According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) more than 60% of Americans have a pet and more than 35% of pet owners consider their pet to be a member of their family. Despite these statistics, Maryland has done little to enact and enforce laws designed to protect pets.
As in other states, it is a crime in Maryland to abuse or neglect an animal. Maryland is lenient on animal abusers though, with a maximum sentence for animal neglect or animal cruelty of 90-days versus six months to one year in many other states.
This year, the Maryland Legislature is considering several laws aimed at protecting animals, including:
- A law that would require veterinarians to report suspected cases of animal cruelty;
- A law that would require licensing of commercial breeders;
- A law that would require animals no longer needed for research purposes to be made available for adoption; and
- A law that would give judges the ability to order defendants in animal abuse cases to pay for the cost animal shelters incur caring for animals seized.
Additionally, if a pet is injured in Maryland as a result of someone else’s negligence, § 11-110 of the Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article caps the recovery at $7,500. This means that if you successfully sue the person who hurt your pet you cannot get more than $7500, regardless of the severity of the injury or the amount of your vet bills or other expenses. The cap on damages for cases involving injured pets fails to recognize that many pet owners consider their pet to be a part of their family.
Deterrence is one of the goals of both the criminal and civil justice systems. Maryland’s leniency towards people who hurt animals fails to properly deter people from abusing or neglecting animals and must be rectified.
If you or a loved one of any species is seriously injured and it was not your fault, call The Yost Legal Group at 1-800-YOST-LAW (967-8529). When you call, you will speak with an experienced, compassionate Maryland lawyer absolutely FREE.
We will investigate every detail of your case and fight hard to ensure that your rights are protected. At The Yost Legal Group, you will never pay an attorney’s free up front and we don’t get paid until you do.
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