By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) —  There’s a push in Annapolis this session for research labs to put dogs used in animal testing up for adoption. In the meantime, some adoptions are already taking place.

Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland already have adoption programs, but advocates say the state needs to make the adoption not just an option but a law.

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Gail Thomasson found beagle pup George Washington in a Maryland research lab three years ago.

“He didn’t know how to eat from a bowl, he’s not housebroken – so he had to be housebroken. He clung to his bed, the sofa, or my bed, I had to carry him in and out, never played with toys,” she says.

It is on behalf of George and other dogs used in research that the ASPCA urges lawmakers to require labs to attempt adoption before euthanizing the animals. Advocates ask — if dogs like George have done their part for humanity, shouldn’t they have a home?

Senator Michael Hough is a bill sponsor.

“This is a common-sense bill. All it says is if these animals are used in experimentation, if they are able to be adopted out, they should be adopted out and given to loving homes.”

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The bill is opposed by Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland on the grounds that it would undercut animal research.

“This bill has an uphill battle because it has some tough opposition, but we are going to be here, we are going to continue to fight,” says Chloe Waterman, ASPCA.

“We just need to help pass this bill so more dogs like George in the state of Maryland can have a chance at life,” says Thomasson.

Nine states have passed similar laws. According to Senator Hough, beagles are chosen for animal research because they’re so easygoing and forgiving. The bill passed in the house last year but stalled in the senate.

The senate hearing on the bill was on Valentine’s Day, February 14. There’s another hearing next week in the house.

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