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Maryland dog bill ‘killed’


DOG LEGISLATION planned for the State of Maryland, USA which could have set the standard for sensible, non-breed specific dog laws around the world was last week ‘killed’ by the Maryland Judiciary Committee before it even made it “to the floor” of the State Parliament for discussion and voting.

The public meeting and discussion of House Bill HB562 took place on February 19th in Annapolis, where the Bill received widespread public and political support. The volume of e-mails ands worldwide support for the non-BSL law was noted and the Bill was referred onwards to the Judiciary Committee for further discussion.

It has created a great deal of interest both within Maryland and other US States, as well as throughout the world. Hundreds of e-mails have been sent to Charles Boutin and his fellow delegates who support the Bill by dog owners and anti-BSL campaigners worldwide, offering their support for the Bill.

The hearing was scheduled for 1pm in front of the Judiciary Committee. Although the turnout for the proposed dangerous dog law and another Bill seeking prohibitions on dog fighting and cock fighting weren’t great, the people who did attend were mostly well-spoken and represented organizations. (Rather than mostly private citizens or “just” dog owners).

Amongst these were the Maryland Veterinary Association , the Carroll County shelter and also the American Dog Owners’ Association (ADOA), represented by Adrianne Lefkowitz.

Decision

However, the Committee decided afterwards that the Bill should not be approved, although no reason for this decision was given nor, under Maryland legislative rules, needs to be given.

Delegate Charles Boutin’s aide, A.J. de Rosset told OUR DOGS: “I guess you can understand the shock that the delegate and I both felt when we learned of the unfavourable report.

Neither one of us could understand how a bill will overwhelming support and no opposition could fail. It was then at that time that we began trying to resuscitate the bill by working to get (admittedly belated) media coverage here in the State of Maryland. As of now, there has been no official reason stated [by the Judiciary Committee] for the unfavourable report, and any reasons I could give you would be no better than rumour or speculation.

“There was no opposition for the Dangerous Dog bill, and all questions posed to the Delegate were answered. The unfavourable report has virtually killed the bill, but Delegate Boutin is still working to possibly bring the bill to the floor. At the very least, we are now working to better inform the citizens of this state on the importance of this bill so that it will easily pass through the General Assembly next year.

“ What ever you can do to help this bill along would be greatly appreciated, and the support of so many people form around the world is both welcomed and appreciated.”