The Problem and the Solution to Animal Cruelty
Let's face it, Maryland has a terrible and unconscionable problem with cruelty to animals. Most recently it has come to light in the torture of an innocent kitten in Edgemere (article here), and in the burning of the poor pit bull, Phoenix, in Baltimore. And in neither of these cases does Maryland have laws to protect the animals and properly punish the perpetrators. Justice is NOT being served for these animals. You know it, I know it, and most of all the perpetrators know it when they get a mere slap on the wrist for torturing and taking the precious life of an innocent animal.
Thankfully, help is on the way because this week a bill to increase the penalties for animal abuse is being drafted by Senator James Robey, Democrat in District 13, Howard County. Senator Robey is taking a courageous stand for animals by asking that Maryland increase the penalty for misdemeanor cruelty to animals from 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine to 3 years in jail and a $5000 fine. And, yes, in Maryland the torture of a kitten is only considered a misdemeanor.
So why, you may ask, is it a "courageous stand" for Senator Robey to ask for a mere increase in penalties for animal cruelty? Isn't this just the right thing to do and won't the bill breeze through the legislature with cheers and backslapping on all sides? The short answer is no. Senator Robey's bill faces an uphill battle---as do all animal-protection bills---because the "animal people" of Maryland are not vocal and not organized, until now. Please let me explain.
Bills pass or don't pass our legislature based not on their merits but on whether the lawmaker's position on that bill will or will not bring him or her votes. If you care about animals and if you want laws to protect them then please make that sentence your mantra. Let's read it again: Bills pass or don't pass our legislature based not on their merits but on whether the lawmaker's position on that bill will or will not bring him or her votes. That means that all the people in Maryland who are appalled by animal abuse must be vocal to our lawmakers and then we must vote our convictions. If a lawmaker is helping protect animals then we must work to re-elect them; if a lawmaker is hurting our efforts to protect animals with legislation then we must vote them out of office. Couldn't be simpler.
If you care about animals, please do this now: Email or call everyone you know who cares about animals and get them to sign up with Maryland Votes For Animals. Then we at Maryland Votes For Animals will send out alerts to all our members asking them to contact their representatives when Senator Robey's bill is working its way through the house and senate.
Note: If you live in PG county your involvement is especially crucial. Please get all your friends in PG county to sign up with Maryland Votes For Animals.