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The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee is scheduled to consider a bill on Tuesday, January 19, that would allow private citizens to remove a dog or cat from a vehicle if they believe that the animal’s health or safety is in danger.  Current Maryland laws only allow law enforcement officers, public safety employees, animal control officers, firefighters, and specific animal officers as defined in law.

Senate Bill 36 expands this provision to anyone who believes a dog or cat may in danger in a vehicle and states that they may not be held liable for any damages.  There does not appear to be any recourse for the owner for damage incurred when the animal in the car was not in danger.  Also, there is no requirement that the person removing the dog should stay with the vehicle, call the police, or leave any kind of message as to who removed the animal and where it was taken. 

A new trend on the rise across the United States is known as “dog flipping”, where dogs are stolen and then resold online for a profit.  The American Kennel Club’s National Pet Theft Database shows that in 2014, there was a 4.5% increase in pet theft over the previous year.  The statistics have dramatically increased since the AKC began tracking this trend in 2008. 

The AKC agrees that no person or animal should ever be left in a situation where their health or safety is in danger.  Those who would leave them in such a situation – including a vehicle – should be held accountable.  However, as currently written, Senate Bill 36 could lead to lost dogs, property damage, and other unintended consequences.

What You Can Do:

All who reside or participate in events in Maryland are encouraged to contact the committee prior to the January 19 hearing and express any comments or concerns you have with Senate Bill 36:

Sen. Bobby Zirkin, Chair
Phone: 410-841-3131 or 301-858-3131
Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3131
bobby.zirkin@senate.state.md.us

Sen. Lisa Gladden, Vice Chair
Phone: 410-841-3697 or 301-858-3697
Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3697
lisa.gladden@senate.state.md.us

Sen. James Brochin
Phone: 410-841-3648 or 301-858-3648
Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3648
jim.brochin@senate.state.md.us

Sen. Robert Cassilly
Phone: 410-841-3158 or 301-858-3158
Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3158
Bob.Cassilly@senate.state.md.us

Sen. Michael Hough
Phone: 410-841-3704 or 301-858-3704
Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3704
michael.hough@senate.state.md.us

Sen. Susan Lee
Phone: 410-841-3124 or 301-858-3124
Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3124
susan.lee@senate.state.md.us

Sen. C. Anthony Muse
Phone: 410-841-3092 or 301-858-3092
Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3092
anthony.muse@senate.state.md.us

Sen. Wayne Norman
Phone: 410-841-3603 or 301-858-3603
Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3603
wayne.norman@senate.state.md.us

Sen. Victor Ramirez
Phone: 410-841-3745 or 301-858-3745
Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3745
victor.ramirez@senate.state.md.us

Sen. Jamie Raskin
Phone: 410-841-3634 or 301-858-3634
Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3634
jamie.raskin@senate.state.md.us

 

The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee is scheduled to consider a bill on Tuesday, January 19, that would allow private citizens to remove a dog or cat from a vehicle if they believe that the animal’s health or safety is in danger.

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