The Maryland House Environment and Transportation Committee has scheduled a Committee vote tomorrow, February 18, 2022, at 3 p.m. on House Bill 16. The bill would place limitations on dogs being outdoors and unattended in certain weather conditions, with exemptions for “if the dog is lawfully and activity engaged in hunting; livestock herding; sledding; sporting; or training.” See previous alert.
AKC encourages those who reside or participate in dog events in Maryland to contact the Committee members today, express your appreciation for the exemptions currently contained in the bill, and ask that they consider further amendments to address remaining concerns and to ensure all dogs are protected in all situations. Scroll down for contact information.
AKC’s Request for Further Amendments:
AKC requests the following clarifications that will ensure all dogs in all circumstances are protected:
- Amending the definition of “Extreme Weather Conditions” to cold weather or precipitation-related environmental conditions, including, but not limited to, wind, rain, snow, ice, sleet, or hail, that a person should reasonably conclude would pose an adverse risk to the health or safety of a dog based on the age, breed, general health and condition of the dog and its ability to withstand the environment. This would allow for the needs of various breeds, ages, and the general health of individual dogs to be considered and protected by basing it on the individual dog and not a number on a thermometer.
- Adding language that requires that shade and other protection should be provided when the temperatures are such that could result in serious injury, hyperthermia, or death of the animal. Or, simply requiring “suitable shade” during a specific warmer weather period of the year, e.g., May 1 to October 1, as several Maryland counties currently do. This would also be in agreement with guidelines provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association for the protection of dogs in summer months that include making sure dogs have access to shade when outside.
- Adding “acclimatization” to the list of exemptions. While we are pleased that the existing exemptions are included, many sportsmen and other trainers have noted that any time that a trained dog may be called upon to perform a specific task in potential adverse conditions (for example search and rescue), the dog must first be acclimated to those conditions. This avoids any potential harm that might result from performing the task without proper preparation.
What You Can Do:
Contact the Maryland House Environment and Transportation Committee members prior to the 3:00 pm voting meeting tomorrow, Friday, February 18, 2022.
Let them know you appreciate the current exemptions in House Bill 16, and respectfully ask that they consider the additional amendments mentioned above to protect all dogs and allow for dogs to be acclimated for certain tasks.
Click here for House Environment and Transportation Committee member contact information.
AKC Government Relations and Responsible Dog Owners–Maryland will continue to closely monitor this bill and communicate with the General Assembly. For more information, contact email@example.com.