Demand Baltimore Crack Down on Animal Abuse

Target: Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore

Goal: Demand Baltimore devote more resources to preventing animal cruelty and neglect

A report will soon be released condemning Baltimore’s agencies for failing to cooperate with other organizations and curb the city’s serious animal abuse problem. The issue gained national attention in 2009 when a pit bull named Phoenix was burned so badly she eventually had to be euthanized. As a result, then-Mayor Sheila Dixon organized an animal cruelty task force. Since its creation, however, the new mayor and new Police Commissioner have failed to hold up the responsibilities the task force established and this must be fixed immediately.

The task force has since become known as the Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Commission. Despite what seems to have been a strong move toward repairing Baltimore’s bad reputation for protecting its animals, a report already delivered by the commission in April claims that they have had significant setbacks as a result of the city’s agencies failing to do their part. Part of the April report reads “Most distressing, many of the stakeholders in the fight against animal abuse have not cooperated with the commission. We have lost ground in the past year … to protect animals from abuse.”

The report assigns the majority of the blame to the Police Department. Since the retirement of the former commissioner, the department’s interest in helping the commission has dwindled. Many of the current law enforcement officials still view animal abuse as a minor property crime. Animal Control is also largely to blame. A system was set up in 2009 to track animal cruelty cases, but Animal Control never implemented these protocols. Dr. Oxiris Barbot, commissioner for the Baltmore City Health Department which oversees Animal Control, even neglected to attend a single meeting of the anti-abuse commission during the first 18 months she was appointed. Perhaps the most upsetting fact of all is that, despite the size of Baltimore, the entire city only has one animal control officer on duty at night because it is dramatically underfunded and understaffed.

The currently unreleased report is expected to be an even more scathing indictment of the city’s failure to make progress toward protecting its animals. Please sign the petition below to demand the Police Department and the Health Department work with the Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Commission.


Dear Mayor Rawlings-Blake,

In 2009 a task force called the Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Commission was created in order to deal with Baltimore’s notorious animal cruelty problems. Since its creation, however, city agencies such as the Health Department and Police Department have failed to attend meetings, change policies, or work with the commission in any way to improve the current conditions. Five key members of the commission have already resigned, including the chair.

It is appalling that a city with as many resources as Baltimore continues to fail to protect its animals because of a lack of funding and cooperation. A report from the commission that is yet to be released is expected to bring more sad news. This cannot continue. I demand that you make more of an effort to not only provide more funding for Animal Control, but also force city agencies to work with the commission to solve this problem. Lives are being lost every day because of the city’s negligence and it has to stop now.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: rockychrysler via Flickr

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  1. Trecia Watson says:

    Dear Citizens of Maryland and Honorable Law Makers,

    What is Maryland doing to protect helpless animals from evil people?

    In New Jersey, the state Assembly today passed a bill that would allow prosecutors to treat the leaders of dogfighting rings like mobsters, as well as legislation to toughen the penalties for abusing animals.
    The first bill (A2379), which passed 78-0, would make dogfighting a third-degree crime and allow for those who organize the events be to prosecuted under the state’s organized crime statute, known as RICO. The measure had not been introduced in the Senate.
    “Dog fighting is deplorable and should be prosecuted as a criminal act,” Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen), the primary sponsor, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, New Jersey has seen far too many cases of this kind of criminal treatment toward animals in our communities. It’s time to strengthen state law by imposing stronger penalties for dog fighting and its ring leaders.”
    Tony Kurdzuk/The Star-LedgerPatrick the pit bull, seen in this file photo, the namesake for a bill that would upgrade penalties for animal cruelty in New Jersey. The measure passed the Assembly today.
    The Assembly also passed a bill known as Patrick’s Law, by a vote of 75-1, sending the measure to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk. The legislation (S1303) — inspired by the heart-wrenching story of Patrick, a starved pit bull left for dead in Newark — would increase the criminal and civil penalties for animal cruelty.

  2. Carol Wasilewski says:

    In a civilized society you should never allow a person or animal to be abused,starved.,maimed and kicked aside. Our animal shelter is full of animals in just that situation. Has Baltimore become a less than civilized society? Mayor Blake you must force these agencies to work together and come up with a viable plan to deal with the problems at Animal Control

  3. This continuing condition is deplorable!

    I just adopted a rescue pit bull puppy. Luckily young enough not to be scarred for life by neglect and God knows what else. It’s hit my wallet pretty hard, but there’s no such thing as a free pet! ALL of my pets but one have been rescues and they’re the best of all.

    Yes, God gave us dominion over the animals, but HE did NOT give us permission to abuse them! They feel pain, both physically and psychologically.

  4. Anyone who abuses Animals needs to ABUSED themselves!

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