Two Anne Arundel County lawmakers are trying to toughen the state’s dog-baiting laws after a series of “horrific” attacks on the animals.
A bill introduced last week will extend the penalty for dogfighting — up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 — to the practice of dog-baiting, in which one animal is used as bait so a fighting dog can train or be tested.
“It is extremely heartbreaking to see any animal used in such a horrific way merely for what animal abusers call a ‘sport,’” said Sen. Bryan W. Simonaire (R-Dist. 31) of Pasadena in a statement. “We urgently need this legislation in Maryland to protect these helpless animals from the hands of cruel and inhumane people.”
Simonaire is sponsoring the bill, along with Del. Tony McConkey (R-Dist. 33A) of Severna Park. The Senate bill is co-sponsored by six members of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, which will consider the measure.
If passed, the bill will make it a felony to use or allow a dog to be used for baiting, or allow premises under one’s control to be used for baiting.
Simonaire and McConkey initially proposed the measure late in last year’s regular session after two dog-baiting incidents were reported in Anne Arundel.
Those incidents involved two pit bulls that were found with serious injuries that would likely have been fatal if untreated, said Katie Boring, business manager at Waugh Chapel Animal Hospital in Gambrills, where the dogs were treated in early 2012.
One of the dogs had a wound on its leg, where it was believed it was tied down while a fighting dog attacked him, Boring said. Both dogs have recovered and were adopted into loving homes, she said.
Another recent incident involved a 9-month-old puppy that was found in an abandoned building with severe bites and excessive scarring; that dog is now recovering but lost an eye, according to Simonaire.