S.B. 152/H.B. 135 will establish a legal process by which pet owners involved in animal cruelty cases may be responsible for paying for the care of the seized animals while criminal charges are pending.
This law would bolster the current law by retaining the 10-day period for owners to file a petition for the return of their animal(s) to maintain ownership. It would also enact a workable civil procedure to determine the disposition of seized animals and require a bond to pay for the cost of caring for any owned animals that are in the custody of animal control, similar to what is in place in 36 other states.
Maryland Cost of Animal Care Act (SB 152/ HB 135): Current law lacks a working mechanism to determine the disposition of lawfully seized animals in cruelty cases, leaving the animals in legal limbo and requiring local agencies and non-profits to pay for the animals’ care for months or years while cruelty charges are pending. This legislation establishes a legal process so that anyone who has had his or her animals lawfully seized due to cruelty may be required to pay for the animals’ care, saving taxpayer dollars and animal lives by allowing the seized animals to be adopted and placed in new homes if the owner fails to post a bond to pay for the animals’ care.