Over the past few weeks, the Standing Committees of the Maryland Legislature have been busy holding hearings on numerous bills in preparation for floor action by the full House and Senate.
Here are some updates on bills of interest to Maryland dog owners. Scroll down for the latest information and how you can take action on these measures:
House Bill 81 and Senate Bill 122- Dogs Outdoors in Adverse Weather
HB 81 and SB 122 are cross-filed reintroductions of legislation entitled “Unattended Dogs in Extreme Weather” from last session. As explained in a previous alert, these identical bills place limitations on dogs being outdoors and unattended when the weather is outside a certain temperature range.
The bills include exemptions for hunting, livestock herding, sledding, sporting, or training which AKC GR worked with the sponsors last session to include. AKC continues to ask for an additional exemption for acclimation to protect those who are humanely acclimating their dogs to weather in order to perform certain tasks.
In addition, since the sponsors have stated that removing the specific temperatures is non-negotiable, AKC GR has been seeking an amendment to ensure that dogs that cannot meet the established absolute temperatures are protected by including the age, breed, general health, or condition of the dog and its ability to withstand the environment as an additional determining factor.
- HB 81 was voted out of committee without amendments and is scheduled for a full House vote tomorrow, Thursday, February 11, 2021.
- SB 122 has a public hearing but is currently awaiting a vote in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, which has yet to be scheduled. AKC GR has been contacted by and is working with Senator Michael Hough on amendments to address his concerns regarding temperatures and other issues with the bill.
What You Can Do:
HB 81 –Contact the members of the Maryland House of Delegates. Click this link to find the name and contact information for your State Delegate. Let them know you appreciate the exemptions and ask for support for AKC’s requested amendment.
SB 122 – Contact the members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. Let them know you appreciate the current exemptions in the bill and respectfully ask that they consider additional amendments that protect all dogs and to allow for dogs to be acclimated for certain tasks.
Contact Senator Michael Hough and thank him for working to amend the bill to ensure that all dogs are truly protected in all weather conditions. If you are a constituent, be sure to mention that when contacting him.
House Bill 293 and Senate Bill 200 – Hunting Regulations
As mentioned in a previous alert, HB 293 and SB 200 are reintroductions of legislation from last session which sought to prohibit a person from sponsoring, conducting, or participating in certain organized contests that have the objective of hunting or killing certain wildlife for prizes or monetary awards. As reintroduced this session, the bills contain the amended language that AKC GR and the Sportsmen Alliance requested in 2020 to exclude lawful dog training or dog competition events. This will ensure that field trials and other American Kennel Club (AKC) sanctioned events are not impacted if the legislation is enacted.
- SB 200 recently passed the Senate and has been assigned to the House Environment and Transportation Committee.
- HB 293 is awaiting action by the full House and is scheduled for a vote tomorrow, Thursday, February 11, 2021.
What You Can Do:
SB 200 – Contact the members of the House Environment and Transportation Committee. Let them know you appreciate the language exempting dog training and competition events.
HB 293 – Contact the members of the Maryland House of Delegates. Click this link to find the name and contact information for your State Delegate. Be sure to let them know you are a constituent and if you participate in performance events in the state and/or their district.
AKC Government Relations continues to closely monitor these and several other bills under consideration by the General Assembly. For questions or more information on how you can get involved in Maryland, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.