My second letter regarding the Maryland dog law
Well blog friends … it’s been a long time since we last caught up. To those of you that follow us on Facebook, you’ve been able to see that life with McMuffin and Reese is still awesome as ever, but sadly the blog has been left to be overtaken by weeds for the past few months.
I’ve thought about the blog often, yet never managed to settle in and jot down my thoughts. Well, that changed today. Some of you may remember a while back I drafted a sample letter to the General Assembly following the outrageous court ruling that labeled my beloved pets as “inherently dangerous”. Who could imagine that we would still be debating this issue after all this time? Unfortunately … this doesn’t come as much of a shock to those that follow local politics. Common sense is evidently not as common as we would all like to think … see exhibit A. For a little juicier side of the story … check out this one. DISCLAIMER: I personally cannot affirm or deny the opinions in this piece … I just find them intriguing and damning if true.
Ever the glutton for punishment, I decided to sit down and draft another letter to the General Assembly. If you are frustrated and wish to let someone know, please feel free to copy/paste, edit, chop, and/or add your thoughts and send it off. You can find a list of your specific representatives here. Feel free to send it to any/all of them. Of particular importance are the State Delegates and State Senators for your district. But really, even higher leadership holds some blame for this pathetic situation we have found ourselves in.
I am writing today to express my extreme disapproval, frustration, and disgust regarding the inability of the Maryland General Assembly to pass meaningful legislation.
I am specifically addressing the recent modification to the Common Law that adopts strict liability with respect to attacks on humans by pit bull dogs and cross-bred pit bull dogs set forth in the Court of Appeals of Maryland No. 53 filed on April 26, 2012. I will not focus on the negative impact of this discriminatory ruling because it is clear that both the House and Senate, and the residents of Maryland understand that the ruling is undeniably flawed. SB160 and HB 78 each independently addressed this issue. Unable to agree on the language of each bill, a conference committee was formed to find a common ground compromise, which was passed unanimously 47-0 in the Senate. What I find totally inexcusable is that this compromise was then left to die on the House floor, without even being put up for vote. Just so I am perfectly clear, I would like to emphasize that both the House and Senate acknowledged the negative impact of this Court ruling, yet were unable to come together to find a solution and thus, DECIDED TO DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
No matter where you personally stand on this particular bill, it is overwhelmingly troubling to witness the extreme lack of leadership in the Maryland Legislature that leads to inaction on an issue that nearly everyone agrees is flawed. The General Assembly had 11 months to debate and research this issue, yet rather than draft reasonable dog bite laws like so many other states have successfully enacted, your constituents have been forced to endure months of empty promises, inaction, bickering, and ineffectual leadership resulting in no action whatsoever.
This inaction has now left thousands of Maryland residents without the proper guidance to promote safe and responsible pet ownership in our communities. Thousands of families will be discriminated against based solely on the appearance of their family pets. Thousands of well-behaved family pets will be separated from their families and euthanized. Businesses and landlords will now be forced to assume liabilities with no clear law on how to properly assess their own risks. And on top of that, Maryland is now represented by a General Assembly that chooses to bicker over linguistic details of a bill and ignore the advice of professional organizations with research based on scientific and empirical evidence, rather than compromise on an issue that both the House and Senate agree is currently unsound.
Going forward, I hope that the General Assembly will eventually get this right, and I will be more careful to vote for representatives that display leadership and a strong desire to compromise for the greater good of Maryland residents. In the meantime, I will go back to working my full time job and spending my spare time volunteering with rescue groups and humane societies to help mitigate the impacts of this devastating lack of action.
I would be interested to hear what you are planning to do.