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Man-bites-dog bill hard for lawmakers to swallow

March 27, 1998

Man-bites-dog bill hard for lawmakers to swallow

ANNAPOLIS - The man-bites-dog bill has bitten the dust.

Legislation in the Maryland General Assembly that would have imposed civil penalties on people who harm police dogs during the commission of a crime was killed by the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill, sponsored by Del. D. Bruce Poole, D-Washington, drew support from local police during a hearing earlier this week. A Frederick County Sheriff's Office corporal told of an incident last week in which a bite was taken out of his dog's ear while the animal was trying to subdue a suspect.

"I think to disobey the dog is to disobey the police, and that's just wrong," Poole said.

Police officials said the cost to purchase and train a new police dog is $15,000 to $20,000. The legislation would have allowed police agencies to recoup that cost.

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The Judiciary Committee killed the same bill last year. Poole said he did know what the committee's reasoning was for defeating the legislation this time.

"They just killed it. That's all I know," he said.

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