Six anti-cruelty bills signed Into Maryland law

Six anti-cruelty bills signed Into Maryland law

Humane Society Legislative Fund rates legislative efforts advancing animal welfare

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (August 29, 2023)—Today, the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) released its 2023 Maryland Humane Scorecard, which grades legislative effort to promote animal protection during the 2023 session. Six humane efforts were signed into law, including bills mandating basic eviction protections for pets, funds for non-animal research methods, updates to the Black Bear Damage Restitution Fund, regulation of traps, reforms to Maryland’s Wildlife Advisory Commission, and expansion of access to veterinarians for shelters and rescues.

"Marylanders care about the positions their elected officials take on important issues like animal protection,” said Brad Pyle, political director of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “Voters should use the Humane Scorecard as a tool in evaluating candidates for office and holding lawmakers accountable.”

In the slew of pro-animal legislation, Maryland became the first state in the country to require animal testing labs to contribute money to non-animal testing research methods. The passage of SB560 and HB 626 – which Governor Wes Moore signed into law – now defines the frontier of animal testing regulation and will serve as an example to states mulling similar legislation.

The bills scored on the 2023 Maryland Humane Scorecard which passed the state legislature and were signed into law include:

  • Eviction Protections (SB 279/HB 102): A ✓ indicates a vote in favor of SB 279/HB 102, a bill establishing basic protections for people - and pets - facing eviction. Roughly 72% of renters have companion animals, and these Marylanders could be facing eviction in record numbers. This bill requires all individuals facing eviction to receive information on how to plan and care for their pets during the process and requires landlords to perform pet checks of all rental units after an eviction takes place. Among other reforms, landlords must also provide tenants with the contact information of a shelter that takes in any pets left behind. Sen. Jeff Waldstreicher (D) and Del. Dana Stein (D) sponsored the legislation.
  • Research Fund (SB 560/HB 626): A ✓ indicates a vote in favor of SB 560/HB 626 to provide grants to scientists in Maryland who are developing non-animal research methods. The first of its kind in the nation, the program is funded through a dedicated mandatory contribution paid annually by facilities in Maryland that are using certain animals in research. Moving away from antiquated animal experiments is better for both humans and animals, and the Human-Relevant Research Fund will accelerate the development of new, cutting-edge scientific discoveries, without animals suffering in the process. Sen. Guy Guzzone (D) and Del. Bonnie Cullison (D) sponsored the legislation.
  • Bears (SB 310/HB 378): A ✓ indicates a vote in favor of SB 310/HB 378, a bill updating the Black Bear Damage Restitution Fund to be a proactive tool to finance conflict avoidance between bears and humans. Similar programs are working in other states to reduce damage to human property and in turn reduce the demand to kill "nuisance" bears causing that damage. Life for bears grows harder every year. In order to coexist with them, we need to use innovation to prevent conflicts before they occur. Sen. Chris West (R) and Del. Sara Love (D) sponsored the legislation.
  • Trapping (SB 275/HB 406): A ✓ indicates a vote in favor of SB 275/HB 406, a bill requiring that all traps are tagged with the license number of the trapper who set it and ensuring that DNR is collecting reports for trapping incidents. Traps are inherently cruel, and because traps are indiscriminate, family pets as well as protected, threatened and endangered species, and other animals can be their unintended victims. Proper labeling of traps and prompt reporting of trapping-related incidents is a step in the right direction towards protecting Maryland’s animals from unnecessary suffering and death. Sen. Jack Bailey (R) and Del. Sara Love (D) sponsored the legislation.
  • Wildlife Advisory Commission (SB 320/HB 188): A ✓ indicates a vote in favor of SB 320/HB 188, a bill redefining the membership of Maryland’s Wildlife Advisory Commission to include biologists, conservationists, and recreational users, as well as hunters. Recent research found that more Marylanders believe that we should humanely coexist with wildlife than believe that wildlife should be used and managed for human benefit. Those perspectives will now have a voice when the Commission sets rules regarding hunting and trapping in the state. Sen. Benjamin Brooks (D) and Del. Julie Palakovich Carr (D) sponsored the legislation.
  • Vet Access (SB 390/HB 325): A ✓ indicates a vote in favor of SB 390/HB 325, a bill expanding veterinary access to shelters and rescues. The veterinary shortage is impacting pet owners everywhere, but nowhere is the need more critical than in shelters. The bill authorizes clinical staff to provide rabies vaccines to shelter animals and requires an expedited process for vets licensed in other states to become licensed to practice in Maryland. Sen. Karen Lewis Young (D) and Del. Jennifer Terrasa (D) sponsored the legislation.

One bill included on the scorecard regarding pet-friendly housing, SB 72/HB 1039 sponsored by Sen. Michael A. Jackson (D) and Del. Dana C. Jones (D), did not pass the state legislature. HSLF will continue to advocate for solutions to expand access to pet-friendly housing for renters.

As the nation’s leading political advocacy organization for animal protection, HSLF supports humane candidates for office and educates voters on animal welfare legislation. Since 2006, HSLF has published a Congressional Humane Scorecard to track the relevant votes, co-sponsorships, and other actions of federal lawmakers. This resource effectively records which members of Congress are animal champions and which need more political pressure to denounce cruelty. Now, the organization is increasing its release of more state-level scorecards to build on the progress made in animal protection at the federal level.

Access the full 2023 Maryland Humane Scorecard online at to see individual scores and read more about why electing humane lawmakers matters in our blog.

Media contact:; 202-836-1265



The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. Visit us on all our channels: on the web at, on our blog at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at