There’s a bill filed in Maryland, Senate Bill 203, that would make convicted animal abusers pay for the care; housing, food, medical bills, rehab, etc., of the animals they abuse.  These costs can easily run into the thousands and more for shelters, rescues, rehab facilities and owners, especially with the time between the incident and when the actual court case takes place.

To me, this is just common sense.  If someone commits a crime that causes injury, whether personal or property, they should be responsible for any and all costs involved.

Judges often have this option at their disposal but I know that it’s not always part of the sentence.  Not only in MD but in every state, this should be letter of law.

Budgets are being cut everywhere and government run shelters, already on a shoestring budget most of the time, too often see  the first round of cuts.  The thousands that are spent to care for abused animals being held is seldom recouped and that money could be going to save the lives of so many other shelter animals in need.

“We’ve had an animal here since December and the court case is not scheduled until May, so we have to provide daily care for that animal, medical expenses and food,” said David Fitzgerald, executive director of the Wicomico County Humane Society, which has a contract with the county to act as animal control. “At times we encounter and accrue large fees from vets or animal hospitals … we are just trying to give the judges some directions to get reimbursed.”

While he isn’t sure how many times a year animals have to be removed in Wicomico County or how much money the county can incur in removing and taking care of those animals, Fitzgerald said, the law could help ease the amount of tax-payer money being used to rehabilitate abused or neglected animals.

“We just don’t think it’s fair that the taxpayers are absorbing those costs nor do we think it’s fair to ask for donations from the public that go to the criminal side, the animal control division,” said Fitzgerald. (Delmarvanow)

This is yet another law that is overdue.  Animal abuse should be a felony in every state and we’re almost there… almost.  Abusers should have to answer for their crimes, both with time and financial penalties.  Taxpayers should not have to foot the bill any more than they already do for criminals.  We already house and care for them in many cases, shouldn’t they at least be forced to bear the burden of actually paying for their crimes?!

Too often I see cases where people are forced to relinquish their beloved pets because they cannot afford the case after some cretin has brutalized them.  Of course this is only going to help after the fact, after conviction, and by then it is often too late and the pet is gone from the owner.  The victims are victimized over and over again.

But as I often say, it’s a step in the right direction.  Pretty damn tired of all these baby steps to be honest but sometimes you have to take what you can get and be happy for it and keep on fighting to get more, especially with the animals, they have no voice, we are all they have!

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