Here are some of the issues that we will be working on in the upcoming session of the Maryland General Assembly. Please stay tuned for more information and updates regarding legislation, Lobby Days, and Action Alerts. Together we can make a difference for Maryland’s animals!
Pets and First Responders – Maryland Law currently states that it is a crime for anyone to treat animals without a veterinary license. It is a misdemeanor that carries penalties that could include jail time and fines. Moreover, Maryland Law does not give civil immunity to first responders who rescue dogs and cats from fires, hot cars, or similar emergencies as it does whenirst responders or persons with a medical license treat people ( The Good Samaritan Law). Even basic first aid such as giving an animal oxygen or stopping bleeding from an injury is considered treating an animal without a veterinary license. A similar bill passed this past spring in Ohio and was signed by Governor Kasich, so that first responders are protected, and do not hesitate when they rescue a pet who needs immediate care in an emergency.
Adoption of Dogs in Research ( Beagle Freedom Act) – Requires research institutions to partner with local rescues so that dogs used in research can be adopted after they are finished fulfilling their obligations. There is a reporting requirement but no penalty.
Wildlife Trafficking – While the The Endangered Species Act makes it illegal to engage in the sale or trade of endangered animals who have designated protected status, it does not apply to intrastate commerce. This bill would extend the prohibitions against trade in parts and products of endangered animals with a protected status to making it a crime within the State of Maryland.
Prohibition of Non- Therapeutic Antibiotics – Prohibiting a specified owner of cattle, swine, or poultry from administering specified antimicrobial drugs in cattle, swine, or poultry without a prescription or veterinary feed directive issued by a licensed veterinarian.
Cownose Rays Tournaments – Prohibits organizing, sponsoring, promoting, conducting, or participating in a cownose ray fishing tournament in State waters; prohibiting a person from offering or accepting a certain incentive to catch cownose rays and requiring the Secretary of Natural Resources to adopt certain regulations.
Mandatory Veterinary Reporting – Requires veterinarians and shelter employees to report suspected animal abuse to law enforcement, similar to the child abuse reporting requirements, including civil immunity for those who report. Failure to report would result in a hearing before the Board of Veterinary Examiners.
Shelter Standards – This would strengthen the Shelter Standards Bill passed in 2016 by creating a State oversight mechanism.
Commercial Dog Breeding Licensure – Lowers the threshold for commercial dog breeder state-required licensure from 15 intact female dogs to eight breeding females.