Where those $1,000 fines came from
While they may seem to dog owners to have come out of nowhere, the changes in the city’s animal control law that led to $1,000 fines for off-leash dogs and unscooped poop have a history.
And here it is:
Feb. 25, 2008: The revised law was introduced to the city council, with the following sponsors listed: James B. Kraft, Bill Henry, William H. Cole, IV, Robert W. Curran, Sharon Green Middleton, Edward L. Reisinger, Warren Branch.
It was then sent for review to the following committees and offices:
- The Public Safety and Health Committee, which completed its review ten months later, gave it a thumbs up.
- The City Solicitor’s office deemed it legal, which also took ten months.
- The Health Department, meanwhile, okayed it in three days. Also signing off on it were the city’s Office of Animal Control, Department of Finance and Environmental Control Board.
Dec. 2, 2008: The Public Safety and Health Committee held a public hearing on it.
Dec. 4, 2008: The revised law had its second reading before the city council and was approved.
Jan. 14, 2009: Signed by Mayor Sheila Dixon.
Feb 14, 2009 — Law went into effect.
What little official information can be found about the new law — though it’s not a shining example of clarity — can be found here.
Under the new law, the penalty for letting your dog off his leash, or not picking up dog waste is the same as the penalty for dogfighting. In fact, penalties for more serious offenses were increased far less severely than run of the mill offenses.
For instance, these penalties all went up tenfold: Not having a rabies vaccination (from $50 to $500), not having a license (from $25 to $250), animal disturbing the peace, failure to pick up dog waste, and unleashed dogs (from $100 to $1,000).
Meanwhile, the penalties for dogfighting only doubled ($500 to $1,000), the penalty for abusing an animal went from $200 to $500, and the penalty for operating an unlicensed dog facility only went up from $100 to $250.
So today in Baltimore, thanks to the city council, abusing a dog is a less serious offense — fine-wise, at least — than letting one off his leash, or not picking up his poop.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 14th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, amended, animal control, baltimore, citations, city, city council, dog, dogfighting, dogs, feces, fines, health department, history, law, leash law, licenses, mayor, off-leash, one thousand dollars, penalties, poop, public safety, rabies, revisions, sheila dixon, sponsors, violations, waste