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March 25, 2011

Maryland Senate Approves Kennel Licensing Bill

The Humane Society of the United States applauds the Maryland Senate for unanimously passing legislation to take a first step towards addressing the issue of puppy mills in Maryland.  Senate Bill 839, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Gladden, D-Baltimore City, would require commercial dog breeders to be licensed by the counties and require the counties to report licensing information once a year to the state Similar legislation, House Bill 940 and sponsored by Del. Tom Hucker, D-Montgomery, passed the House of Delegates last week.

“House Bill 940 is especially important in Maryland, because it is one of few states that currently have no statewide licensing and inspection regulations for commercial dog breeders,” said Melanie Kahn, director of the Puppy Mills campaign for The HSUS. “This bill will provide critical information to the state and help track the puppy mill problem here in Maryland.” 

Puppy mills are large-scale commercial dog breeding operations that mass-produce puppies for sale in pet stores and over the Internet. Focused solely on making a profit, these facilities keep dogs in crowded, filthy conditions where they receive little or no socialization, affection or exercise. Because Maryland has no statewide laws regulating puppy mills—and because puppy mills often operate under the radar—there has been no way to understand the scope of this problem in Maryland. The recent seizure of 51 dogs from an Anne Arundel County breeder indicates that such large-scale facilities do exist in Maryland.

"In light of the recent situation in Anne Arundel County, it is clear that state oversight of breeding kennels is imperative for the protection of animals," said Sen. Gladden. "I am so thrilled that the Senate has taken action to pass this important measure."

Girl Scout Troop 6811, from Sandy Spring, Md., also lobbied in support of the bill, testifying before House and Senate committees to speak out against puppy mills. The scouts also presented their testimony to Governor O’Malley, who praised them for their efforts.  The fourth and fifth grade girls undertook a project on shelter pets and related issues for their Bronze Award project. Photos of the girl scouts testifying are available upon request. H.B. 940 and S.B. 839 need one final vote in each chamber before being sent to Governor O’Malley for his signature.  The Maryland legislative session ends April 11.

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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 28. 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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