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How to Help Prevent Rabies in the Neighborhood

With several cases of raccoons testing positive for rabies in our area, including one recently in College Park Woods (see the Health Department letter for more information at, the City asked Prince George’s County Health Officer Dr. Matt Levy some of the most commonly asked questions about rabies and rabies prevention, and how to report any potential sightings or concerns.

To learn more about rabies in Maryland, including rabies surveillance statistics and efforts to prevent and control the disease, please visit the MDH website here:

Rabies & Microchip Clinic, Tomorrow

Rabies & Microchip Clinic
April 16 | 10:00AM – 2:00PM | Davis Hall

The City’s Animal Control and Animal Welfare Committee are hosting a Rabies and Microchip Clinic for City pets on April 16, 2023 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Appointments are required – slots are individual, you can only register one animal per spot. Appointments are in 10 minute slots, and space is limited. All animals MUST be leashed or properly confined to a carrier. No walk-ins.

City residents must be able to provide proof of residence to obtain free services.

Services will be discounted for non-residents as follows (exact cash or check only):

Rabies vaccine, $10.00 For 1 year or 3-year Rabies vaccines, the pet owner must have a current signed rabies certificate (1- or 3-year), and vaccines will be given at the discretion of the veterinarian.
Microchipping, $20.00

Please come no earlier than 10 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. Please remain in the vehicle with your pets, and wait to be called for your appointment.

Please read here for more.

[City of College Park]

Celebrate: City Tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, January 11, 2020
2:00 to 3:30 p.m.
Dance Theatre in The Clarice at the University of Maryland

Inspiration and Entertainment for all Ages – this free event will honor the legacy of Dr. King.

This year’s theme: “Is His Dream your Dream Too?” will be explored through performances, panel discussion, and an audience Q&A segment.

Bring an unexpired non-perishable food item to donate at the event.

[City of College Park]

Group Asks to Reverse its Ban on Pit Bulls

In 1997, the Prince George’s County Council passed breed specific legislation banning dogs described or resembling a pit bull terrier, such as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier or the American Pit Bull Terrier. Today, that antiquated ban is still in place. This legislation has not prevented the breeds–often friendly, loveable, family pets–from entering the County or the City of College Park. However, enforcing the ban is subjective to the individual evaluations of Prince George’s County Animal Services supervisors.

Experts like the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Animal Care and Control Association agree that no breed of dog is inherently dangerous and reject policies based solely on breed.

Backed with this information, local animal welfare organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Rescue Alliance have met with members of the Prince George’s County Council in hopes of removing the breed specific legislation from the revision of the Animal Control Ordinance which was presented to County Council on September 17, 2019. Currently, the breed specific language (Section 3-185.01) remains in the drafted revision.

City’s Animal Welfare Committee members is asking the repeal of the “pit bull ban” will reduce the stigma of the breed, increase the Prince George’s County live outcome and provide an outlet for happy, social dogs to be adopted to local families and households, including those in the City of College Park. City staff believe that enforcement of the breed specific legislation costs tax-payer money (often, with no true resolution) and often breaks up happy households with the removal of a family pet. We believe that an endorsement from the City of College Park, a municipality within Prince George’s County that provides concurrent Animal Control Services to City residents, will provide an insight that the County Council has not yet been presented with.

The Animal Control Ordinance has been referred to the Prince George’s County Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy, and Environment Committee for discussion. The first review was held on September 26, 2019. A public hearing has not yet been scheduled.

At this week’s meeting, the City Council will discuss the proposed legislation and whether to support AWC’s proposal to lift the Pit Bull ban.

[City of College Park]

Davis Park to Get New Play Equipments

The City has recently been awarded a $27,750 grant to replace the old play structure at Davis Field at the end of Iroquois St for the 5 – 12 year old children. Below is a preliminary concept design and color scheme. Once the components and color scheme is finalized, the equipment can be ordered. Installation of the new structure may take several months, depending on the installer’s schedule.

There is also planned maintenance work, tentatively scheduled for August/September at the site, prior to the installation of the new play structure. The deteriorating wooden timbers surrounding the small play structure for 2 – 5 year old children and the swings will be removed and replaced with new timbers. In addition, the swing structure will be increased in size from a single bay structure to a double bay structure. Currently, there are 2 swings at the site, 1 belt swing and 1 toddler swing. The new structure will have 2 belt swings in one bay and a separate bay for the 2 toddler swings.

Please let me know if you have any questions.


Feral Cats in College Park – What You Can Do?

Recently, I’ve been asked what can be done to contain feral cats in the neighborhood. There are at least 4 feral “colonies” in North College Park.

There are a couple of options residents have with feral cat complaints:

(1) To loan a trap that the resident would be responsible for monitoring and baiting and contacting City or County Animal Control when a cat is captured. Any cats that are trapped will be immediately assessed and transported to PGAMG for euthanasia if deemed feral WITHOUT an eartip. There is a county law in place that does protect eartipped feral cats and they cannot be removed without a formal complaint filed with the County Animal Control Commission. There is nothing against feeding feral cats in either the City Code or the County Ordinance. If the caretaker takes ownership of the cats, they can be issued a municipal infraction, but there is no cause for removal based on the City Code unless the animal is creating a nuisance on public property (section 102.10). The complainant does have the right to claim that the animals are a nuisance as defined in section 102.1, but this complaint must be heard by the County Commission for Animal Control, as there is no resolution for such a nuisance complaint in the City Code. These nuisance related items were once heard by the now disbanded City Animal Control Board.

(2) Funds for a TNR project. More about TNR is here: . A TNR project would have to be initiated with the caretaker. A TNR project would also need to be manned with volunteers as a City employee (Animal Control Officer – ACO) cannot trap the cats in question for TNR.

(3) In addition to these options, humane harassment techniques are also recommended, but feral cat aversion is more difficult than wildlife aversion. There is an item on the market that Laurel Cats recommends and loans to Laurel residents called “Catscram”.

(4) Alley Cat Allies’ web site also offers a variety of nuisance solutions: .

If you have feral cats issue in your neighborhood, please let me know how you want to proceed. And if you find a dead kitten stuck inside, seek professional help. I’ll be happy to put you in touch with our ACO, who will help you in taking the next steps.

Spay-Neuter Initiative Extended by One Year

The the grant which provides free spay and neutering services to City residents has been extended.

This was possible after the grant from the Maryland Department of Agriculture has been extended one year, so we will be able to continue this program through 2016.

Perhaps some will have received the gift of a pet this season. Please refer questions to our animal control officer mVivian Cooper at ( ) for information on how to obtain these free services. Staff will add an announcement in the next bulletin.

City’s Animal Adoption Practices Explained

Recently, I’ve received some notes from staff clarifying City’s animal and adoption practices, Please see that below:

When an animal is found at large and is impounded by the City Animal Control Officer, as per section 102-6, “the animal found at large shall, if possible, be impounded by the city and taken to the City Animal Control Shelter for a period of at least three workdays, or to other appropriate shelter”.

City’s current practices are to hold “unowned” (no sign of ownership) animals for three business days (or workdays) and animals that appear to have strayed from a family for five business days, to mirror County policy. An animal on a stray hold does not receive vet care unless it is injured and must be stabilized. Because of this, each “stray” animal must remain within the City facility as opposed to a foster home as there is potential to contaminate or infect owned animals. Once an animal, such as those cutest kittens in the world, is released from stray hold and is accepted into the City adoption program, has been tested for appropriate viruses or parasites, the animal has potential to enter foster care.

In order to enter the City adoption program, each animal is assessed on three levels, much of which can be observed during the stray hold – behaviorally, socially, and medically. For example, the City cannot adopt out a known biter, a cat with inappropriate urination habits, or a Feline Leukemia positive cat. Such animals would be transferred to another rescue or agency or, possibly, transferred to PGAMG in which case euthanasia is a very real possibility due to the liability of the individual animal.

In recent years, the City has adopted a formal adoption fee structure into the City Code. This allows for the City to be compensated for part of the medical work each animal received prior to adoption. Each animal is sterilized, receives age appropriate vaccines, is started on preventatives, and is tested for virus or heartworm and tick borne disease. Many times, stray animals come to the shelter with upper respiratory illness or intestinal parasites. We treat these maladies, as well.

Because we cannot immediately turn animals over, sometimes space must be taken into consideration as our city facility cannot house more than 10-12 animals (depending on the animal and cage requirements) at a time. If an animal is too energetic or even too large for the city facility we must then transport the animal to PGAMG who will then perform the same stray holds as outlined above, giving the owner the appropriate time to redeem the animal.

City Code section 102-7(C) states, “illegal animals, feral animals, exotic animals, dangerous animals, and vicious animals may be immediately euthanized, if the public health, safety or welfare so requires, or taken to the County Animal Shelter , without being retained by the City Animal Control Shelter for any period.” As Trap-Neuter-Release programs are not yet accepted into regular PGAMG practice, College Park does not recognize TNR and is required to transport to the County facility. (Note- ear-tipped cats are released as per County Ordinance 3-122(e) which references handling of ear-tipped cats.)

The College Park Animal Control Officer makes every effort possible to reach out to the communities and locate the owner of any animal impounded as stray. Ads are posted on social media: Facebook, Craigslist, and Nextdoor; emails are blasted to the Animal Welfare Committee members; and community list serves are utilized. Though volunteers may be available for weekend care, volunteers may not handle redemption of animals as there is an enforcement and educational aspect which must be addressed with the release of the animal and the payment of the fees and sometimes fines.

Spay / Neuter Your Pets For Free

Spaying / neutering can help prevent pet homelessness

At last night’s Four Cities’ meeting, it was announced that residents within Zip Code 20737, 20740, 20783 (which includes college Park), can now spay / neuter their dogs and cats for free.

The program is initiated by the City of Greenbelt, but will be supported by the partnership of: Greenbelt, City of College Park, New Carrollton and Berwyn Heights.

Having your dogs and cats spayed and neutered can help reduce pet homelessness. There are more than 5 million dogs and cats living in animal shelters; over 50% of these are estimated to be euthanized.

There are also over 70 million stray dogs and cats in this country. A fertile cat will give birth to 4-12 kittens every year; a fertile dog will give birth to 4-6 puppies each year. Dog and cat over population is the major contributing cause for dog and cat homelessness, and the high rate of unnecessary euthanasia in shelters.

The program is absolutely free for low income residents, but others are encouraged to contribute, if they can. The major barrier for low-income pet owners to having their pet sterilized is the cost of surgery. The Maryland Statewide Spay/Neuter Fund was created to fund spay/neuter surgeries for low income/at-need pet owners.

More about the program can be found here.

Council to Discuss a New Animal Shelter in Northern Prince George’s County

A rescued cat at the county animal shelter in Upper Marlboro

A rescued cat at the county animal shelter in Upper Marlboro (Source: The Gazette)

At tomorrow’s worksession, the City Council will discuss a draft feasibility study and proposed scope of services for a North County animal services facility and facility staffing.

Over the past few months, an ad-hoc committee including elected offiCials and staff from the Four Cities, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) , and Prince George’s County Department of the Environment (PGDOE), has met to discuss the potential for a North County animal services facility, and the potential for shared governance and staffing of such a facility.

The City has budgeted up to $25,000 to supplement County funding of such a feasibility study. Other Four Cities partners have committed to smaller, or no, funding: Greenbelt and Berwyn Heights have committed to $5,000 each; New Carrollton has not committed any funding.

Staff has raised a number of questions about the shelter.

First, there has been no Council commitment for future, long term, shared funding of the construction, operation, or staffing of a North County facility. It is recommended that no further funding commitment be made until the feasibility study report and recommendations are available. The study should include a cost benefit analysis of all possible sources and uses of funds, and all options for construction and management of a facility.

Second, A North County facility could alleviate the City’s reliance on Animal Welfare Committee. volunteers to assist our Animal Control Officer with shelter and foster care, and shelter housekeeping when the ACO is not available. Opportunities for AWC and community volunteer activity could still continue at a North County facility. The AWC may need to evaluate their role in City and County sponsored adoption and animal care programs. AWC fund raising for a North County shelter may need to be structured differently than the current City-sponsored program.

Third, A North County facility could replace the current City animal holding facility with a more modern facility which is accessible to the public for ease of adoptions. However, if the feasibility study determines that the most cost effective and beneficial facility would serve all North County municipalities and communities , it probably should be constructed and maintained by County, private grants, and fee based funds, rather than Four Cities funding. Any potential tax differential provided by City funding of a North County facility would be negligible. It is estimated that an average City household would only net an additional $1 .82 per year in tax differential if the County granted a 100% animal management tax differential. City property owners currently receive an 80% tax differential due to the City’s eXisting animal control program. (Estimate based on US Census 2013 data with average single family dwelling valued at $304,000).

Finally, Joint staffing may be potentially problematic. Staffing and governance of a North County facility by a consortium of County and local governments could be challenging. Based on recent ACO data, we would expect to transport approximately 90 animals per year to the new shelter. There would be some amount of efficiency gained in the City Animal Control program by not having to transport certain animals to the Upper Marlboro facility, and not having to maintain a City holding facility. However, the additional time available may be best used by increasing City ACO patrols and community animal care education, rather than assigning staff time to ass’ist at a North County shelter. The City ACO would be expected to continue close coordination with County AMG. And, the County AMG would continue to be the backup when the City ACO is off duty.

The Council will discuss editing the draft feasibility study in order to direct that all potential funding, construction, operations and staffing options be identified and compared for cost effectiveness and maximization of public and animal benefits for the County and municipalities.

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