H.B. 897/ S.B 353: Black Bear Da­m­age Re­im­burse­ment Fund — pets

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD -

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.

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