FONDA – The Montgomery County
Legislature on Tuesday delayed a proposed law to improve animal-cruelty prevention in the county.
The proposed law, which the county has been reviewing for more than a year, was tabled to a future time after legislators raised questions about enforcement and cost of the legislation.
The measure calls for enforcement by the County Consumer Protection Bureau, which does not currently exist.
The “Statement of Legislative and Financial Impact” that accompanied the bill stated there would be no effect financially associated with the passage of the measure.
District 7 Legislator Barbara Wheeler said she is in favor of the intent of the bill, but that it is essentially a rehash of the state Agriculture and Markets legislation for prevention of cruelty to animals already on the books.
She also objected to humane societies and animal protection societies being exempt from the law’s provisions.
She said she felt “you should make everyone equal because they’re the ones that do go out of their way and set the example.”
The bill’s primary sponsor, District 3 Legislator Roy Dimond, said the bill would strengthen the current Agriculture and Markets law. He said he was working with County Executive Matt Ossenfort to ensure there would be an enforcement process without further expense to the county.
District 2 Legislator Martin Kelly, who has worked with Dimond on the law, said the enforcement would rest with the county Department of Weights and Measures.
Kelly also asked the county attorney, Meghan Manion, if creation of a new department would be the responsibility of the Legislature.
She replied there is a process, but she did not have a “yes or no” answer.
District 8 Legislator Joe Isabel stated he wants to see more money go to the groups that help protect the animals rather than to a new bureaucracy.
District 9 Legislator Robert Purtell moved to table the measure, and the motion was seconded by Isabel and passed.
Bill Clizbe can be reached at [email protected].