Tomorrow, March 4th, the Maryland House of Delegates will hear a bill (H.B. 265) that would increase the maximum prison sentence for misdemeanor animal cruelty crimes to one year. This bill would also allow judges to prohibit offenders from ever owning an animal again.
Currently, the maximum penalty for starving an animal or harming one unnecessarily is only 90 days in jail—a slap on the wrist compared to the seriousness of many animal cruelty crimes. Among our neighboring states of Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Delaware, Maryland has the shortest prison sentence for misdemeanor violations.
Increasing penalties and allowing prosecutors to punish these crimes appropriately will protect more animals from suffering in the future—and they may not be the only ones. Research has shown that people who are violent toward animals are more likely to be violent toward people.
Please tell Maryland legislators that you want stronger punishment for those who harm animals.
Pamela Beidle (D-MD 32nd) email@example.com
Mary Ann Love (D-MD 32nd) firstname.lastname@example.org
Theodore Sophocleus (D-MD 32nd) email@example.com