Year End 2020

Tales from the
Bark Side

Helping Free-Roaming Cats

According to the Feral Cat Project, approximately 75% of outdoor kittens die or disappear by six months of age. The most common cause of feral kitten death is trauma, and the adults don’t fare well either. The average life span of a feral cat is less than two years without human care. We’ve seen this suffering firsthand. We regularly get reports of suffering cats through our 24-hour phone line, email, and social media.

One such cat got our attention in the summer of 2019. For days, several people had been posting online about a Langley Park stray who seemed sick and in need of help. By the time we learned about the cat, a trapper from Charles County had already sprung into action. (Thanks to Help for Pets!) She drove over an hour each way to pick up the poor feline and rushed her to the emergency vet. Sadly, the cat was too far gone to save. Sick, wounded, and full of maggots, she had to be humanely euthanized.

After seeing this tragic story unfold, we knew we had to do more. We started small, with only a few volunteers, but it was enough to help when someone posted about a cat who had been wandering for a year with his leg caught in his collar. One of our volunteers trapped him and took him straight to the emergency vet in Annapolis. He was in bad shape and had a huge, infected wound under his front leg. He turned out to be a sweet boy, and we named him Bailey. After multiple surgeries and time to heal, Bailey (pictured below) is recovered, happy, and up for adoption.


While stepping up our efforts to help sick and injured street cats, we were able to expand our spay/neuter clinic operations to include a full day each month for feral surgeries. Several local groups are actively working on Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) projects to combat the huge feral cat problem in Prince George’s County, and through our PGFeralFix program, we can help them do it more affordably.

Our Goal

The ultimate, long-term goal of PGFeralFix is to reduce both the number of outdoor cats and their suffering. The first major step is to reduce the number of feral kittens by spaying and neutering as many adults as possible.

We work with trappers around the county who bring trapped cats to our FeralFix clinics. They pay only $25 per cat, which is a huge savings for them. In 2020, we altered and treated nearly 300 free-roaming cats. In addition to spay/neuter procedures, we give them a rabies shot and an eartip (to show that they have been altered and vaccinated). When we have available foster space, we take in the feral kittens who are young enough to be socialized and adopted out. Adult cats are returned to their colony, if possible. We relocate some to barn homes on occasion. 

Successes and Challenges

Trapping is key to reducing feral cat populations and getting sick cats help—and can be extremely rewarding! It comes with many challenges though. Trappers sometimes wait for hours in extreme weather and potentially risky locations. Sometimes the target cat just avoids the trap for hours or days. The cat may even disappear. Several trappers will often work together at a particularly challenging location.

But it’s worth it. Every trap door that closes behind a cat is a success. Most trappers will tell you, their heart beats just a little faster when a cat enters the trap and takes the bait. The temporary challenges are easily forgotten the moment that trap closes. It feels great to know we are helping so many cats.

Want to Get Involved?

We need trappers! We can train you and we provide the traps. Even if you're only able to trap in a small area, that's a huge help! If you can't trap, maybe you can house and transport the cats before and after surgery. Feral cats need a warm, dry, quiet space the night before and the night after surgery. A trapper who lives in an apartment doesn't have that kind of space, but maybe you do.

If you’re interested in getting involved with the TNR program, let us know by sending an email to And if you can’t volunteer, you can always donate! You won’t regret helping us make things better for PG County’s free-roaming cats. 
Don’t Bully Me! End Breed-Specific Legislation

25 years ago, Prince George’s County passed a law banning the ownership of any dog identified as a pit bull. The law was immediately controversial, and the County Council established a task force to study the issue. That task force found that the ban was expensive, difficult to enforce, and ineffective. Even though the task force recommended repealing the pit bull ban in favor of a broader and more effective dangerous dog law, the County took no action. Decades later, the law remains intact. As a result, hundreds of pit bull-type dogs are euthanized each year, even though most would be considered adoptable in other counties.
Over the past several years, we’ve learned a lot about Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL), primarily that it’s a bad idea and doesn't keep us safer. The SPCA/Humane Society of Prince George’s County (PGSPCA) and other groups have worked for years to overturn the ban. We were hopeful in 2019 when the County Council updated the Animal Control Ordinance, adding a comprehensive dangerous dog law and creating a strong responsible owner component. With this broader, stronger law in place, there is no longer a need for the highly flawed pit bull ban. But the County Council left the ban in place, stating their intent to revisit the topic in a future legislative session.
We are renewing our efforts and working with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Best Friends Animal Society (BFAS), Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA), and other local animal welfare organizations. We’ve recently focused on community outreach and education, hoping to create a groundswell of community support to repeal the ban. The first step was a virtual community conversation on the pit bull ban, sponsored by the HRA and PGSPCA last November. Almost 100 county residents attended the webinar, and there are plans for more of these community conversations in the future.
Individual communities in the county are also weighing in. Mount Rainier recently passed a resolution making the pit bull ban their lowest law enforcement priority unless there is an issue of public safety. The PGSPCA has encouraged all the other jurisdictions in the County to pass similar resolutions, and the response has been good! Our county’s communities recognize that the ban is not good public policy and that we can do better.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic will likely dominate the county’s legislative priorities for 2021, we will continue our fight to end the pit bull ban. If you live in Prince George’s County, please join us!
You can learn about why BSL doesn’t work and should be a thing of the past at Best Friends’ Pit Bull resource page (
Don’t forget to tell your County Council representative that you want your tax dollars used for a smarter more modern approach to dog bite safety, one that actually works! County Council members’ contact information is available at

January–December 2020
Making a Difference

Animals altered at our spay/neuter clinic (most for free)

Assistance and abuse calls handled on our 24-hour hotline

Cats and dogs adopted into their forever homes
Thank You!
Our Volunteers:
Foster Homes  
Clinic and Event Staffers 
Animal Transporters
Phone and Email Volunteers
Website and Social Media Editors
Cruelty Case Workers
Administrative Volunteers
Photographers and Designers
Board of Directors

Our Veterinary Team:
Dr. Shawnne Spencer
Dr. Connie Rhinesmith
Dr. Honorata Hansen
Dr. Jacqueline Hathaway
Dr. D’Wayne Hines
Dr. Alexandria Murphy
Dr. Julia Petrovitch
Dr. Alison Mocko
Our terrific surgical techs and our
     UMD pre-vet clinic interns 

Our Partners:
HighStarr Copy Services
Maximum Security
College Park Animal Hospital
All Paws Veterinary Hospital
Rocky Gorge Animal Hospital
Spay Now
Spay Spa and Neuter Nook
Humane Society of Charles County
Dr. Katy Nelson
WASH-FM and Jenni Chase 
Cpl. Barnes, Prince George's
     County Police Dept.
Staff & Volunteers at the Prince
     George's County Animal Shelter
Upcounty Websites
Sherry L Randles, CPA, PC
Osterman, Pollack & Moses
We are so grateful to all of our volunteers and donors for their support throughout the year. We truly couldn't do this meaningful work without you and all our rescue partners who help the animals of PG County. 
Donate Today!
Forward to a friend!

IMPORTANT: Due to the pandemic, many of our in-person events are cancelled. Be sure to view the online calendar at to confirm times and locations.
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Visit our website to see our adoptable animals!
Thank you to our PGSPCA Tales from the Barkside volunteers:
Co-Editors: Faith Weiner, Tamela Terry
Contributing Writers: Hannah MacLean, Faith Weiner
Design: Kerry McCutcheon

The SPCA/Humane Society of Prince George’s County, Inc. is a non-profit organization of volunteers dedicated to animal welfare. We do not operate the county shelter. We are chartered by the State of Maryland, but we receive no state or county funds. Our activities are supported solely by contributions, dues, and fundraising events.

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SPCA/Humane Society of Prince George's County · PO Box 925 · Bowie, MD 20718 · USA