14 Severely Neglected Dogs Rescued in Millsboro by the Office of Animal Welfare; Dogs Recovering at Brandywine Valley SPCA

DOVER – As friends and families were gathering for the Thanksgiving holiday on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, Division of Public Health Office of Animal Welfare officers were able to rescue 14 severely emaciated and neglected dogs from a Millsboro property. Delaware Animal Services (DAS), the state’s animal control and cruelty enforcement unit, received a tip regarding several neglected dogs, as well as dogs running loose in a wooded area.

This is one of 14 severely neglected dogs rescued from a property in Millsboro.
This is one of 14 severely neglected dogs rescued from a property in Millsboro.

Officers responded to capture the loose dogs, who were in poor condition, and to interview concerned residents about the state of the animals left on the property. Officers obtained a search warrant and upon entry, observed numerous emaciated dogs that needed immediate medical attention and four deceased dogs on the property. The property appeared to be neglected and there was no evidence of food or water for the animals.

“This is one of the worst neglect cases we have seen,” said Chief Mark Tobin, DAS investigative supervisor. “It was obvious that the dogs had not received any care in a long while, and the conditions in which they were kept was appalling.”

The dogs, many of which had injuries from trying to escape their confinement, parasites, and other advanced signs of neglect, were taken immediately to an emergency veterinary hospital for urgent care. Several dogs who were not confined had to be captured over a 24-hour period.

Officers worked through the holiday to capture and rescue all remaining dogs running loose on the property and collect evidence. “This case involved a tremendous amount of teamwork and we want to thank the Good Samaritans who first reported the case and the Sussex County Constable Office for assisting in the initial hours of the incident. We know the dogs are in good care now at Brandywine Valley SPCA,” said Chief Tobin.

Atwood Timmons II of Millsboro, was arrested on Nov. 25, 2016 without incident on 18 charges of animal cruelty and multiple other charges concerning housing, care, rabies vaccination, and dog licensing violations. Timmons was arraigned at the Justice of the Peace Court 3 and unsecured bail was set at $60,000.

All dogs are receiving medical and rehabilitative care at the Brandywine Valley SPCA (BVSPCA). “These dogs will have a long road to recovery ahead of them,” says Adam Lamb, Chief Executive Officer of BVSPCA. “We are committed to providing individualized care to each one of them. That may mean extensive medical treatment for serious conditions associated with long-term neglect, psychological rehabilitation, or training to prepare them to live in a home environment. Whatever they need, we will provide it. If anyone would like to contribute to the animals’ rehabilitation and care, call Brandywine Valley SPCA at 302-516-1006.”

Upon examination, Lamb shared that many of the cases will need around-the-clock care and intensive therapy for heartworm. Additional diagnostic tests are being conducted on the dogs to get a better understanding of their condition and additional medical needs. Some cannot walk because of their poor state, but are alert and shelter medical staff are hopeful they will make a full recovery. Besides physical injuries, Lamb also noted that a number of the dogs are very fearful and will need weeks of structured socialization. The goal is that every dog finds the loving forever home that they deserve.

To report possible animal cruelty, contact the Delaware Animal Services 24-hour hotline at 302-255-4646. Delaware Animal Services enforces animal cruelty, animal control, and rabies laws within the State of Delaware.

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.


Public Health Celebrates the Office of Animal Welfare and Outgoing Director Hetti Brown

DOVER, DE – Three years after it was created, the Division of Public Health (DPH) Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) celebrates today the accomplishments of OAW, including those of Director Hetti Brown.

Brown, who will be leaving Dec. 2, 2016 to move to the Midwest, expressed her appreciation to the OAW team and its many supporters. “It has been a privilege to work with such a great group of people,” said Director Brown. “I have also been lucky to work with so many legislators and animal advocates over the years as we created this office. Moving was a difficult decision and I will miss Delaware. I am confident that OAW will remain strong and that DPH will select an accomplished successor.”

A list of OAW accomplishments 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 a State Animal Response Team of more than 100 volunteers.
• Implemented several critical updates to the State Spay & Neuter Program, including a statewide campaign with a website (www.FixedandFab.com), online applications and easy payment options, and new grant program offered to non-profit 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 who 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.

“We are so proud of the Office of Animal Welfare and the job done by Hetti Brown the past three years,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “We will miss her skills, work ethic, and expertise. DPH is soon launching a search for her successor as we celebrate the work of the office so far.”

“Hetti has been the architect of so many improvements in animal welfare in the past few years,” said State Senate Pro Tem Patricia Blevins. “Delaware animals are better off because of her and her team. We will miss her.”

Added Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf, “Hetti has dealt with all challenges thrown her way with poise and a deep love of animals and the relationship that people have with them. I am sorry to see her go and grateful for her hard work these past three years as we celebrate OAW’s success.”

OAW 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 http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/oaw/animalshelterstdsoversight.html.
• Emergency Animal Sheltering and Disaster Response: a team of over 100 volunteers, named the State Animal Response Team, who assist with animal evacuation, emergency sheltering, search and rescue, and veterinary support during emergencies. Learn more about volunteering here.
• 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, residents can 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….

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.

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.


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.


State Celebrates ‘World Spay Day’ With Free Spay/Neuter Surgeries

WILMINGTON – On February 23, more than 150 large-breed dogs and free-roaming cats received free spay or neuter surgeries compliments of the Division of Public Health’s Office of Animal Welfare (OAW). The mass spay/neuter event was held in conjunction with World Spay Day.

Delaware’s Spay Day activities took place in all three counties. The event was aimed at assisting owners of large-breed dogs and those who care for free-roaming cats. These are two groups of animals that experience high rates of homelessness in Delaware, according to OAW Executive Director Hetti Brown.

“Spaying animals is vital to reducing unwanted litters and may help keep those animals healthy,” Brown said. “OAW is grateful to the many participants in Spay Day, including those agencies offering the free clinics. Thank you, too, to all the Delawareans who have purchased the Animal Welfare license plate. Revenue from sales of the Animal Welfare License Plate helped to fund these surgeries.”

While low-cost spay and neuter services are available in Delaware, the procedure can still be cost-prohibitive for some families. So Delaware’s Spay Day activities were funded by the Animal Welfare License Plate Fund. The Fund is used for pet populations not served through the state Spay & Neuter Program, which provides low-cost spay and neuter surgeries for Delawareans on qualifying public assistance.

The spay and neuter surgeries were performed at seven locations: the Delaware Humane Association and Faithful Friends Animal Society, both in Wilmington, the Brandywine Valley SPCA in New Castle, the Spay Neuter Clinic in Dover, First State Animal Center & SPCA in Camden, Seaford Animal Hospital in Seaford and Crossroads Animal Hospital in Selbyville. Animals sterilized during the State Spay Day also received a rabies vaccination, if needed. Appointments were scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Spaying female cats and dogs reduces their chances of developing pyrometra (a fatal uterine infection), uterine cancer, and other reproductive system cancers, according to The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Male neutered pets have less risk of getting testicular cancer and possibly prostate cancer. In addition, dogs and cats that are spayed and neutered are less likely to mark their territories with urine, bite, roam, bark and howl, and are less aggressive.

Revenue for the Animal Welfare License Plate Fund is generated through sales of the Animal Welfare License Plate. The license plate was first launched in 1995 and was re-launched in 2015 with a new design. The Animal Welfare License Plate is available for $50 through the Division of Motor Vehicles. Of every purchase, $35 goes toward services for animals in Delaware. To purchase the license plate, go to http://de.gov/pawplate or visit any Delaware DMV location. For more information about World Spay Day, go to www.worldspayday.org.

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.


State Animal Control Set To Launch January 1 With New Website and Hotline

DOVER ─ The Division of Public Health’s Office of Animal Welfare’s Delaware Animal Services enforcement unit will provide dog control services to New Castle, Kent, and Sussex counties beginning January 1, 2016. Delaware Animal Services (DAS) has been providing animal cruelty and rabies control since September, and with the expansion of services to include animal control, all animal law enforcement services will be consolidated into one statewide unit. The City of Wilmington will continue to provide animal control services through a contracted provider until June 30, 2016.

After January 1, a team of 20 Animal Welfare Officers will respond to complaints of animal cruelty, incidents of human rabies exposure, and stray animals, including stray dogs, livestock, and seriously injured, ill, or endangered stray cats.

DAS officers will represent the most highly trained animal control officers in Delaware’s history. In addition to more than 90 years of combined law enforcement experience, Animal Welfare Officers completed state Animal Control and Cruelty Certification Training, the Delaware Constable Academy through Delaware Technical Community College, and field training with animal handling. In December, officers were also trained by a national leader in the field on Community Policing Techniques for Animal Control. The training focused on community-centric approaches to animal control to reduce pet relinquishment and prevent animal neglect through compassionate resources and education to animal owners in need of such services.

“Our officers serve as pet ambassadors in the community to solve underlying issues that cause animals to become homeless or abused. Our ultimate goal is preventing cruelty to animals and animal homelessness, and training is critical to accomplishing that goal,” said Chief Mark Tobin, DAS Supervisor.

“The public should expect that those enforcing animal welfare laws are highly trained and field-tested,” said Hetti Brown, Director of the Office of Animal Welfare (OAW). “With the consolidation of animal control services at the state level, we had an opportunity to ensure all officers received consistent law enforcement and animal services training.”

For the sheltering due to the new enforcement duties, the Delaware Office of Animal Welfare selected Chester County SPCA, which will operate shelters and kennels in Delaware, to provide humane sheltering and adoption services for homeless animals and rehabilitative services for abused animals. The selection was the result of a Request-for-Proposal issued by the OAW last August.

Delaware Animal Services will also focus on preventing pet relinquishment and cruelty through public education and the launch of a compassionate resources program. This program, set to launch in early 2016, will offer resources such as pet food and litter, dog houses, and other animal care items to pet owners in need.

Formation of the new unit began after the Delaware General Assembly passed enabling legislation last June to centralize animal control responsibilities within the state, an action that was first requested in 2013 by the Delaware Animal Welfare Task Force in published recommendations. After the recommendations were published, the OAW worked closely with county, city, and state representatives, local animal shelters and animal welfare organizations, and members of the public to draft two sets of recommendations calling for the establishment of a state-run animal control function.

Residents wishing to report potential animal cruelty or an exposure to rabies through an animal bite or scratch can do so through the Delaware Animal Services Hotline at 302-255-4646. After January 1, the hotline will also accept calls concerning stray or injured animals, or concerns about housing and care of animals. Non-emergency reports may also be submitted by email at DelawareAnimalServices@delaware.gov.

DAS will receive calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from Delaware residents wishing to report stray or injured animals, animal cruelty, or rabies exposures. The in-house dispatch service operates between 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on weekends and holidays. After-hours calls are received by our call service, which will dispatch emergency calls to on-call officers.

With the Jan. 1 launch of Delaware Animal Services, a new state website, AnimalServices.delaware.gov, will provide a Lost and Found Pet Registry. Photos and descriptions of all found stray animals will be posted in the searchable registry to help pet owners looking for their companions. A second phase, which will launch later this winter, will include updates to the Lost and Found Registry that will allow residents and organizations to post lost or found animals. The revised website will also offer new options for purchasing dog licenses, reporting non-emergency animal cruelty, and educational resources for the community.

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.