They are charged with doing the dirty work---caring for thousands of unwanted dogs and cats each year, but a former volunteer at the Baltimore County Animal Services shelter, Kathy Soul, says that's no excuse for the conditions she witnessed here.
"Extraordinary filth, feces covering the walls (and) obvious neglect on the part of the staff--- some of the animals, the ones that are held there the longest, ones that are involved in court cases, are often kept in the back in very bad conditions."
For its part, the county is in the midst of upgrading the operation.
Full-time veterinarians, an expanded spaying and neutering program and new customer-friendly hours should address some of its shortcomings, not to mention plans to build a $5 million dollar facility here next year.
"That will not only give us more space, a larger place for more animals, but we'll (also) have a quarantine area and we'll have other socialization areas for our cats and we'll also even have a public dog park up here," said Baltimore County Health Director Gregory Branch.
With so many changes underway, it begs the question, why animal advocates are still preparing for their protest?
"What the county seems to misunderstand is that there are much greater needs of the shelter than a new building," said Soul.
Soul says rebuilding on the same remote site and leaving the same management in place will result in fewer adoptions and the same conditions, which have plagued the facility in the past.
She readily admits this is also personal, since she was fired as a volunteer for pointing out problems or for telling the managers how to run the place, depending on which version of her termination you wish to believe.
The protest is scheduled to begin at 5:30pm on Monday outside the historic courthouse in Towson.