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Animal supporters seek tougher cruelty penalties in Maryland

ANNAPOLIS — Animal rights supporters — including Anne Arundel County’s chief executive — want tougher penalties for people who shoot or burn animals in Maryland.

House lawmakers listened Thursday as supporters made their case for the bill which would up the penalties for animal cruelty from 90 days in jail to six months and increase the fine from $1,000 to $2,500. It would also add new penalties for anyone who uses a firearm or fire accelerant in the crime.

The bill was filed in response to three high-profile cruelty cases: the shooting death last year of a Siberian Husky named Bear-Bear in an Anne Arundel County dog park, the 2009 death of a Baltimore pit bull named Phoenix who was set on fire and the recent case of a cat named Mittens, who survived being doused with lighter fluid and set on fire in Baltimore.

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Read House Bill 294: http://mlis.state.md.us/2011rs/billfile/hb0294.htm