Caught in a crossfire between a couple who have adopted a dog and the state’s new law banning animal crosses, a couple in their early 20s were taken into custody Sunday for their apparent failure to report the dog’s injuries to authorities.
The pair, whose names have not been released, have been charged with violating the state animal cruelty law, said spokeswoman Laura Stenhouse.
They were arraigned Monday at the Prince George’s County Courthouse.
The case comes after Gov.
Larry Hogan signed a law Friday allowing people to cross state lines to get around state laws prohibiting cross-breeding dogs.
A dog that had been euthanized was adopted by a woman in the couple’s home state of Washington, but was found in a Washington park last month with its head stuck in a tree, officials said.
The dog was a 10-year-old cross between a Belgian Malinois and a Belgian shepherd, Stenhall said.
The woman told investigators she had purchased the cross from a breeder in Florida and had been trying to get her dog to live with her but couldn’t get it to go for a walk, she said.
State lawmakers passed the new law after a dog bite case in which a man was charged with manslaughter and was convicted.
The law was signed by Hogan Friday.
The two women were charged with second-degree animal cruelty and were ordered held on $100,000 cash bail each.
The state has also charged two men with second degree animal cruelty.
“We have a situation in Washington where a woman is taking her dog across state lines and she’s going to a brester in Florida to find a suitable home for her dog, and she has a dog that’s been euthased, and the woman is going to get a new dog that she’s not even using,” said state Sen. David L. Price, a Democrat from the Baltimore suburbs.
“If we are going to make it illegal for someone to adopt a dog from a place where they know that they’ve been mistreated, we need to have a clear rule that says we’re not going to allow it.”
The dog’s owners say they have no plans to get rid of it.
“I think the best way to protect dogs is to protect the dog,” said her owner, who asked not to be identified.
“And it was in my hands, and I was very conscious of not hurting it.
And if she does go to the brester, I can take it, but I don’t want to hurt it.”
State Sen. Jill Zemsky, a member of the state Senate and one of the bill’s sponsors, said the law does not prevent a person from bringing their own dog into the state to get it spayed, neutered or microchipped, but it does prohibit cross-bred dogs from being used in animal control operations.
She said she has heard from people who have tried to get their dogs into her office for adoptions, and that if they can’t get their dog into a brethel, they should consider getting a dog for free or using a shelter.
“But if you can’t do that, there’s nothing to be done,” she said, adding that the law would make it much harder to get an animal back.
The owner of the dog, who has been identified as John Doe, said he plans to go to jail if he is convicted of the charges.
He said he has not been contacted by the couple about their dogs.
“This is just another example of how the law is being abused by people who want to destroy animals and use them as a scapegoat,” he said.
“They’re not interested in having a good relationship with their animals, and they want to tear them down.”
The Maryland SPCA and other animal shelters in the state say they do not have a problem with crossbreeding dogs, but that it is illegal in Maryland for people to buy a dog, let one out and then have it adopted.
A spokesman for the SPCAA said in a statement that the agency does not enforce laws prohibiting breeders from having dogs and that its officers have the authority to seize any dog that crosses the state line.
The animal shelter in Prince George is now holding a private adoption for a dog who was euthanised by the agency.
The animal shelter said in its statement that it was “pleased” to be able to help the woman adopt the dog.
The Maryland Humane Society said in an email that it does not believe the woman was attempting to get away with something, but rather was simply trying to make a new home for the dog and was not in violation of any law.