Credit: Photo via ASPCA blog

The Maryland Senate unanimously passed a bill Wednesday sponsored by Montgomery County Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-District 20) that will require animal abusers to pay for the cost of treating animals that come under government care.

The bill allows a court to order a person charged with animal cruelty to pay the costs of removing, housing, treating or euthanizing a confiscated animal at county shelters. A sister piece of legislation, sponsored by Montgomery County Del. Jeff Waldstreicher (D-District 18), is currently making its way through the House of Delegates and on Wednesday received a favorable report from the House Judiciary Committee.

The measure is being supported by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

“The high cost to medically treat and shelter animals lawfully seized in cruelty cases poses one of the greatest obstacles to enforcing Maryland’s animal cruelty laws,” said Chloe Waterman, senior manager of state legislative strategy for ASPCA, in a January statement in support of the legislation. “A strong ‘cost of animal care’ law will provide much-needed relief to local animal control agencies and taxpayers, and will save the lives of countless animals.”

If formally approved by the legislature and signed by Gov. Larry Hogan, the measure would go into effect Oct. 1.