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Unprecedented Success for Animals in 2013


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By Carolyn Kilborn - Posted on 12 April 2013

Maryland Votes For Animals Announces Unprecedented Success for Animal Protection Legislation in 2013 Session of Maryland General Assembly


Annapolis, MD - Maryland Votes for Animals (MVFA) applauds the Maryland General Assembly for passing two critical pieces of humane legislation: 1) establishment of a State Spay/Neuter Program and 2) closure of a loophole in dog-fighting law with a "bait" dog bill .


Carolyn Kilborn, Chair of Maryland Votes for Animals, praised the Maryland General Assembly, and said, "The 2013 session signifies a sea-change for animal protection in Maryland. We are grateful to all the Senators and Delegates who voted overwhelmingly in favor of two crucial bills. Their votes will save thousands of lives. Passage of these bills marks a new understanding among legislators of the importance of animal protection to Maryland's citizens." Legislators were inundated with emails and phone calls from Marylanders asking for passage of these bills.



MVFA's top legislative priority was passage of the state Spay/Neuter program (S.B. 820/H.B. 767) introduced by Sen. Joanne Benson (D-Prince George's County) and Del. Barbara Frush (D-Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties). The voluntary Spay/Neuter program established in these bills will provide critically-needed spay/neuter services throughout the state to combat shelter overpopulation and reduce Maryland's homeless pet euthanasia rate. Maryland shelters euthanize 45,000 cats and dogs every year at a cost of $8-9 million dollars to Maryland taxpayers.


Maryland Votes For Animals initiated work on the bill in 2010 by identifying the need for a statewide spay/neuter program, reaching out to the Speaker of the House, Michael Busch, and the Legislature to establish a task force to study this serious issue. According to Speaker Busch, "Once Maryland Votes For Animal's members explained to me the severity of Maryland's homeless cat and dog problem, and how successful other states have been in reducing that problem and saving money by implementing a low cost spay/neuter program, I was convinced that it was something that we should be doing, and I wanted to help move it forward in our General Assembly."


Click HERE to see the full Senate votes.  Click HERE to see Senate committee votes.  Click HERE to see the full House votes.  Click HERE to see the House committee votes.  Governor O'Malley's signature will finalize passage of the bill which will take effect on October 1, 2013.



MVFA also applauds passage of the "Bait Dog" bill (S.B. 360/H.B. 542) known as "Molly's Law," introduced by Sen. Bryan Simonaire (R, Pasadena) and Del. Tony McConkey (R, Severna Park ). "Molly's Law" is named after a nine-month-old puppy, Molly, a pit bull mix who was used as a "bait dog," was found badly injured in an abandoned house in Baltimore and eventually died from her wounds.


Dog-fighting involves many aspects of horrific animal cruelty including the torture, abuse, and mutilation of non-fighting "bait dogs" in training operations.  It is directly linked to other violent crimes and criminal activity, including drugs, illegal weapons, and homicide. Maryland ranks 43rd among all other states in the strength of our dog-fighting laws; only 7 states have weaker laws. This bill is a step in the right direction; it would treat dog baiting the same as dog-fighting with penalties that would carry a maximum of three years in jail and/or fines of up to $5,000.


Click HERE to see the full Senate votes.  Click HERE to see Senate committee votes.  Click HERE to see the full House votes.  Click HERE to see the House committee votes.  Governor O'Malley's signature will finalize passage of the bill which will take effect on October 1, 2013.

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