Laurel Woman Charged With Animal Cruelty

LAUREL (October 8, 2020) — Officers from the Division of Public Health Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) announced the arrest Wednesday, October 7, 2020, of a Laurel woman for animal cruelty. Leona Long, 75, was arraigned in JP Court 3 in Georgetown on 77 charges, including 35 counts of cruel neglect, 35 counts of failure to obtain dog license, and seven counts for failure to vaccinate for rabies. Long was released on $37,000 unsecured bail and is prohibited from possession of domestic animals, excluding fowl and rabbits, pending a court hearing.

Last week, the OAW’s Delaware Animal Services (DAS) enforcement unit responded to a complaint concerning the welfare of animals on the Laurel property. DAS executed a search warrant to enter the property, where officers discovered 35 hound dogs living in inhumane, filthy conditions in kennels covered in feces and on tethers throughout the owner’s property.

“It was obvious the animals had been neglected for some time, and suffered tremendously as a result,” said Mark Tobin, Chief of DAS. “To see their tails wag despite such a miserable environment is incredible. These dogs now have a fighting chance for a better future.”

The animals were transferred into the custody of the Brandywine Valley SPCA, the state’s contracted shelter provider, where they have been receiving care and treatment for eye infections, foot and ear injuries, and malnourishment. The dogs range in age from 6 months to 9 years, and will be put up for adoption.

To report animal cruelty in Delaware, call DAS at 302-255-4646.

Note: A photo of Leona Long is not available.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


Wilmington Man Charged with Animal Cruelty After Dog Dies in Hot Car

WILMINGTON – Officers from the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) arrested a Wilmington man following an incident involving the death of a dog left in a hot vehicle. Officers arrested the dog’s owner, 41-year-old Lamonte Jordan on Tuesday, June 25, 2019. Jordan was charged with two counts of cruelty to animals, two counts of failure to vaccinate for rabies and two counts of failure to obtain a dog license. He was released on $4,500 unsecured bail.

The OAW Delaware Animal Services (DAS) unit, which enforces statewide animal control and cruelty laws, responded to a report of two dogs left in a hot vehicle Tuesday. Upon arrival, the officers found one dog muzzled and tethered inside of a makeshift crate in the vehicle, and a second dog that was deceased. The officers’ investigation revealed that the animals had been in the car for an extended period of time. Officers seized the surviving dog, which is being held pending the outcome of the cruelty investigation.

OAW reminds dog owners that it is illegal and unsafe to leave dogs in a car on a hot day. The temperatures inside a car can quickly rise, putting the dog at risk of heatstroke and death.

“This situation is entirely preventable,” said OAW Director Christina Motoyoshi. “Despite efforts to educate the public about the dangers of hot temperatures in regards to our pets, individuals still leave their dogs in hot cars. Dogs should not be left in any vehicle for any amount of time in the summer. OAW will have no tolerance for this offense, and law enforcement action will be taken.”

Individuals who observe a dog left in a car and cannot locate the owner should call Delaware Animal Services at 302-255-4646 or call 9-1-1 immediately. It is illegal for anyone besides first responders to break a vehicle’s windows to free an animal.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the interior of a vehicle can reach 89 degrees in just 10 minutes when the temperature outside is just 70 degrees. On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car can rise to approximately 119 degrees in 30 minutes. Temperatures will continue to rise inside a vehicle, and the AVMA states that cracking windows does little to help.

Animals at the greatest risk of stress from the heat include pregnant or lactating animals, very young and older animals, animals with darker coats, obese pets, short-nosed dog breeds, and animals with chronic health conditions. Signs of heat stress can include panting, increased salivation, restlessness, muscle spasms, increased heartbeat and body temperature, weakness, lack of coordination, bright red or pale and sticky gums, vomiting, diarrhea and depression.
Pet owners should take these additional steps to protect their animals during excessive heat in the summer months:

• Animals should have access to shade and water when outside: The best place for pets in hot temperatures is inside the home. If a pet must be outside in the heat, make sure the animal has a shady area and fresh water to help stay cool. The interiors of cat and dog houses can get very hot in summer months and, therefore, do not provide adequate shade.

• Practice caution when walking dogs in the heat: The best time of day to walk dogs in summer months is in the early morning or late evening when the sun’s heat is not as intense. A simple touch of the hand to any surface where a walk is planned will tell if it’s too hot for a dog. If it’s too hot for a human hand, it’s too hot for a dog’s paws.

• Pay attention to signs of heat stroke: Just like humans, dogs are susceptible to heat stroke in high temperatures, especially if there is increased activity or little ventilation. A dog that is drooling and panting due to heat can quickly progress to a heat stroke, which can be life-threatening. Immediate veterinary attention is suggested for dogs that have become over-heated.

For more information, visit https://animalservices.delaware.gov/ or https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Hot-Cars-and-Loose-Pets.aspx.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


Public Health Names New Office of Animal Welfare Leadership: Patricia Blevins to Join as Executive Director

Dover – The Division of Public Health (DPH) announced today the hiring of Patricia Blevins as the new Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) Director. Blevins, an animal advocate for many years and one of the strongest supporters for overhauling and improving the statewide animal welfare system, will join DPH on Jan. 30, 2017, as OAW executive director. Hetti Brown, the original executive director, resigned the position in December 2016 to move to the Midwest.

Blevins, while most well-known for her work as a state senator, has nearly 20 years-experience in managing personnel and agencies, including nine years as executive director of the Delaware Helpline and three years managing the Denison Branch of Girls, Inc. She also served on the Elsmere Town Council and as Mayor of Elsmere.

In 2012-2013, Blevins chaired the state Animal Welfare Task Force, which reviewed the effectiveness of animal control programs in Delaware, as well as examining strategies to increase spay/neuter programming and animal cruelty investigation and prosecutions. For background on the Task Force, visit https://animalservices.delaware.gov/about/history.

“We are so thrilled that Patti Blevins was willing to join us,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “She has the combination of leadership, budget, and management experience, plus a deep knowledge about the Delaware animal system and its strengths and challenges that we need. We were sorry to lose Hetti Brown and wanted to fill her shoes with someone who will continue to chart this new path. As one of the original architects of the constantly evolving animal welfare system, Blevins is the perfect replacement.”

Founded in 2013, the Office of Animal Welfare is committed to protecting the health, safety, and welfare of companion animals, and dedicated to promoting the human-animal bond in the state of Delaware. It offers a variety of programs and services, including:

  • Spay and Neuter Services: Provides low-cost sterilization and free rabies vaccination to persons receiving public assistance. Residents of Delaware may apply at www.FixedandFab.com.
  • Animal Shelter Oversight and Euthanasia Technician Certification: Conducts annual inspections of all animal shelters and investigations concerning possible violations of the Shelter Standards Law. To view inspection records or submit a complaint, visit dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/oaw/animalshelterstdsoversight.html.
  • Emergency Animal Sheltering and Disaster Response: A team of more than 100 volunteers, named the State Animal Response Team, assists with animal evacuation, emergency sheltering, search and rescue, and veterinary support during emergencies. To learn more about volunteering, visit dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/oaw/files/darflyer.pdf.
  • Delaware Animal Services, 24-hour Hotline 302-255-4646: Provides animal control, rabies control, and cruelty enforcement statewide, administers the state dog licensing program, and manages the state Lost and Found Pet Registry. To learn more about DAS, visit Animal.Services.Delaware.gov.
  • Animal Control and Cruelty Agent Certification: Regulates training and certification requirements for all persons acting as an Animal Welfare Officer in the state, and conducts training for officers who wish to be certified.
  • Delaware Animal License plate: The plate sells for a one-time fee of $50, and $35 of each sale is allocated to the Animal Welfare License Plate Fund. Revenue is used to provide spay and neuter surgeries for community cats, low-income pet owners, and to supplement spay and neuter funds for Delaware shelters and rescues.
  • And more…

A list of OAW accomplishments to date include:

  • Launched the first statewide animal control and cruelty enforcement unit, Delaware Animal Services (DAS), with a centralized case dispatch function. DAS receives and responds to more than 1,000 calls per month concerning stray, endangered, or abused animals.
  • Created a statewide Lost and Found Pet Registry and licensing database to aid in reuniting owners with lost pets and tracking rabies vaccination and dog licensing records. To learn more, visit AnimalServices.Delaware.gov.
  • Reformed the state emergency response and sheltering program for animals affected during disasters, and developed the State Animal Response Team.
  • Implemented several critical updates to the State Spay & Neuter Program, including a statewide campaign with a website, online applications and easy payment options, and new grant program offered to nonprofit shelter and rescue groups. The number of clients served has doubled since implementation.
  • Published regulations and developed an oversight function for the Shelter Standards Law. Now all shelters receive annual inspections and persons conducting euthanasia in shelters are state-certified.
  • Developed state training and certification requirements for animal control officers and cruelty investigators.
  • Hosted annual Delaware State Spay Days, providing free surgeries and rabies vaccinations to pet owners with low incomes.
  • Launched the Second Chance Program, which teaches adjudicated youth how to train and handle sheltered dogs that need behavioral training before transitioning into their new homes
  • Successfully advocated for new laws to prohibit animals from being left in vehicles in dangerous temperatures, increase adoption opportunities for animals seized in cruelty investigations, protect outdoor dogs in inclement weather, improve dangerous dog case management for a more fair and equitable process, and prohibit inhumane euthanasia procedures in animal shelters.

For further information on the DPH Office of Animal Welfare, visit http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/oaw/oawhome.html.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, drink almost no sugary beverages.


Office of Animal Welfare Offers New Senior Citizen Discounts, Rolling Renewals for Dog Licenses

OAW offers new dog license options
OAW offers new dog license options

New Castle – The Division of Public Health (DPH) Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) is announcing several changes to dog licensing for 2017 that will benefit Delaware residents. Senior citizens (65+) who own dogs will now be offered a reduced rate for dogs that have been spayed or neutered. The rate is $7 annually, a 30 percent reduction on the regular price of $10 for spayed or neutered dogs. Licenses for unaltered dogs remain $15 per year for all applicants.

License terms have also changed for the better. Licenses are now valid for one year from date of purchase, and no longer based on calendar year. This means no matter when the license is purchased, it will be valid for 12 months. Two and three-year licenses are also available.

“We are working hard to implement improvements that will make it easier for dog owners to license their pets,” said OAW Interim Director Christina Motoyoshi. “Reducing the cost for seniors who own a spayed or neutered pet and are often on fixed incomes, and ensuring licenses are valid for a minimum of 12 months are two customer friendly changes that we hope will result in an increase in licensed animals.” In August, OAW added three new locations to its list retail licensing partners statewide where licenses can be purchased in person.

Locations include:

  • Yarn and Bone Pet Supply Store in Camden,129 N Main St., Suite 1, Camden, DE 19934, 302-423-8889
  • Millville Pet Stop, 607 Atlantic Ave. Millville, DE 19967, 302-539-9382
  • Fenwick Pet Stop, 1200 Coastal Highway, Fenwick Island, DE 19944, 302-581-0046
  • Furbaby Boutique, 204 NE Front St. Milford, DE 19963, 302-725-5078
  • New Castle County Government Center, 87 Reads Way, New Castle, DE 19720, 302-395-5555
  • Brandywine Valley SPCA, 600 South St., New Castle, Delaware 19720, 302-516-1000
  • New London Veterinary Hospital, 437 New London Road, Newark, DE 19711, 302-738-5000
  • Delaware Humane Association, 701 A St., Wilmington, DE 19801, 302-571-0111

Residents may also purchase dog licenses online at www.petdata.com/delaware or through the mail by calling 1-877-730-6347 for an application.
The OAW reminds dog owners that dog licenses are required by state law for all dogs 6 months of age or older. Proof of current rabies vaccination is required to obtain a license. Rabies vaccinations are mandatory for dogs, cats and ferrets 6 months of age and older. Those who fail to license their dogs face fines of $50 or more.

“There are still many pet owners who don’t know that licensing is required for dogs,” Motoyoshi said. “We are working hard to increase awareness while making the process as easy as possible for them.”
Delaware Animal Services (DAS) Chief Mark Tobin said there are several benefits to licensing dogs.

“Licensing your dog ensures that if they become lost and are picked up by our officers, they will immediately be brought home,” Tobin said. “It is also much easier and cheaper than paying fines if you’re caught with an unlicensed dog.”

According to the OAW, licensing lets people know your dog has been vaccinated against rabies. The license fees support the efforts of DAS, the OAW enforcement unit, which works to reunite lost animals with their owners, ensures care and placement of stray animals, and enhances public safety.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


Office of Animal Welfare Reminds Residents of Statewide Locations for Purchasing Dog Licenses

Wilmington – It’s now easier than ever for dog owners in Delaware to license their furry family members, as required by state law. The Division of Public Health Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) has just added three retail locations to the list of places where residents can purchase dog licenses. Dog licenses are required for all dogs, six months and older. Those who fail to license their dogs face fines of $50 or more.

OAW offers dog owners the opportunity to purchase licenses online through the website PetData.com/delaware, through the mail by calling 1-877-730-6347, or in person at retail establishments.

The recently added retail locations are in Kent and Sussex counties: Yarn and Bone Pet Supply Store in Camden, and Pet Stop locations in Millville and Fenwick Island. They join existing locations in New Castle County: Brandywine Valley SPCA in New Castle, New London Veterinary Hospital in Newark, Delaware Humane Association in Wilmington, and New Castle County Government Center.

“There are still many pet owners who don’t know that licensing is required for dogs and we are working hard to make the process as easy as possible for them,” said Christina Motoyoshi, deputy director for the Office of Animal Welfare. “We’re very excited to expand the opportunity to purchase licenses at retail establishments, making it even more convenient for residents statewide.”

An annual dog license is $10 if the animal is spayed or neutered, and is $15 for unaltered dogs. Proof of current rabies vaccination, which is mandatory for dogs, cats and ferrets six months and older, is required to obtain a license. Two- or three-year licenses are available as long as the rabies vaccination is valid during that second or third year as well. Fees are waived for seeing-eye, guide or lead dogs, or dogs that have former U.S. military service.

The OAW assumed dog licensing administration from the counties and City of Wilmington beginning January 1, and created a statewide license for 2016. The State will honor expiration dates of existing County and City licenses.

“Licensing your dog ensures that if they become lost and are picked up by our officers, they will immediately be brought home”, said Mark Tobin, chief of Delaware Animal Services, the enforcement unit of OAW. “It is also much easier and cheaper than paying fines if you’re caught without one.”

According to OAW, licensing lets people know that your dog has been vaccinated against rabies. The license fees support the efforts of Delaware Animal Services, which works to reunite lost animals with their owners, ensures care and placement of stray animals, and enhances public safety.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.