Target: Michael Busch, Speaker of the House, Maryland
Goal: Protect dogs and cats seized in cruelty cases from being stuck in limbo for months or years at shelters
Abused dogs and cats that are seized in cruelty cases in the state of Maryland are often stuck in the shelter system for months or even years while their alleged abusers wait for their trial to begin. Not only is it unfair to keep these traumatized animals confined in cages with minimal exercise and affection, it requires valuable space that could be used to save the lives of other animals in need of homes.
The state of Maryland currently has one of the weakest “cost of care” laws in the country, which ASPCA officials say results in countless animals seized from cruelty cases getting stuck in limbo in overcrowded shelters for extended periods of time. The high cost of caring for these animals reportedly makes it difficult to enforce animal cruelty laws while charges are pursued through the court system. Forcing animals who have suffered abuse and trauma to remain confined in cages where they often receive little attention, exercise or mental stimulation for months or even years is cruel and should not be tolerated. In addition, most animal shelters are already overcrowded and forced to euthanize healthy, adoptable animals on a daily basis to make space. Housing animals seized in cruelty cases for extended periods of time means that even more adoptable dogs and cats will be euthanized using taxpayers’ money because of limited space.
Effective “cost of care” laws mandate a hearing process for alleged abusers that will either require the defendant to post a bond to pay for the animals’ care or relinquish ownership of the animal so they can be adopted out. This humane option would save countless lives by opening up much-needed space in Maryland’s shelters and provide financial relief to animal control agencies, saving lives and taxpayers’ money. Urge government officials to introduce legislation to strengthen cost of care laws in 2015.
Dear Mr. Busch,
I am writing to you out of concern regarding current “cost of care” laws for animals seized in cruelty cases in Maryland. Under the current law, these animals are often stuck in limbo in taxpayer-funded shelters while their alleged abusers wait for trial. While this is not ideal for the animals, it also results in more animals being euthanized at shelters due to lack of space and funding.
Strong “cost of care” laws that have proven to be highly effective in other states mandate a hearing process for alleged abusers and require them to either relinquish ownership so the animal may be adopted out or post a bond to pay for the animals’ care. This would save animal control agencies and taxpayers a great deal of money by alleviating the financial burden of caring for these animals for extended periods of time and would also open up much-needed space at overcrowded animal shelters, saving lives and funds. I urge you to introduce legislation that would strengthen Maryland’s “cost of care” laws by mandating alleged abusers pay for the care of their animals or relinquish ownership so the animal may be adopted out.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Erick Pleitez via Wikimedia Commons