New MD law requires animal abusers to pay for treatment and care

MARYLAND – On Tuesday, several new laws took effect in Maryland. One of those laws holds pet owners accused of animal cruelty more financially accountable for their actions.

HB 135 requires defendants in animal cruelty cases to pay for the treatment and care of displaced animals until the court case has been heard and custody has been decided.

In the past, animal shelters would have to shoulder the costs of care and treatment for the animal, and they couldn’t adopt the animal out until the case and custody were decided. Paying for the most basic treatment for these animals could quickly get expensive for shelters.

Jessica Summers with the Worcester County Humane Society said, “Usually we don’t have a lot of information on the dog… whether they’ve been vaccinated, if they have any parasite… so we generally go through that process and all those things add up and cost money.”

The Worcester County Humane Society says this bill is a win for them and will allow them to care for more animals in need down the line.

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