Monday, January 26, 2015

New Session, New Administration .... Is change there for animals?

A lot of pixels and ink have been spent on rehashing the Hogan victory in Maryland, and what it means for various constituencies, issues, and geographies.  There is a somewhat clear (and also somewhat murky) budget on the table now.  Will any of this spell change as far as the welfare of animals goes?

It is probably too soon to tell.  Some appointments are in flux within the new Administration, and whether changes in personnel will reach down as far as programs involving nonprofit organizations, the veterinary profession, dogs, cats, or pet owners, who can say?

Last year, a new state grant fund was set up ostensibly to decrease the killing ("euthanasia" is the euphemism in this world view) in animal control programs.  No one bothered much to look closely though, at what species are most at risk, or what other qualities characterize the most-often-killed individuals.  Finally, after Department of Agriculture and local animal welfare activists worked hard to compile a portfolio of the best proposals, the Department of Natural Resources -- an agency with NO stake in the program or its outcome -- quashed funding for a few of the most-highly-rated proposals.  Well, there was way too much need and way too little money to go around, too.

Most of the money went to those with close ties to the folks who designed the grant program and deliberated over the proposals.  It's all in who you know, ho hum.

Will rescue organizations, which are small businesses, as nonprofit groups, see any increases in support from the larger business community as Governor Hogan makes Maryland a magnet for commercial investment?

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