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February 13, 2009

Md. State Lawmakers Receive Humane Legislator Awards

The Humane Society of the United States

Each year, The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization, recognizes state legislators across the country who have initiated path-breaking animal protection legislation and demonstrably advanced reform in the policy-making arena. The organization is pleased to announce that Maryland state Sen. Norman Stone, D-6, and Delegates James Malone, D-12A, and Jon Cardin, D-11, are winners of The HSUS' Humane State Legislator Award for 2008.

"The animals of our state are fortunate to have leaders like Senator Stone and Delegates Malone and Cardin willing to step up to the plate and fight for what is right," said Nancy Perry, vice president of government affairs for The HSUS. "We are very grateful to them for their hard work and commitment to compassion."

Perry presented the legislators with their awards at a ceremony at the Lowe House Office Building at the state capitol Wednesday morning before an audience of nearly 60 citizen lobbyists participating in The HSUS' Maryland Humane Lobby Day. Forty-one states across the nation are hosting Humane Lobby Days in February, March and April 2009.  The bills that the Senator and Delegates were being honored for were among 93 new laws for animals passed by state legislatures last year.

Sen. Stone and Del. Malone was recognized for their work to upgrade Maryland's anti-animal fighting laws, introducing and passing S.B. 44 and H.B. 719, which increases the maximum penalty for being a knowing spectator at an animal fight to one year and/or a $2,500 fine. In an HSUS ranking of the nation's state dogfighting laws, Maryland ranked at a low 40th, in part because of its anemic penalties for spectators, making Sen. Stone's and Del. Malone's work a very important step in the fight against the cruel bloodsport of animal fighting in the state of Maryland.

"We need to be vigilant in protecting animals who cannot speak for themselves," said Sen. Stone. "It is truly an honor to receive recognition from The Humane Society of the United States for my legislative endeavors on behalf of animals."

"It's an honor and a privilege to be receiving this award," said Del. Malone. "Working with The Humane Society of the United States was absolutely a great experience, and I look forward to working with The HSUS in the future."

Del. Cardin was recognized for introducing and passing a bill to make the euthanasia of pets at animal shelters more humane. H.B. 1481 closes a loophole that denied Maryland animal shelters access to the most effective drugs used to sedate animals before they are euthanized.

"I am honored to be recognized for something I probably would have done anyway," said Del. Cardin. "What sets us apart from the rest of the living world is the human capacity for compassion and for recognizing that animals can and should be treated with respect and dignity. It may not always be easy, and I applaud the efforts of my advocates who continue to keep all of us focused on humane objectives."

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization – backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty.  On the web at humanesociety.org.

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