ASPCA Commends Maryland Lawmakers for Enacting Critical Animal Protection Bills in 2017

Animal advocates rally in Annapolis to celebrate legislative victories for animals
May 5, 2017

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commends the Maryland General Assembly and Gov. Larry Hogan for enacting humane measures during the 2017 legislative session. The new measures will crack down on puppy mill cruelty, create oversight of animal shelters, require veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty, and help shelters to recoup the costs of caring for animals seized in cruelty cases. Animal advocates hosted a celebration in Quiet Waters Park yesterday to celebrate these hard-fought victories for Maryland’s animals.

“Animals won big this legislative session,” said Chloe Waterman, senior manager of state legislation for the ASPCA. “The ASPCA thanks the General Assembly and Governor Hogan for enacting these critical bills to reduce animal suffering throughout Maryland.”

The Maryland General Assembly passed the following humane measures in 2017:

  • S.B. 573/H.B. 334: lowers the threshold for commercial dog breeder licensure from 15 to 6 intact dogs, making it harder for puppy mills to operate undetected.
  • S.B. 631/H.B. 941: establishes a fund to reimburse animal shelters for the costs of caring for animals seized in cruelty cases.
  • S.B. 790/H.B. 455: clarifies the cruelty code to ensure convicted animal abusers receive appropriate sentences.
  • H.B. 626: requires certain animal shelters to meet uniform standards of humane care and be subject to inspections by the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
  • H.B. 1463: requires veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty in the same way that doctors and teachers are required to report child abuse.

An additional animal protection bill, S.B. 420/H.B. 528, did not pass. It would have required the state’s research facilities to make dogs and cats used in research available for adoption once testing is over. The “Beagle Freedom Bill” had massive public support but faced heavy opposition from the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University, both of which run research laboratories that use animals. In protest, students at Johns Hopkins secured nearly 35,000 signatures in support of the bill, and delivered those signatures to state lawmakers in March.

For more information about the ASPCA or to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit