Maryland Update: Bill potentially impacting outdoor dog events defeated in committee

By AKC Government Relations
March 14, 2019

The Maryland House Environment and Transportation Committee has voted to not approve HB 501, a bill that as introduced would have amended the state’s tethering laws and ban dogs from being left tethered outdoors unattended for more than 30 minutes when the temperature is below 32 or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

The AKC offered amendments to the bill as introduced, noting that HB 501 did not take into account that certain breeds thrive outside these temperatures, nor did it consider that some breeds require a more moderate climate and even 30 minutes in temperatures permitted under this proposal could jeopardize the dog’s health. The AKC recommended that this measure be clarified to state instead that a dog should not be left outdoors in conditions where the health and safety of the dog is in immediate danger.

Ultimately, the committee gave the bill an unfavorable report, meaning the bill will not advance this year.
AKC thanks the Maryland dog owners who reached out to legislators and the committee on this bill and communicated how it would impact your dogs. AKC and our local clubs look forward to working with the sponsor and General Assembly on positive solutions to address their concerns and protect dogs in Maryland.
For more information on this bill, please view our previous alert.



As a member of the Responsible Dog Owners of Maryland, Inc. we need you to take immediate action – this is a time sensitive request!

Legislators in Maryland will be addressing HB135 and SB152 on January 31, 2019. which could cause an owner to permanently lose their animals.

This pending legislation affects loss of ownership of animals when they are suspected of cruelty – even if they are found not guilty. The Responsible Dog Owners of Maryland Inc, in conjunction with the American Kennel Club agree that anyone found guilty of cruelty should be punished appropriately, including being responsible for the care of animals seized. However, under Senate Bill 152 and House Bill 135, a person could lose their animals forever just for being accused of cruelty unless they pay monthly fees (as determined by the agency that seized the animals) for the boarding of animals for the duration of the trial and any appeals.

These requirements imply the guilt of an individual before a conviction has been reached and is likely to legitimize if not increase frivolous accusations and harassment of breeders and multiple-pet owners by anti-breeder radicals. Therefore, we strongly OPPOSE this pending legislation.
The AKC has provided a template and links for all of us to express our opposition.  AKC Government Relations Alert:

It will take you less than 10 minutes to OPPOSE this pending legislation. This could affect all of us.

The following talking points will help you argue your opposition.

  1. Require that owners accused of cruelty post a bond to cover the cost of care of all animals seized for the entire length of the trial/appeals – and permanently forfeit ownership rights (regardless of ultimate outcome of a trial) if even one payment is missed. The court determines the amount of the bond based on information provided by the agency caring for the animal and will include transportation costs, medical care, and ongoing food and sheltering needs.
    In addition, the bill specifically states that the court may not consider the accused person’s ability to pay when determining the amount of the bond. AKC believes this punishes dog owners who may lack the resources to board one or multiple pets for months on end during a trial, particularly while also mounting a legal defense. Such owners could be forced to give dur to financial constraints to up their animals before a verdict is reached, even if the court finds them not guilty. If the owner is ultimately found not guilty, the money is refunded; however, the dogs will not be returned if a payment is missed during the trial regardless of the verdict.
  2. Require that upon conviction the mistreated animal be removed immediately, and the ownership rights transferred to the impounding agency. AKC recommends that the rights of co-owners who do not currently possess the animal also be considered and that they be given the opportunity to claim the animal prior to its permanent transfer to a shelter or rescue.

Important links to follow:

AKC Bond-For-Care Article:

SB 152 full bill:

HB 135 full bill:

Maryland Department of Agriculture - Position on Pets

Number: MD [R] HB 1662 - Updated (Text 04/28/2018)
Title: Business Regulation - Retail Pet Stores
Sponsor: Del. Benjamin Kramer (DEM-MD)

Abstract: Prohibiting retail pet stores from offering for sale, transferring, or disposing of cats or dogs; repealing certain provisions of law that authorize the sale of certain cats and dogs and set forth the requirements for a retail pet store that offers to sell certain cats or dogs under certain circumstances; stating the intent of the General Assembly that animal welfare organizations initiate contact with retail pet stores to facilitate the showcasing of dogs and cats for adoption or for purchase from local breeders; etc.
Status: Approved by the Governor - Chapter 237 - 04/24/2018

Click here to read AKC's, March 26th, Legislative Alert on MD HB 1662