BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland lawmakers made a push to help end animal suffering across the state, just before the end of this year’s legislative session in an animal cruelty crackdown
The Maryland legislature passed six animal protection bills during the session that ended Monday, according to the Maryland ASPCA.
On the final day of the session, H.B. 1463, which requires veterinarians to report animal cruelty in the same way that doctors or teachers are required to report child abuse, was passed.
It was just last month that this puppy was found clinging to life in Howard County.
A roughly 10-week old pit puppy was left in a covered container on the side of the road in a Columbia neighborhood. The case sparked outrage.
“What’s it take to give an animal some water? We don’t live in a war zone here,” says Columbia resident Jill Eberhar
In late 2016, a Maryland woman was sentenced to 30 days in jail and year of probation for reportedly stomping and killing her neighbor’s teacup chihuahua named Harley.
“I had to listen to his heart to make sure, and he was gone,” says Jessica Miskomon.
While animal cruelty is already a felony, Maryland lawmakers are pushing to reduce animal suffering state-wide. passing a bill that would require veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty, from dog fighting to cases of hoarding and neglect.
They took action this year by passing a bill that would require veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty, from dog fighting to cases of hoarding and neglect.
They succeeded in passing a bill that would require veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty, from dog fighting to cases of hoarding and neglect.
“Right now most veterinarians we believe are making those reports but some veterinarians are not, which is why it is so critical that Maryland becomes the 13th state to require that veterinarians report animal cruelty,” says Chloe Waterman with the ASPCA.
One vet tells WJZ the law is an important in making sure vets report any potential cases of cruelty.
“It takes the weight of our shoulders and the decision making so that way it’s very similar to human physicians where they will report any type of suspicious abuse,” says Dr. Rhonda Smetana, a veterinarian at Basin Run Animal Hospital.
Advocates say the law could also lead police to learn and stopping abuse happening to people.
Also passed this session are bills that lower the number of un-spayed female dogs a person is allowed to have before they must apply for a commercial dog breeder license, establish a fund to reimburse animal shelters for the costs of caring for animals seized in cruelty cases and require pet stores to obtain USDA inspection reports directly from breeders and post them in the store.
“During the 2017 legislative session, Maryland lawmakers passed six humane measures to crack down on puppy mill cruelty, improve oversight of animal shelters, require veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty, and to allow shelters to recoup the costs of caring for animals seized in cruelty cases,” Chloe Waterman, senior manager of state legislation for the ASPCA, said in a statement.
“The ASPCA is grateful to our bill sponsors for championing these much-needed reforms to reduce animal suffering throughout the state of Maryland, and we urge Governor Hogan to sign these critical bills to send a strong message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated in Maryland.”
There are bill signings scheduled for April 18, May 2 and May 4, but the bills that will be signed will not be announced until right before those dates.