Outraged by the state’s decision to enforce Breed Specific Legislation, Maryland State Delegate Michael D. Smigiel, Sr., Republican, District 36, is calling for animal advocates “who want this ‘inherently dangerous dog’ presumption overturned” to contact House Speaker Michael E. Busch and ask that the emergency bill that he has introduced jointly with Delegate Heather R. Mizeur, Democrat, District 20, be sent to committee for a public hearing and allowed to come to the floor for a vote during the Maryland General Assembly’s special session – which started today.
Delegate Smigiel says time is of the essence. “Waiting till August will be too late… thousands of dogs will be let loose or euthanized in the interim.”
The emergency bill directly addresses the recent Maryland Court of Appeals’ ruling in Tracey v Solesky which establishes a liability standard for people who own ‘pit bull-type dogs’ and labels the dogs “inherently dangerous.” If passed, the bill would guarantee that no dog could be presumed to be potentially or inherently dangerous based on its breed or heritage alone.
Shelters throughout the state are reporting increased pit bull intake rates: landlords concerned over liabilities implied the legislation are already forcing renters to choose between their homes and their dogs.
The far reaching implications of the dangerous dog ruling have dog groomers, shelters, trainers, day care and overnight boarding facilities, and other private businesses questioning their legal liabilities, and pit bull advocates say that if something isn’t done quickly, thousands, or even tens of thousands of dogs are likely to be put down by broken-hearted owners who have run out of options.
Delegate Herbert H. McMillan, Republican, District 30 is the proud owner of an American Staffordshire Terrier. He has joined fellow politicians in the fight for Maryland’s pit bull populations, and plans to introduce a “Dog Nondiscrimination Act” during the special session.
Animal advocates and dog lovers throughout the state plan to assemble in Annapolis on Tuesday from 2:30-4:30 pm to support these new initiatives with a peaceful protest rally. Attendance is expected to be substantial.
Delegate Smigiel offers instructions for advocates interested in joining the fight against Maryland’s BSL ruling below: included is his proposal in it’s entirety.
“Here is the draft of the Bill which has been introduced by Delegate Mizeur and myself. Now we need the help of all those who want this “inherently dangerous dog” presumption overturned to call the Speaker of the House at 410-841-3800 and ask that this bill be sent to committee for a public hearing and allowed to come to the floor for a vote. Waiting till August will be too late, thousands of dogs will be let loose or euthanized in the interim.”