The Maryland House Economic Matters Committee is scheduled to consider a bill tomorrow (Tuesday, March 3) that contains some very troubling legislative findings (including implying that breeders are the reason dogs end up in shelters) and also restricts certain pet sales in the state.
AKC encourages Maryland residents to contact the committee and respectfully educate them on all responsible breeders do on behalf of dogs and ask them to oppose House Bill 645. Scroll down for committee contact information.
AKC’s concerns with House Bill 645 include the following:
- Misleading and inaccurate legislative findings that insult the integrity of breeders. They should not be given a place in Maryland Statute.
- The bill states that there are “countless” unwanted dogs and cats, but lacks data or references to back up this claim. Pets end up in shelters for a variety of reasons including owner relinquishment, stray and lost pets, and importation from other states. AKC believes that before implementing further laws limiting dogs and cats in the state, the state should first accurately ascertain the facts about the nature of the population of pets in Maryland shelters.
- The term “puppy mill” is used. This is offensive to high quality breeders who take excellent care of their animals and should not be placed in state law – even as a legislative finding.
- The bill’s preamble compares animals to humans. While the AKC agrees that animals do feel pain, fear, and hunger, a comparison between humans and animals in statutory language suggests a legal status for animals that is inconsistent with current Maryland law and sets a dangerous precedent.
- HB 645 would prevent new pet stores from selling dogs and cats in the state. While House Bill 645 would not regulate pet stores currently in operation, the bill would prevent new “pet stores” from opening in the state. Furthermore, the definition of “retail pet store” may include responsible breeders who have business hours in which they open their kennels to the public. As such, this measure may prohibit such breeders as well as new pet stores from selling high quality purpose-bred pets in Maryland. A better solution is to ensure that consumers are educated, understand responsible dog ownership, and have access to a variety of pets so they can make the best choice for them.
What You Can Do:
Attend the March 3 Economic Matters Committee hearing and respectfully ask the committee to oppose House Bill 645 as currently written. The committee details are as follows:
Maryland House Economic Matters Committee
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Room 230, House Office Building
Annapolis, MD 21401
View specific instructions here for testifying at the committee hearing.
Contact the House Economic Matters Committee. Respectfully educate them about all responsible breeders do on behalf of dogs and ask them to oppose House Bill 645. Click here to view the committee roster, and click on each name to view their phone numbers and send them an e-mail.