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Maryland Committee to Consider Guardianship Bill on March 1

(Tuesday, February 14, 2012)

On March 1, a Maryland House committee will consider House Bill 912, which seeks to change the word “owner” to “guardian” in numerous places within state code. This would likely result in a dramatic restriction in the rights of owners and veterinarians to protect and care for dogs.

Responsible dog owners who reside or participate in dog events in Maryland are strongly urged to contact the members of the House Environmental Matters Committee prior to the March 1 hearing and respectfully ask the committee members to oppose House Bill 912. Scroll down for committee hearing and contact information.


House Bill 912 would change the word “owner” to “guardian” in reference to dogs in state code. The changes include:

  • Changing the definition of who must obtain a kennel license from one who “owns or has custody of 15 or more unspayed dogs” over the age of 6 months and sells dogs from 6 or more litters to one who is the guardian or has custody of 15 or more unspayed dogs over the age of 6 months and sells dogs from 6 or more litters.
  • Stating that county license fees must be paid by guardians, and striking all reference to owners
  • Changing county nuisance and vicious dog provisions from being the responsibility of the owner, to being the responsibility of the guardian.

Talking Points:

The AKC believes that using the term “guardian” rather than “owner” may actually reduce the legal status and value of dogs as property. As a result, no one may be legally bound to take responsibility for the dog or properly care for it.

Read AKC’s policy position statement “’Guardian’ v. Owner”

View and print AKC’s handout The Dangers of Guardianship

How You Can Help:

Responsible dog owners who reside or participate in dog events in Maryland are urged to contact the House Environmental Matters Committee prior to the March 1 hearing and ask the members to vote “no” on House Bill 912. The contact information is as follows:

Delegate Maggie McIntosh (Chair)
Phone: (410) 841-3990
E-mail: Maggie.McIntosh@house.state.md.us

Delegate James E. Malone, Jr. (Vice Chair)
Phone: (410) 841-3378
E-mail: james.malone@house.state.md.us

Delegate Pamela G. Beidle
Phone: (410) 841-3370
E-mail: pamela.beidle@house.state.md.us

Delegate Elizabeth Bobo
Phone: (410) 841-3205
E-mail: elizabeth.bobo@house.state.md.us

Delegate Rudolph C. Cane
Phone: (410) 841-3427
E-mail: rudolph.cane@house.state.md.us

Delegate Alfred C. Carr, Jr.
Phone: (410) 841-3638
E-mail: alfred.carr@house.state.md.us

Delegate Barbara A. Frush
Phone: (410) 841-3114
E-mail: barbara.frush@house.state.md.us

Delegate James W. Gilchrist
Phone: (410) 841-3744
E-mail: jim.gilchrist@house.state.md.us

Delegate Cheryl D. Glenn
Phone: (410) 841-3257
E-mail: cheryl.glenn@house.state.md.us

Delegate Anne Healey
Phone: (410) 841-3961
E-mail: anne.healey@house.state.md.us

Delegate Patrick Hogan
Phone: (410) 841-3240
E-mail: patrick.hogan@house.state.md.us

Delegate Marvin E. Holmes, Jr.
Phone: (410) 841-3310
E-mail: marvin.holmes@house.state.md.us

Delegate Jay A. Jacobs
Phone: (410) 841-3449
E-mail: jay.jacobs@house.state.md.us

Delegate Stephen W. Lafferty
Phone: (410) 841-3487
E-mail: stephen.lafferty@house.state.md.us

Delegate Herb McMillan
Phone: (410) 841-3211
E-mail: herb.mcmillan@house.state.md.us

Delegate Doyle L. Niemann
Phone: (410) 841-3326
E-mail: doyle.niemann@house.state.md.us

Delegate H. Wayne Norman, Jr.
Phone: (410) 841-3284
E-mail: wayne.norman@house.state.md.us

Delegate Anthony J. O’Donnell
Phone: (410) 841-3314
E-mail: anthony.odonnell@house.state.md.us

Delegate Charles J. Otto
Phone: (410) 841-3433
E-mail: charles.otto@house.state.md.us

Delegate A. Shane Robinson
Phone: (410) 841-3021
E-mail: shane.robinson@house.state.md.us

Delegate Dana M. Stein
Phone: (410) 841-3527
E-mail: dana.stein@house.state.md.us

Delegate Cathleen M. Vitale
Phone: (410) 841-3510
E-mail: cathy.vitale@house.state.md.us

Delegate Michael H. Weir, Jr.
Phone: (410) 841-3328
E-mail: michael.weir@house.state.md.us

Delegate C.T. Wilson
Phone: (410) 841-3325
E-mail: ct.wilson@house.state.md.us

The AKC Government Relations Department (AKC GR) will continue to provide updates as they become available. For more information, contact AKC GR at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.

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