Bravo! Another victory for grassroots! At the March 9 hearing for Maryland House Bill HB 912, our correspondent Nancy Hill (legislative representative for the Maryland Association for Wildlife Conservation) reported that Chairman Maggie MacIntosh announced that she has received more e-mails against HB912 than she had ever received on other significant legislative issues. As a result, the committee KILLED the bill by giving it an unfavorable report! Kudos to everyone who wrote in.
HB 912 would have changed the term “owner” to “guardian” throughout Maryland law. This bill was opposed by every major national and state animal organization, including but not limited to, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Kennel Club, the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association, the Maryland Horse Council – and on and on (see the March print edition of The Equiery or visit www.equiery.com and look on the home page in the lower right hand side for the legislative archives).
How did HB 912, which was such an obviously bad piece of legislation, even make it on the docket? Apparently, the sponsor of the bill, Delegate Kach, was approached by one of his former legislative aides who is now in law school and is taking a course on animal law, who thought this would be a good idea. Del Kach and his aide both argued that HB 912 is meant to be a “cultural shift” in the way people look at their animals, i.e. , owning a pet is not like owning a piano. Then, Del. Kach told the committee that he has drawn up an amendment that defines “guardian” as “owner.” Obviously, the amendment would undo what the bill was trying to do, rendering the bill moot. Kudos to the Environmental Matters Committee, who apparently realized the absurdity of the bill and promptly killed it.
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