February 21, 2013
Humane Lobby Day Kicks Off in Annapolis
Maryland animal advocates lobby lawmakers to protect animals
Maryland citizens concerned about animal welfare converged on the state capitol for Humane Lobby Day in Annapolis on Thursday to lobby for animal protection laws. Humane Lobby Day 2013 is sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) and Maryland Votes for Animals.
Humane Lobby Day participants met with their state legislators to lobby in support of SB 592/HB 1148 to ban the sale of shark fins, SB 160/HB 78 to reverse the Court of Appeals ruling on pit bull dogs, SB 820/HB 767 to establish a statewide spay/neuter program and SB 360/HB 542 to strengthen Maryland’s dogfighting law.
“It’s thrilling to see Maryland citizens come to Annapolis to speak up for animals,” said Tami Santelli, The HSUS’ Maryland senior state director. “We hope state lawmakers heard us loud and clear and pass these bills.”
Ann Church, vice president of state affairs for the ASPCA, said: “Lobby Day allows concerned citizens to convey their passion for the protection of their own pets as well as other creatures. When people choose to take a day off from work to travel all the way to the Capitol, they are showing a strong desire to participate in the legislative process on behalf of animals who cannot speak for themselves. This altruism demonstrates how deeply Maryland citizens care and shows a dedication that should sway lawmakers as they consider animal protective legislation.”
Carolyn Kilborn, chair of Maryland Votes for Animals, said: “Humane Lobby Day is the most important day of the year for Maryland's animals. This year, it's particularly true since attendees will be lobbying for legislation establishing a State Spay/Neuter Fund, SB 820/HB 767. This bill, if passed, will save the lives of tens of thousands of Maryland's cats, dogs, kittens and puppies.”
Sens. Catherine Pugh, D-Baltimore City, John Astle, D-Anne Arundel County, and Del. Nic Kipke, R-Anne Arundel County, received The HSUS’ Humane State Legislator Award for their work in passing legislation during the 2012 session requiring pet stores to disclose basic information about puppy suppliers, and providing remedies for people who purchase sick puppies from pet stores.
“I have experienced firsthand the heartbreak of acquiring a sick pet from a pet store so I was pleased that the General Assembly agreed legislation was needed to provide a remedy in this situation, and to require pet stores to disclose basic information about where they get their puppies,” said Del. Kipke. “As an animal lover, I look forward to continuing to work on animal protection legislation in the future.”
Sen. Astle said: “I am proud to receive this recognition as a Humane State Legislator for 2012. It demonstrates that, even though I am an avid hunter, I am a conservationist and I do care about the treatment of animals.”
Sen. Pugh said: “I am very pleased to accept this award, and happy to support animal welfare legislation in Annapolis. The legislation passed last year by the General Assembly requiring transparency at pet stores protects both animals and Maryland consumers. People have a right to know where puppies sold at pet stores come from.”
Maryland ranks 16th in The HSUS’ 2012 “Humane State Rankings” which grades each state and the District of Columbia based on a wide range of animal protection laws dealing with pets, animal cruelty and fighting, wildlife, animals in research, horses and farm animals.