Animal associations

Wicomico Co. Humane Society Aims to Update and Strengthen Animal Control Regulations

WICOMICO COUNTY, Md. — On Wednesday, the Wicomico County Board will consider a request from the Wicomico County Humane Society (WCHS) to adjust animal control regulations.

Review of regulations

WCHS is asking the county to add or strengthen eleven regulations. “There are some much anticipated changes that need to be made. Some codes really need to be strengthened so that our animal control officers can do their job a little more effectively,” said Kimberly Nock, WCHS Executive Director and Animal Control Officer.

Nock says the regulations include a ban on leaving animals on abandoned property or in an abandoned residence, and require proper bedding and shelter for animals left outside. Additionally, WCHS wants to be able to spay or neuter dogs that are picked up by Animal Control at least twice a year. This includes dogs deemed dangerous. “We’ve always had that for men. But, we’re looking to add it in for females as well and take out the part about them being in heat,” Nock said.

And for animals brought in as strays, WCHS hopes to microchip everyone. “We do this now as a courtesy, but would like it to be completely mandatory if a dog is picked up,” Nock said.

WCHS would also like to have more specific guidelines and regulations against nuisance barking. “We have the ability to issue citations, but we don’t have the ability to follow them through. So when your neighbor’s dog barks all night, that’s a problem we really can’t fix other than by writing quotes,” Nock said.

Not just dogs

Nock says WCHS also has an eye for animals other than dogs. “Unfortunately, the roosters are becoming a big problem. Everyone has roosters now. They are in residential areas, and people are allowed to have them. But, they disturb the peace,” she said. “Having an appropriate size for [farm] animals that are owned is something that has always been covered in our zoning codes. But, we find that this is a problem that animal control would probably be better able to handle than a zoning officer.

Work with the board

WCHS worked with the county attorney to draft the new rules. Nock says she’s confident the Wicomico County Council will be responsive to the request and is on the side of the animals as well.

“We get a lot of phone calls. A lot of people just don’t understand the codes. They think we have the power to do things we don’t. Unfortunately, we have to follow the laws and codes that are given. So that’s the kind of stuff we ran into,” Nock said. “We’re focusing on the things that we’re confident enough we can change, and that will [Animal Control’s] work a little easier.