MHC Government Relations Committee Report

YOUR MARYLAND HORSE COUNCIL PUBLICATION by Kimberly K. Egan, MHC Government Relations Committee

T e 2021 session of the Mary- land General Assembly closed on April 12, and we are pleased to report that our Government Re- lations Committee scored several victories this year. As is so often the case, our vic-

tories came in the form of suc- cessful opposition to legislation that would have been contrary to the interests of horses and horse people.

Sunday Hunting Legislators fi led a plethora of

bills this session that would have

signifi cantly expanded Sunday hunting. T e bills covered seven counties: Calvert, Caroline, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, and Worcester. In all but Queen Anne’s and Caroline, the bills, as introduced, would have allowed Sunday hunting hunting on public in addition to private land. MHC supports the shared use of natural resources and as such, we

testifi ed in opposition to each of these Sunday hunting bills. We also encouraged residents in each county to oppose the bills as well. Our eff orts were successful. T e Worcester County bill was withdrawn by its sponsors, and each of the remaining bills died in Senate Committee. A summary of MHC’s position on Sunday Hunting appears on page 36 of this issue.

Cost of Care of Seized Horses (HB 1080/SB 760) A pair of bills this session would have required owners under investiga-

tion for animal cruelty to pay the costs of caring for the animal after the animal has been seized, or forfeit all rights to the animal. We opposed these bills because of due process concerns. We also opened discussions with sponsors and the committees in an

eff ort to persuade them to exempt livestock – including horses –from the bills. T e committees each told us that they would propose an amend- ment to that eff ect. In fact, the bills never progressed beyond the initial

hearing, and died in committee. Snare Traps (HB 579)

T is bill would have made it legal to use, sell, possess, or set a snare trap in Cecil County. MHC opposed the bill on the grounds that snares are indiscriminate and inhumane killers of animals large and small, and be- cause snares can cause serious injury and suff ering to horses and hounds. T e bill passed the House but died in Senate committee.

Therapy Horses (SB 284) T e General Assembly passed a bill to add “therapy horses” to the list of

service animals eligible for reimbursement by the State’s Veterans Service Animal Program. T e bill limits eligibility to facilities either certifi ed as Professional Association of T erapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) Premier Accredited Centers (PAC) or that have Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) certifi ed professionals on staff . We had opened discussions with the sponsor and with the therapy

horse community to try to expand the defi nition beyond PATH/PAC and EAGALA facilities. T e issue proved complex, however, and we did not arrive at an alternate defi nition that satisfi ed both the equine therapy community and the goals of the Maryland Veterans Administration in time for this session. We are not giving up, however. We will announce a new initiative aimed at therapy horses at the Quarterly Meeting on May 25 and we encourage everyone interested in therapy horse issues to attend.

MHC Quarterly Virtual Meeting Tuesday, May 25, 2021 • Open to All • Via Zoom

6 p.m. Sip & Share 7 p.m. Maryland Legislation: What You Need To Know Cost of Care - Protecting Owners’ Rights When Horses are Seized • Sunday

Hunting and Shared Use of Land • MHC’s proposed 2022 legislation to defi ne a “T erapy Horse”

plus: Proposed Increased Equine Medical Record-Keeping Requirements and invited guests T e Maryland Board of Veterinary Examiners

Regular Business Meeting to Follow | 800-244-9580 THE EQUIERY YOUR MARYLAND HORSE COUNCIL PUBLICATION | MAY 2021 | 37

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60