Humane Lobby Day
Humane Lobby Day is a fantastic opportunity to make a difference for animals! Every year, animal advocates from all across the state gather in Annapolis to learn how to be a citizen lobbyist for animals, talk about animal protection legislation that is being considered and meet with their elected officials. If you’ve never done anything like this before, don’t worry! We will give you all the information you need, and we will set up appointments for you with legislators from your area.
Humane Lobby Day will be February 12th 8:30AM-2:00PM at the House Office Building, Room 170 and 180. Please sign up here: http://m.action.humanesociety.org/site/Calendar?id=116936&view=RSVP&s_src=em_sd_MD_hld2019
Please join us for this exciting opportunity to discuss ways you can make a difference in the lives of animals and read below to see what legislation we will be discussing.
- 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, introduced by Sen. Justin Ready (R-5) and Del. David Moon (D-20), 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. The 36 other states with similar laws, including all of our neighboring states, have recognized that you cannot treat live animals the same as seized property that can just sit in a storage locker for months, and they need a unique civil procedure that recognizes that.
- Extending the Moratorium on Cownose Ray Killing Contests (SB 143/ HB 213): Many of you will remember our work on this issue a few years ago after we all became aware of these gruesome contests taking place annually in the Chesapeake Bay (the Save the Rays coalition produced this video footage of the contests for those who may be unfamiliar). Participants competed for cash and prizes to kill the largest rays, killing hundreds of animals in a single contest and then often throwing them away once the contest was complete. We want to ensure that these wasteful and cruel contests remain a thing of the past, and this legislation, introduced by Del. Dana Stein (D-11) and Sen. Ron Young (D-3), extends the moratorium on the contests for another two years while the Department of Natural Resources works to finalize a species management plan for the rays.
- Protecting Animals from Sexually Abusive Predators (SB 355): In a study of over 44,000 adult male sex offenders, researchers concluded that animal sexual abuse is the number one risk factor and the strongest predictor of increased risk for sexual abuse of a child. Animal sexual abuse eroticizes violence, control and exploitation, and includes any sexual molestation of an animal by a human. Current law criminalizes broadly “unnatural or perverted sexual practices” and provides little clear definition of what constitutes sexual abuse to animals, leaving large loopholes that prosecutors in our state have identified in recent cases. The bill, introduced by Del. Atterbeary (D-13) and Sen. Lee (D-16), will not only close these loopholes but also penalize other individuals involved with animal sexual abuse such as those who allow their pets to be sexually abused by others (usually for a profit) or force others to sexually abuse animals. As you can see, not all of the bills have been introduced yet, and there is the possibility that additional bills will be covered depending on additional animal welfare legislation that is introduced and the status of our priority bills on Lobby Day. Stay tuned for any possible additions or changes! There may be other animal protection topics/issues that are important to you, but focusing on the selected bills we’ve chosen will make the most impact during your visit to Annapolis.