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Legislative Synopsis for 2015

by James B. Reed, DVM and William Erskine, JD

The Maryland legislature has been busy proposing Bills involving many aspects of animal law. The direct impact on the veterinary profession so far has been less than previous years. What alarms us is the overall number of bills proposed in many areas of animal welfare from both the House and Senate. The House bills (8) outnumber the Senate (3) and represent the largest number to memory. This is a reflection of the increasing interest and impact that animal advocates have had on our legislature.

A synopsis of the bills and our actions follow.


SB 163: Restriction of neonicotinic insecticides in seeds, plants and or plant material. This bill does specifically exclude veterinarians and does not mention the use on animals. These ingredients, however, are also found in our flea and tick products. No mention that these products would be regulated but the committee will monitor for future concerns.

The committee elected to monitor and offer no comments.

SB470: Prohibit the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in food animals. This bill would restrict the use of antibiotics for the purpose of growth promotion or use in the absence of clinical disease. It would also require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to track patterns of antibiotic resistance and the Department of Environment to monitor air, soil and water in proximity of feeding operations.

The committee follows the current policy of the AVMA.

This policy promotes disease prevention and strict regulatory use.

SB463: Prohibits the non-therapeutic use of medically important antibiotics in food animals in herds less than 200 and flocks less than 60,000. This bill is similar to SB470 in scope with some exemptions.

The committee follows the current AVMA policy.


HB 413: Income tax credit given to persons adopting or caring for retired police dogs. This would include veterinary costs.

The committee supports this bill with a letter.

HB645: Prohibit the sale of dogs and cats in a retail pet store or public place.

The committee felt this was an over-reaching bill

The committee did not feel it required our opinion.

HB403: Requiring a health certificate from a veterinarian be issued with the sale of all dogs and cats. This would not apply to non-profits or animal shelters.

The committee felt we should not exclude adopted pets

We could not support in the current form.

HB567: Requiring a research facility to take reasonable steps to provide the adoption of a dog or cat no longer needed for scientific research. Violation would be a misdemeanor and fine.

The committee will watch this bill but offer no comment.

HB443: Prohibit obtaining dogs and cats from a Class B dealer or from random sources for research purposes. This bill would also prohibit the use of devocalized animals. Violation would be a misdemeanor and a fine.

The committee will watch this bill but offer no comment.

HB362: Makes owner or custodian of a seized animal liable for costs relating to care of the animal. Notice must also be provided to owner to make aware of the ability to petition for the animals return within 10 days following seizure.

The committee supports this bill but offers no comment.

HB876: Proposes a uniform standard of operation and care for animal shelters following guidelines established by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians to establish specified holding periods and take certain steps to determine identity of an animal. There would also be a euthanasia policy. Violation of act would be a misdemeanor and fine.

The committee supports this bill with a letter.

HB691: Requires notification to policyholders of homeowners Insurance in a specified manner the optional coverage not included in the standard insurance policy. A small section of this bill requires notification if certain breeds are not covered on the policy.

Due to broad nature of this Bill we will monitor.

There will be no comment offered.

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