H.B. 897/ S.B 353: Black Bear Damage Reimbursement Fund — pets
Sponsors: Republican Dels. Wendell Beitzel (Garrett and Allegany counties), Jason C. Buckel (Allegany County), Daniel Cox (Frederick and Carroll counties), Kevin Hornberger (Cecil County), and Susan Cecil (Harford County). Sen. George C. Edwards, a Republican representing Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties.
Synopsis: Adds pets to the list of items and life forms for which a person may be reimbursed from the Black Bear Damage Reimbursement fund.
Analysis: The Department of Natural Resources oversees the tiny black bear fund, which is used to reimburse farmers for damage to crops, beehives and livestock from the bear population. The fund has had an average of around $3,400 available in recent years, and has never met the agricultural damage claimed in any year, which has ranged from a low total of $4,604 in 2012 to a high of $50,523 in 2003. Given that the fund is already inadequate for the small business needs of farmers, we can’t in good conscience endorse adding potential recipients, no matter how sympathetic we may be to a pet’s injuries or loss.
Editorial board recommendation: Fail.
Howard counties); Joanne C. Benson (Prince George’s County); Guy Guzzone (Howard County); Antonio Hayes and Mary Washington (Baltimore City); Katherine Klausmeier (Baltimore County); and Ronald N. Young (Frederick County). Republican Sens. Chris West (Baltimore County) and Stephen S. Hershey Jr. (Kent, Queen Anne’s, Cecil and Caroline counties).
Synopsis: Changes the definition of a retail pet store to include internet animal stores for the purposes of prohibiting puppy-mill style breeding and sales.
Analysis: This year, a law took effect banning pet stores in the state from selling most commercially bred pets in an effort to shutter inhumane breeding mills. Adding internet establishments, where many are now conditioned to do most of their shopping, is a natural next step.
Editorial board recommendation: Pass.