Baltimore Mayor's Office Signs Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Commission into Law

ASPCA Has Designated Seat on Commission; Ordinance Seeks Justice for Victims, Looks to Prevent Future Crimes
November 3, 2010

NEW YORK—The Baltimore Mayor’s Office, in conjunction with the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), today signed into law the Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Commission, a board that will work to help the city of Baltimore prevent and prosecute animal cruelty, including dog fighting.

“The people of Baltimore have a strong and visceral reaction to news about animal abuse,” said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.  “Abused animals cannot speak for themselves, and if those of us who care about the humane treatment of living beings don’t speak up on their behalf, no one will.  This new commission will help give a voice to animals and make Baltimore better, safer, and stronger.”

Added Ann Church, Senior Director, Southeast Region of Government Relations for the ASPCA, who represented the ASPCA at today’s press conference announcing the new ordinance, “The ASPCA has long recognized that animal cruelty is not just an animal control or law enforcement problem. It is something that requires the skills and resources of many members of a community. The ASPCA is eager to help turn the new Commission's goals into reality and will continue to provide both local and national resources to help Baltimore meet its commitment for a more humane world.”

Dr. Randall Lockwood, the ASPCA’s Senior Vice President of Forensic Sciences and Anti-Cruelty Projects and who has served on the task force since its inception, continues to represent the ASPCA, the only national animal welfare organization to have a seat on the commission. Other members include representatives from the State Attorney’s office, the Baltimore City Council, the Mayor’s office, BARCS (Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter), and MDSPCA (Maryland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

The commission began as a task force in July 2009 in response to the fatal burning of a dog named Phoenix.  Recommendations of the task force include training of law enforcement and animal welfare professionals who respond to animal cruelty cases throughout Maryland and assisting in the drafting of anti-animal cruelty legislation.

“The ASPCA was horrified to learn what happened to Phoenix,” said Dr. Lockwood. “We have long recognized the dangerous potential for animal cruelty to lead to more serious crimes, and we look forward to working with the city of Baltimore to help put a stop to these violent injustices against animals.”

“We have been impressed by the strong commitment made thus far by all those involved in this commission and look forward to working with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the entire commission in the future,” said the ASPCA’s Ann Church. “The ASPCA is especially appreciative of Caroline Griffin, who chaired the commission through its year as a task force and for her leadership and perseverance to see this through.”