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This Week’s Creature Feature

Maryland’s Most Humane Lawmakers

Maryland lawmakers' votes gave us new laws to protect diamondback terrapins, to toughen penalties against animal fights, to help shelters and to allow pet trusts.

The Maryland General Assembly is a pretty animal-friendly place, according to the Maryland Humane Scorecard released this month.

Across both houses, 117 of 188 members scored 75 percent or higher; only 12 legislators scored less than 50 percent.

Forty lawmakers — six senators and 34 delegates — scored 100 percent. Representing Anne Arundel and Calvert, House Speaker Michael Busch (District 30) and Del. James Proctor ((District 27A) are 100-percenters.

Eight lawmakers scored even higher, 100-plus percent, reflecting their support for all bills scored, as well as extra credit for their leadership on at least one of the scored bills. Anne Arundel County’s Virginia Clagett (District 30) is one of the 100-plusers.

Lawmakers were rated by the Humane Society Legislative Fund and Maryland Votes for Animals over four sessions on their support for seven bills, in committee and on full votes.

Their votes gave us new laws to protect diamondback terrapins; to strengthen penalties for attending animal fights; to ensure shelters have the drugs needed to euthanize animals humanely; and to allow for the creation of pet trusts.

In addition to these new laws, Maryland lawmakers were scored for their actions on a wide range of legislation, including bills to prevent the continuous chaining of dogs, to require labeling of garments containing animal fur and to stop the use of cruel and inhumane traps to kill wildlife.

All of Anne Arundel and Calvert’s other lawmakers scored from 89 to 50 percent.

Del. Mary Ann Love (District 32): 89 percent
Del. Ted Sophocleus, (District 32): 86 percent
Sen. Mike Miller (District 27): 82 percent

Del. Pam Beidle (District 32): 75 percent
Del. James King (District 33A): 75 percent
Sen. John Astle (District 30): 73 percent
Sen. Bryan Simonaire (District 31): 73 percent
Del. Nick Kipke (District 31): 71 percent
Del. Steve Schuh (District 31): 71 percent
Del. Sue Kullen (District 27B) 71: percent
Del. Joseph Vallario ((District 27A): 70 percent

Sen. Roy Dyson (District 29): 67 percent
Del. Tony McConkey (District 33A): 67 percent
Del. Tony O’Donnell (District 29C) 63 percent

Del. Bob Costa (District 33B): 57 percent
Del. Ron George (District 30): 57 percent
Del. Don Dwyer (District 31): 50 percent

Sen. Ed Reilly (District 33): appointed in 2009; too few votes cast to be representative.