MACo Policy Analyst Natasha Mehu testified on February 26 to the Judicial Proceedings Committee in support of SB 393, Criminal Law – Costs of Care for Seized Animals. This bill places liability of cost for an animal seized for cruelty or neglect on the owner of the animal while the animal is in shelter. The cost of care for seized animals accumulates quickly and can be significant; costs to local governments can run upwards of $100,000.
The among specific examples of costs to the counties, the written testimony states:
Maryland is one of the few states that does not have safeguards in place so that local animal control agencies and shelters are not left alone to shoulder the costs of caring for these animals. Often these animals are suffering from the abuse and neglect, and are in need of special care. SB 393 places a fair burden on the owner to support this care.
For more on MACo’s 2015 legislation, visit the Legislative Database.