Thursday, February 12, 2009


There are a whole list of Boards and Commissions that operate in PG county. One of them, a very, very well-kept secret for some reason, is the Commission for Animal Control. This is a group established by local law to review actions of the PG Animal Management Division staff, generally taken against the animals and animal lovers of the County. Most people only find out about this Commission when they are told to pay a fine or when a pet they own is seized by the county. The group think of themselves as a "court" and even will be caught referring to themselves as a court -- but they are a COMMISSION and not a judicial branch entity.

Meetings of the commission are called "hearings." The commission has a chairman, who I think is elected from among the members, and there are specific county agencies that are supposed to have a voice in the proceedings of the group -- like the health department, or the police department.

And there are the poor unsuspecting animal lovers, who get called to explain anything from where they live to what their dog's name is. They are not expecting to be cross-examined, it's clear, and they don't realize that the deck is always stacked against them.

The impetus for forming this commission is lost in the haze of time. It may have once been supposed to ensure fairness in how people and their pets are treated by PGAMD.

That's not what it looks like the commission has done for a long time, though. And the other duties outlined in the charter -- reviewing the PGAMD budget, and making proposals for changes in PGAMD policies -- are completely ignored today. Sad, that, because there is a real need for this sort of oversight.

I'll have more news on Commission doings, in the months to come. Check back soon!

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