Eastern Shore Senator Pushing for Stiffer Animal Cruelty Penalti - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Eastern Shore Senator Pushing for Stiffer Animal Cruelty Penalties

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Dog Rescued in Wicomico County. (Photo: WBOC) Dog Rescued in Wicomico County. (Photo: WBOC)

WICOMICO COUNTY, Md. - Maryland Sen. Jim Mathias said he is looking to increase the penalties in severe animal cruelty cases like the one recently uncovered in Wicomico County.

On April 6, 310 dogs were rescued from a home on Cooper Road in Eden.  The dogs were living in "unsatisfactory" conditions, according to Wicomico County Animal Control.  Many of the dogs WBOC was able to film had severely matted fur that needed to be completely shaved off.  The dogs will also need plenty of extra care and attention from adopting families because many of them have yet to be socialized.

The sight of these dogs was tough to see for many animal lovers, including Mathias.

"I was sickened by it," Mathias told WBOC on Tuesday.  "Our dogs are our family.  They're an extension of our family and they're our loved ones.  As they say, unconditional love.  And to see those dogs kept and maintained is just absolutely criminal."

There have been no arrests and no charges filed yet in this Wicomico County case.  The owners of the Eden property are Robert and Susan Murphy.  In 2009, the Murphy's were charged, and acquitted, of animal cruelty charges in Dorchester County.  According to court documents, 15 dogs and three cats were removed from their Cambridge home because of their living conditions.

The Wicomico County State's Attorney said charges could be filed within the next six weeks.  In the meantime, Mathias told WBOC crimes like this one must be met with stiffer penalties.

"This is a very aggravated case.  And each one of the dogs can carry multiple charges.  Not just one charge, but an array of charges.  And when looking at something this heinous, the aggravated, this extreme, it really does call for a felony," Mathias said.

Mathias said he will introduce the bill at the 2017 legislative session in Annapolis.  The Eastern Shore Lawmaker also added that he is confident the bill will be met with plenty of support in the state capitol.  

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