Oh Maryland

It’s a sad day for dog owners here in Maryland, particularly for those with pit bull or pit bull type dogs. This morning I’ve read numerous articles and Facebook posts about the situation, the following from Animal Farm Foundation sums it up best:

The Maryland State Legislature has failed dog owners, property owners, landlords, and business owners. Both the Senate and the House UNANIMOUSLY agreed that “pit bull” dogs should not be discriminated against, but the two branches of government could not agree with each other on how to stop the tragic fallout from the 2012 MD Court of Appeals decision that endorses wholesale discrimination. THIS IS NOT A FAILURE OF FACTS. The legislators received and accepted the inarguable facts that neutralize any attempted justification for breed specific legislation. THIS IS NOT A FAILURE OF ADVOCATES. The advocates were organized, professional, consistent and well-educated. THIS IS NOT A FAILURE TO ORGANIZE AND COOPERATE. In an unprecedented showing of unity, all the stakeholders in the community worked together. Dog owners, concerned citizens, property management groups, independent landlords, business owners, news media and local and national humane organizations organized and mobilized to deliver consistent, accurate information to legislators. THE LEGISLATURE FAILED. The Senate and House failed to work together to find a solution they all agreed needed to be found. THE INSURANCE LOBBY FAILED THEIR CUSTOMERS. With only hours left in the session, insurance lobbyists set out to kill the proposed solution. And the legislators allowed the interests of the insurance lobby to become more important than the needs of their constituents. In the final hour, House representatives mocked the thousands of Maryland residents desperate for a resolution by playing “Who Let the Dogs Out”. They played a game of Marco Polo. A delegate made the sound of a bomb whistling and crashing. 

The whistling and crashing sound seemed to represent the failings of breed specific legislation. But it’s important to note that across the country more communities are repealing or outright rejecting BSL than ever before. Breed Specific Legislation is declining

What we know for sure is that the people of Maryland stood side-by-side and fought the Court of Appeals ruling so effectively that the Court of Appeals amended their ruling, the Governor was persuaded to allow the topic to be heard during a special session, and the people created unanimous consensus among legislators that dogs should not be discriminated against simply because of their physical appearance! The failure of the legislature was NOT caused by the dogs. The failure was the result of the legislature’s own dysfunction. 

More to come. In the meantime, be proud, be inspired and get mobilized!



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