For Immediate Release
March 22, 2016
Annapolis, MD – House Bill 494, the Animal Shelter Standards Act, passed by a vote of 132–5 in the Maryland House of Delegates on Wednesday, March 16. The bill, sponsored by Del. Christian Miele (R–Baltimore County), brings about significant improvements in animal welfare and veterinary care in taxpayer-funded shelters throughout the State of Maryland. Co-sponsored by 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats in the House, this bipartisan piece of legislation drew broad support from several leading animal welfare organizations, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the Professional Animal Shelter Workers Society of Maryland (PAWS), the Maryland Dog Federation, and advocates for the Companion Animal Protection Act (CAPA).
The bill requires publicly-funded animal shelters to establish a written veterinary care protocol for dogs and cats beginning in January 2017. The written plan must be consistent with the Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters with respect to basic care, sanitation, population management, behavioral health and mental well-being, and euthanasia. HB 494 would also require animal shelters to make their veterinary care protocol available to the public.
“I am extremely pleased that the Animal Shelter Standards Act, a bill I began working on almost immediately after being elected, passed overwhelmingly in the House,” said Delegate Miele. “This bipartisan effort will significantly improve – and some instances save – the lives of companion animals, and usher in greater transparency and accountability in taxpayer-funded shelters throughout the state. I look forward to a favorable vote in the Senate in the weeks ahead.”
Christian Miele represents Legislative District 8 in the Maryland House of Delegates. The Eighth District is home to the Carney, Fullerton, Loch Raven, Nottingham, Overlea, Parkville, Perry Hall, Rosedale, and White Marsh communities in northeastern Baltimore County. Christian was first elected in 2014 and sits on the House Health and Government Operations Committee.