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ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The owners of dogs deemed dangerous by local authorities would be required to spay or neuter their animals within 30 days of receiving notice of the canine’s designation, under a bill proposed by a Maryland lawmaker.
Del. Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, R-Talbot County, told members of the House Judiciary Committee Thursday that her proposal would reduce the number of dogs in shelters and alleviate the aggressiveness of the dog in question.
Local jurisdictions deem a dog dangerous when it has killed or inflicted severe injury on a person without provocation.
Dogs that repeatedly bite people, attack without provocation or kill or severely injure a domestic animal when not on their owner’s property can also be designated “dangerous.”
The bill has the support of the U.S. Humane Society.
“Over 70 percent of dogs involved in biting incidents are male dogs who have not been neutered. Looking back at fatal dog attacks on the whole, about 93 percent come from dogs who have not been sterilized. Within the state of Maryland, every single dog attack since 1965 has involved dogs who are not sterilized,” said Adam Goldfarb, director of the Pets At Risk Humane Society.
Members of the House Judiciary Committee asked for clarification regarding sterilization and were told the animals would be spayed or neutered. Another member wanted to know if there was an exemption for show dogs, but that person was told no — that a dangerous dog is a dangerous dog.
Committee members also learned that this type of regulation is usually handled by a local ordinance rather than a state statute.
“This is very costly to local jurisdictions that have to worry about sheltering or in some cases euthanizing these animals, so it would save local jurisdictions money, as well,” Haddaway-Riccio said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children ages 5 to 9 have the highest rate of dog bite injuries.