Maryland Considers Debarking Bill

Help is needed immediately to defeat legislation that has been introduced in Maryland to...

Help is needed immediately to defeat legislation that has been introduced in Maryland to severely restrict debarking of dogs. The bill (H355) is currently awaiting a vote by the House Committee on Environmental Matters.

Debarking of dogs is a commonly misunderstood practice. When performed by a veterinarian, debarking is an acceptable medical procedure that is often done as a "last resort" when all other methods of modifying a dog's behavior have failed. For many responsible dog owners, debarking is the only alternative to euthanizing or surrendering their canine companion to a local shelter when their pet's noisy behavior continually disturbs the community. The decision to debark a dog is one that is best left to the dog owner and his veterinarian.

What the Bill Does:

  • Prohibits surgical debarking or silencing of dogs unless the procedure is done to protect the life of the dog. Violators could be convicted of a felony and face up to five years in prison and/or $5,000 in fines.
     
  • Prohibits owners from obtaining a dog license unless they state on the application whether the dog has been surgically debarked or silenced.
     
  • Owners who knowingly provide false information on a license application about whether a dog has been debarked could be found guilty of a misdemeanor and face penalties of up to one year in prison and/or $1,000 in fines. The penalty also applies to owners who sell or donate debarked dogs without informing the new owner.
     
  • Veterinarians who fail to file a written statement with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene regarding why they have debarked a dog will face disciplinary action by the State Board of Medical Examiners.

 

What You Can Do to Help:

Maryland fanciers are urged to contact the Committee on Environmental Matters today. Urge them to vote "no" on H355.

House Committee on Environmental Matters
Lowe House Office Bldg #161
Annapolis, MD 21401-1991
Phone: 410-841-3534

Del. Maggie McIntosh [Chair]
Del. James E. Malone [Vice Chair]
Del. John S. Arnick (no e-mail available)
Del. Kumar P. Barve
Del. Elizabeth Bobo
Del. Joseph C. Boteler
Del. William A. Bronrott
Del. Rudolph C. Cane
Del. Virginia P. Clagett
Del. Barbara Frush
Del. Patrick N. Hogan
Del. Marvin E. Holmes
Del. J.B. Jennings
Del. Tony McConkey
Del. Karen S. Montgomery
Del. George W. Owings
Del. Rosetta C. Parker
Del. Kenneth D. Schisler
Del. Richard Sossi
Del. Joan F. Stern
Del. Paul S. Stull
Del. Michael H. Weir

 

For more information, contact:
Maryland Dog Federation, Inc. at Euniverz@aol.com, or visit their Web site.