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On Monday, March 21, 2022, the Maryland Senate will give third and final consideration to the passage of Senate Bill 44 which regulates dogs outdoors and unattended in certain weather conditions and temperatures.  Its companion bill, House Bill 16, had previously passed the House and is now in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

The AKC is thankful the bill allows exemptions “if the dog is lawfully and actively engaged in hunting; livestock herding or guarding; sledding; sporting; or training.” which we requested to make sure the bill does not impact dog shows, field trials, Rally, agility, hunting, and other humane activities.

However, AKC remains concerns about situations that have not been addressed.

Among our chief concern is that the bill relies on an absolute temperature to determine when a dog may be endangered by extreme weather instead of the dog itself based on the age, breed, general health and condition of the dog and its ability to withstand the environment.   Further, it places many dogs at danger by failing to require access to continuous shade for a dog outdoors during summer so long as the temperature does not exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  For more information, see our previous alert.

What You Can Do:

AKC encourages those who reside in Maryland to contact their State Senator and those who participate in dog events in Maryland to contact members of the Maryland State Senate today.

Let them know that while this bill will protect some dogs in Maryland, it does not protect all dogs in Maryland.

Remind them that dogs are the most diverse mammals on earth and laws regulating dogs outdoors should acknowledge that diversity by being based on the individual dog’s age, breed, general health and condition and its ability to withstand the environment and not an arbitrary number on a thermometer.

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