Send Letters to All Maryland Senators
February 13, 2014
We have action steps for you! The most important is to write to all senators.
1.) What happened during the senate hearing?
2.) Listen to several key audio clips
3.) DogsBite.org submitted written testimony
4.) Write to Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee (email list included)
5.) Write to all senators (email list included)
What happened during the senate hearing?
The February 6 senate hearing regarding SB 247 -- this year's version of the dismal "rebuttable presumption" bill -- ended up being a thunderstorm headed by Sen. Bobby Zirkin, who also presented his own bill at the hearing, a strict liability bill. The best recap of the senate hearing can be read here, at My Eastern Shore:
In a manner that resembled a prosecutor making opening remarks, state Sen. Robert A. Zirkin, D-11-Baltimore County, appealed to the emotions of committee members, arguing that a bill supported by the majority of the committee would not adequately protect victims of dog bites.
Zirkin said it is important to pass the right bill so dog-bite victims are not responsible for paying for damages that are no fault of their own.
“We make this thing understandable so that a blameless victim gets compensated. So that Nationwide and State Farm and all the [insurance companies] don’t get to walk away from their responsibilities by saying ‘it never happened before,’” Zirkin said...
Zirkin said he does not believe his bill is a flawless measure, but said he will not endorse a bill that does not protect "blameless victims" – dog-bite victims who were not trespassing or provoking a dog... | Read article in full
Listen to several key audio clips from the hearing
- The testimony of Tony Solesky, attorney Kevin Dunne and Andrea Mason, mother of Scotty Mason, the "first bite" in Tracey v. Solesky.
- Sen. Zirkin grills HSUS representative. How does the HSUS handle the "blameless victim?
ZIRKIN - "I'm trying to wrap my hands around how the Humane Society (HSUS) is ratifying or is asking us to ratify the One Bite rule" … "We are here to make one final decision in this bill and the question is: What is the relevance to you, as the Humane Society (HSUS), of the history of the dog when you are talking about the compensation for a blameless victim?"
Read DogsBite.org submitted written testimony
Written testimony by DogsBite.org
In light of the many arguments that will be repeated in this year’s testimony about how and why to “undo” the Solesky decision, DogsBite.org chose a path of historical reflection first begun by the Court in its opening paragraph by citing a 1916 Baltimore pit bull mauling. From 1844 to 1922, we reviewed articles published by Baltimore newspapers concerning fatalities, maulings and civil lawsuits involving pit bulls.
In November of 1844, the first known recorded pit bull fatality in America occurred in the City of Baltimore. John A. Dubernard, a respected aging adult citizen, was so badly injured by a resident’s pit bull (“bull terrier”) that he died several days later. The 1844 article illustrates how Baltimore society felt about this dog breed at that time. The article is simply titled, “Dead" ... | Read in full
Write to senate Judicial Proceedings Committee
The "rebuttable presumption" bill introduced by chairman Sen. Frosh, has 8 sponsors. It is foreseeable that it will be voted out of committee. The point of writing to the Judicial Proceedings Committee is to support Sen. Zirkin's strict liability bill, SB 286. You also might write a nice thank you note to Zirkin (firstname.lastname@example.org) for taking such a bold stance and not allowing anyone to forget about the "blameless victim." Judicial Proceedings Committee: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Copy the above block(s) of email addresses as is, commas included, and paste into the To: area of your email.
Write to all senators
The reason why we ask you to write to all senators is because the battle this year will be on the senate floor attempting to stop SB 247 ("rebuttable presumption" bill). Using themes and even quotes from the newspaper article in this email, is a good way to get started, for instance: "Blameless victims" must be protected and only a strict liability bill can do this" or, "The total abrogation of Solesky can only accurrately be called a "compromise" bill if blameless victims are protected." As attorney Kevin Dunne stated during the hearing, Sen. Frosh's bill is "not a compromise. It is a surrender."
ZIRKIN - Zirkin said he does not believe his bill is a flawless measure, but said he will not endorse a bill that does not protect "blameless victims" – dog-bite victims who were not trespassing or provoking a dog. The clause that protects the dog owners by allowing no liability for the so-called "first bite," is unsettling for Zirkin and some other witnesses. At several points throughout the hearing, Zirkin expressed his concerns about the blameless victim going uncompensated based on a case in which the dog had no prior history of aggression. Despite the fact that it has been two years and legislators are under pressure to pass a bill, Zirkin said he will not give in to a bill that he feels is “borderline immoral.”
Due to "email gateways" and spam rules, it is recommended that you break the full senate email list into two parts. We have provided this for you below: Part One - All Senators firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Part Two - All Senators firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Copy the above block(s) of email addresses as is, commas included, and paste into the To: area of your email.