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October 15, 2012

Kind News Story: Girl Scouts Go for the Bronze

Maryland Girl Scout troop helps pass a state law to stop puppy mills

Kind News magazine

  • Victory! The Girl Scouts were invited to the signing ceremony for the law they helped pass. Girl Scouts Nation's Capital

Members of Girl Scout Troop 6811 from Sandy Spring, Md., wanted to make a lasting change in their community. For their Bronze Award project, they chose to help end the suffering of pets.

The girls visited their local animal shelter and also met with experts from The Humane  Society of the United States. They learned that one of the reasons shelters are overcrowded is because of puppy mills.

These factory-style breeding facilities churn out millions of puppies for profit while dogs in shelters wait for homes. Puppy mill breeding dogs spend their entire  lives in cages. They get little or no veterinary care, exercise, or love. A law was needed to identify where puppy mills were operating in their state. It would be the first step toward regulating them. The girls decided to help get that law passed.

A trip to Annapolis

After preparing their testimony, the girls traveled to the Maryland state capitol. Seated before the House committee, the scouts took turns speaking. "This bill is important to us because we love animals and care about how they are treated," one scout began. They did such a great job, Sen. Lisa Gladden invited them to speak before the Senate too. Within a month, the bill passed both the Maryland House and Senate. The girls were there to see Gov. Martin O’Malley sign it into law.

Watch "Let the Dreamers Lead," a documentary video the Scouts created about their Bronze Award project »

A promise kept

The girls promised to continue to work on the issue — and Girl Scouts keep their promises! They met with Secretary Vilsack’s staff at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They discussed a proposal to crack down on puppy mills selling dogs over the Internet. "We believe that this rule change will reduce the suffering of dogs across the entire country," they said.

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