the county from Pennsylvania, testified at last fall’s hearing that, based on her professional experience, she thought cats should be included in the ordinance.

(The Buddy group and its allies lobbied to get cats removed from the ordinance and a majority of the then County Commissioners agreed, but they never actually voted to remove the cat regulations.)

–Kelly Kalman (Dist.3), Rising Sun—a dog groomer at an Oxford, PA veterinary clinic. She has done animal rescue volunteer work and lists her interests as “all types of animals/equine.”

–Ricky Lewis II (Dist. 4), Perryville– employed as a public works inspector in Baltimore county and operator of a local cat rescue group, Cat Crusaders. (He was previously associated with another cat rescue tied to Mindy Carletti, a Perryville veterinarian who re-wrote the county’s animal control ordinance and now works with the Buddy group.) At the animal control hearing, he testified that cats should be removed from the ordinance due to costs and said “why should I have to pay for a problem somebody has on their property.”

–Veronica Dougherty (Dist. 5 )– A professor of biology and chair of the Science Department at Cecil College. She holds a doctorate in biology from the University of Connecticut. She is involved in training seeing-eye dogs.

Under the new animal control ordinance adopted by County Commissioners last summer, the members of the oversight panel will select their own chair, vice-chair, and secretary. The duties of the panel are spelled out in the county code here: http://ecode360.com/16162790

The oversight group was designed to act as a buffer between county government officials and citizens with complaints about animal control services. The panel will accept complaints from the public and attempt to resolve them with the animal control contractor. However, the oversight panel has no power to enforce any laws and nothing in the ordinance bars citizens from voicing their concerns directly to elected officials.

A Buddy for Life, Inc., a Delaware dog rescue group, began providing animal control services for Cecil County on 1/1/13, despite having no shelter of its own to house animals and no experience in operating an animal control service.

Up to 11 kennels are being rented from the private Raintree Kennels in Elkton and up to 11 kennels may be used at an Oxford, PA private kennel. The Buddies current rented office space on Appleton Road does not qualify for use as a dog kennel under zoning law.

However, the Buddies are expected to shift operations to a warehouse on the same property later this year.

The county is paying the Buddy group over $2.2 million under a three-year contract rammed through the county Commissioners board in the final moments before the shift to Charter government in December. The “Three Amigos” faction pushed the Buddy contract through and extended the contract to three years. Then-commissioner Moore and Robert Hodge (R-5) voted against the contract award.

The Cecil County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Inc. provided animal control services to the county for decades but terminated its contract last summer, citing costly new mandates of the new animal ordinance that the county was then unwilling to pay the group anything extra to provide. The CCSPCA subsequently put in a bid under a “Request for Proposals” issued by the county but then withdrew from the process because, as its attorney said at the time, the majority of the commissioners were leaning over backwards to tilt the process in favor of the Buddy group.

Meanwhile, Cecil Times has obtained documents showing the county government has ordered two new pickup trucks and fiberglass “caps” for the Buddy group that will be delivered in March. The contract between the county and the Buddies specified that the county would buy vehicles for the group to use in animal control duties, in addition to the $60,000 a month the county pays the Buddies (plus $10,000 in cash for ‘start-up’ expenses.)

The trucks purchase and retrofitting them with the caps, which was not submitted to the County Council for approval, will cost taxpayers $65,470. The county will retain ownership of the vehicles and lease them to the Buddies for $1 a year each.

County Director of Administration Al Wein said that under state purchasing procedures, vehicles may be acquired by the county government if they conform to a state-approved price list, without a formal Request for Proposal or bidding process.

Moore said Tuesday she was unaware that the trucks purchase had proceeded, but noted that it was a provision of the contract.

The pickup trucks, purchased from Apple Ford, have four-wheel drive and will be retro-fitted by a Pennsylvania firm with fiberglass caps that can hold six animals inside.

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10 Responses to Moore Names Five to Animal Control Oversight Panel; “Buddy” Group Gets $65K Trucks

  1. cats on February 6, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Kelly Kalman is also a friend of Dr Carletti. She used to own Top Dog grooming up until around a month ago and always groomed Carletti’s dog, but they are also friends. This is a travesty. Ricky Lewis and Kelly Kalman– once again two of Carletti’s cronies.

  2. Rick O'Shea on February 6, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Crony Capitalism at it’s worst. Thanks 3 Amigos for this taxpayer rip-off. Why are they getting paid for doing nothing?

  3. Ron Lobos on February 6, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    I’m curious as to why the new trucks were not purchased from one of the Cecil County based new truck dealerships. (William’s, Anchor or Ramsey). And why weren’t the caps purchased from at least one of the in state truck body specialists’ such as Moxley’s in Harford County or Dejana in Baltimore County. Why is there not some kind of quid pro quo that is attached to any purchase made with county money. I understand purchasing from outside the state or outside the county if there is no other choice, but in this case there is. At least if these purchases are made within the state, jobs are being supported that will bring in more tax money for us to waste.

    • Scott on February 8, 2013 at 12:18 am

      Very good point Ron. County tax dollars should be kept in Cecil whenever possible. I understand that a bid was not needed, but there still has to be someone in charge of purchasing. That person should be mandated to buy in-county. And if they can’t, they better have a documented reason why it couldn’t be done.

  4. someone cares on February 7, 2013 at 10:36 am

    It is my understanding that the trucks were purchased off the state contract. If our local dealers could lower their prices then they may be able to get a state contract. As for the caps for the trucks shop the prices yourself. You will find that Maryland copmanys charge significantely more than the PA company. Berhaps you are so rich that you are willing to pay more and allow our taxes to go up. I perfer that the low bidder get the award so that we can maintain lower taxes.

    Why do some people spout off when they do not know anything? It does not do anybody any good to put such a slant on things. I respect everyone right to speak out but save if for something you know about.

    • Ron Lobos on February 8, 2013 at 9:00 am

      You talk about saving money. If this is your main concern, then why are you not critical of the county (through the approval of Broomell and Dunn) for even buying these vehicles for Mindy Carletti and her group. This is the real reason for your taxes going up in case you can’t figure that out. That is where your big money is being lost. (Someone cares) should learn to be proactive instead of reactive in your ideology of how County tax money is to be spent. You made some empty accusations on MD companies costing more than PA companies. Can you even show me a sample of where you got this information. Broomell makes the same type of accusations in a public forum, never giving names or precise examples so I would say that you have learned from the best, or should I say WORST.

  5. Mike R on February 7, 2013 at 11:24 am

    You’ve got to be kidding about two pick-up trucks with a cap. At least the SPCA had two vans fully equipped to hold dogs in big cages with air conditioned units and I see them sitting in their parking lot not being used.

    Unbelievable that the county would spend that kind of money for trucks that are inappropriate for the safe carry of strays and protection for the public against dangerous dogs that might get loose from a pickup truck.

  6. Too Much Government on February 7, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Rainwood Kennels is owned by Judge Dexter Thompson’s wife. This is a private boarding facility. How can they board viscious and dangerous dogs with possibly many diseases in the same building as privately owned dogs and cats that are being boarded for a fee? I’m surprised to find that a kennel /would even consider putting dogs with no medical history in the same building that is housing private animals who have to provide all kinds of vaccine information before they can be boarded.

    Double standards? I guess the Judge’s wife does not have to obey the laws of the animal control ordinance that clearly states that animal control dogs cannot be housed in the same facility as private boarding animals. They may put up a wall, but the ventilation running thrughout the building is the same, and viruses are airborne. So tell me where the protection for the boarding dogs is? Shame on you, Mary Thompson, for falling for this pitbull rescue group’s “bull”– you should know better.

    • Rick O'Shea on February 8, 2013 at 7:31 am

      The latest report states that animals are being housed in an “office” building not permitted for this purpose. In the final analysis, this contract was awarded to a group with no ability to perform the requirements of the RFP. The fact that the contract was extended to match the term of the Buddies for Life lease on their rented building, which is not properly equipped smacks of an insider crony capitalism deal. Broomell demands a County Council Auditor. Someone should investigate this shameful special interest scam.

  7. Ron D. on February 7, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    It is disturbing to me that any government official, whether elected or appointed, believes that the meaning of the word “may” and “shall” is the same.
    It may have been legal to purchase out of state vehicles for the Buddy for Life Organization, but at the same time, Cecil County taxpayers have to foot the cost. Local dealers should have been given the opportunity to bid.

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