Maryland legislators have amended spay-neuter companion bills to add more members to a proposed spay-neuter task force. A public hearing on one of the measures is set for Friday, April 8, 2011.
As introduced, Senate Bill 639 and House Bill 339 called for a task force “on the establishment of a statewide spay/neuter fund.” The purpose of this body would be to:
• Collect and review data on the number of spay/neuter services performed each year in the State and the unmet need for the services;
• Review ongoing successful local spay/neuter programs in the State;
• Review spay/neuter programs in other states and identify best practices;
• Review and make recommendations regarding the most appropriate funding mechanism for a spay/neuter fund; and
• Make recommendations regarding the establishment of a spay/neuter fund that best meets the needs of the State.
The task force was to include appointees by the senate president, speaker of the house and a designee of the secretary of agriculture, as well as one representative each from the Maryland Association of Counties; Humane Society of the United States; Maryland Veterinary Medical Association; Maryland Votes for Animals; Howard County Animal Advocates; Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter; Professional Animal Workers of Maryland Inc.; Maryland SPCA; and two representatives from other private or public organizations with experience and interest in spay/neuter programs.
Both the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council and Pet Food Institute testified for expansion of the task force so as to better represent the knowledge base and interests of the pet industry.
As amended, SB 639 and HB 339 would add a representative of the Pet Food Institute and a representative of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council to the task force. SB 639 would also add a representative of the Maryland Dog Federation and a representative of the Friends of Prince George’s County Animals.
Findings and recommendations are to be reported by the task force no later than Jan. 1, 2012.
The House Environmental Matters Committee is scheduled to hear SB 639 on April 8, 1 p.m., in the state Capitol. HB 339 remains in the Senate Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee where it awaits further action.