SILVER SPRING, Md.– There is still hope for dogs and cats in Maryland, and the “Beagle Bill” might be their savior.
The “Beagle Bill”, officially known as the Humane Adoption of Companion Animals in Research Act, passed unanimously in both sessions of the Maryland General Assembly.
According to a fact sheet from the Maryland-based coalition of animal advocates, Research 2 Rescue, “research dogs and cats are often euthanized at the end of the testing even if they are healthy.”
The “Beagle Bill” bill gives Maryland residents the opportunity to adopt animals once they are no longer needed for medical research. It facilitates relationships between laboratories and non-profit animal rescue organizations.
However, according to its sponsor Del. Ben Kramer, “the amendments completely neutered the bill.”
The bill now only requires certain research facilities using dogs or cats for scientific research purposes to take small steps to provide for the adoption of a certain dog or cat that is no longer needed for research purposes.
“The Humane Society of the United States applauds the Maryland General Assembly and Governor Hogan for taking action to ensure that dogs and cats no longer used in research have the chance to live in a loving home, an opportunity ever dog and cat deserves,” said Emily Hovermale, an expert from the Humane Society of the United States.
After the amendments were added to the bill in a Maryland Senate committee, it is no longer required for research facilities to report how many animals were used in research each year and how many were put up for adoption.
Even though several amendments were added that took away from the bills original intent, advocates say it’s a good first step towards protecting research animals in Maryland.