Big Wins for Maryland’s Animals in 2017
The Maryland General Assembly adjourned for the year at midnight on April 10, but not before passing several critical animal-protection bills. Pending Governor Larry Hogan’s approval of these measures, 2017 will be remembered as an exceptional year for animal welfare in Maryland!
Here are a few highlights from the ASPCA’s priority bills this session:
- Veterinarians will now be required to report suspected animal cruelty (just like doctors are required to report suspected child abuse).
- A new fund will be established to help reimburse animal shelters for the expensive costs of caring for animals seized in cruelty cases.
- More commercial dog breeders will now be required to obtain state licenses, helping ensure puppy mills cannot go undetected and unaddressed.
- Animal shelters will now have to meet basic standards of humane care and be subject to inspections by the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
- The animal cruelty law was clarified to ensure that each incident of cruelty will be charged separately, helping ensure that abusers receive adequate sentences.
These bills passed in large part because animal advocates made their voices heard by attending a lobby day, making phone calls and sending emails to their legislators, and spreading the word over social media. We want to thank all of you for helping secure these victories!
If you live in Maryland, please urge Governor Hogan to sign the animal welfare measures on his desk and thank your state legislators for making 2017 a great year for animals!
There was one important bill that did not make it across the finish line this year: Often referred to as the Beagle bill, it would have required research institutions to adopt out dogs and cats once they are no longer needed for research. It was opposed by Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland.
You don’t have to be a Maryland resident to urge Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland to reconsider their opposition to this important bill! Visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center to take action, or email the university presidents at [email protected] and [email protected].