Government

Quirk, Marks propose reforms to save the lives of pets

Baltimore CountyBaltimore County Council Members Tom Quirk and David Marks will introduce legislation on Monday to tighten the county’s animal welfare statute.

The reforms will spell out, in specific terms, the “adverse environmental conditions” that require animals to be brought inside or placed in a suitable shelter. Those “adverse environmental conditions” mean that the ambient temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below, or there are other cold weather circumstances; the temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or above, or there are other heat-related conditions; or the National Weather Services issues a severe weather alert. The legislation also defines what is meant by a suitable shelter.

A copy of the bill is embedded below.

“Baltimore County has made great progress over the past four years in addressing animal welfare issues,” said Councilman Quirk. “These include the new animal shelter and a more robust adoption program. Now, we need to strengthen the criteria for when pets must be brought inside or find suitable shelter.”

“Councilman Quirk and I worked with State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger to craft legislation that will work,” added Councilman Marks. “We also consulted with members of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission and leading animal welfare advocates.”

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Quirk and Marks noted that the administration has moved animal abuse investigations from the Health and Human Services Department to the Police Department, but will work to codify that transfer in the final legislation. “This move will emphasize the seriousness with which we want animal abuses investigated and eliminated,” Quirk added.​

Julianne Zimmer is the president and founder of ReLove Animals, Inc. “This legislation will end any ambiguity about when pets must be brought inside and sheltered from extreme conditions,” Zimmer concluded. “We thank Council Members Quirk and Marks for championing legislation that will save the lives of animals.”

Darla Feeheley, Joy Freedman, and Julianne Zimmer were centrally involved in discussions that led to this legislation.

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