Dodge a bullet or put off hard work for another day?

Recently, the Maryland Senate Judiciary Proceedings Committee entertained testimony on SB 152, designed ostensibly to address genuine concerns that Humane Societies and counties across Maryland have, stemming from what can be exorbitant costs of caring for animals seized pursuant to criminal investigations. The initial draft of SB 152 seemed to provide a solution to this problem, but the question is whether the solution was the right one, and whether the GA might want to reconsider any additions substantially changing the existing legislative scheme before addressing what look to be structural problems with how it is already being implemented. I was invited to provide brief oral testimony to the Committee, and supplemented it with later written comments, a link to which appears below. The end result appears to have been for the original SB 152 to be replaced by a far simpler measure, which essentially only codifies in the statutes the already-existing discretion trial judges have to order boarding costs as restitution. But, whether this leads to renewed interest to address other aspects of the existing scheme, or to find more creative ways to address HS’ funding shortfalls, remains to be seen.

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