Exercising your dog may soon be illegal in Baltimore.

Does your dog use a backpack to burn extra energy on a walk? How about use a treadmill or weight pull equipment for sport or conditioning? These items may soon make you a target in Baltimore. Not only that, but with new laws already in place that have recently removed judicial review from animal matter hearings, if you’re targeted, there’s very little you can to about it, too. (Read more about that, here.)

According to CBS Baltimore, City Council is trying to make these items, and others, such as break sticks- commonly used to break up dog fights, considered “dog fighting paraphernalia,” and posession of them a crime, punishable by $1,000, and up to 90 days in prison. (For the record, some of our local shelters use break sticks to safely break up dog fights as needed, without injury.)

Why is this a problem? As someone that addresses 100% behavior modification training these days, adequate exercise is often a challenge for owners of working breeds, terriers, and others. I recommend dog treadmills, and weight pull training and equipment to clients on a weekly basis, or more often! Read “Weight Pull Saved my Dog-Life” by Kristina Vakharia, a friend, client, and city resident, to learn the benefits of such training. Additionally, there are legitimate competitive sports that utilize this equipment, such as APA weight pull, among others, which have competitions locally.

As with many other things, making these things illegal for outlaws (who, by definition, aren’t going to care about the laws, anyway) really only effects the responsible owners out there. For those of us who choose to have high maintenance dogs, maintaining their needs may get that much harder! Start writing City Council now. Be sure they’re aware that this equipment is NOT just for dog fighting, and that you’re not interested in seeing this law come into effect.

Office of the City Council President, 100 N. Holliday Street, Suite 400, Baltimore, MD 21202

Coucil President: Bernard Young, CouncilPresident@baltimorecity.gov

District 1: James Kraft, James.Kraft@baltimorecity.gov

District 2: Brandon Scott, Brandon.Scott@baltimorecity.gov

District 3: Robert Curran, Robert.Curran@baltimorecity.gov

District 4: Bill Henry, Bill.Henry@baltimorecity.gov

District 5: Rochelle Spector, Rochelle.Spector@baltimorecity.gov

District 6: Sharon Middleton, Sharon.Middleton@baltimorecity.gov

District 7: Nick Mosby, Nick.Mosby@baltimorecity.gov

District 8: Helen Holton, Helen.Holton@baltimorecity.gov

District 9: William Welch, William.Welch@baltimorecity.gov

District 10: Edward Reisinger, Edward.Reisinger@baltimorecity.gov

District 11: Eric Costello, Eric.Costello@baltimorecity.gov

District 12: Carl Stokes, Carl.Stokes@baltimorecity.gov

District 13: Warren Branch, Warren.Branch@baltimorecity.gov

District 14: Mary Pat Clarke, MaryPat.Clarke@baltimorecity.gov

8 thoughts on “Exercising your dog may soon be illegal in Baltimore.

  1. Teresa

    This is ridicules! I had a French Mastiff that would love when I put his backpack on, it gave him a job, he was so happy whenever I needed a drink and he would promptly stand so still so that I could retrieve a bottle of water from his backpack. I can’t explain it but the look he gave me and the way he responded whenever I put it on him was priceless. He loved his walks and his job of keeping me hydrated – even though I didn’t need it. He is gone now but that backpack was important to him, it made his walk more than just a walk, making it illegal is ridicules, the bad guys are going to find a way to be bad no matter what you do or what law you come up with. I now have little pups that don’t need a backpack but was glad I could use it when I needed it for my Mastiff. Don’t pass a dumb law because you don’t know what else to do and the public is pressuring you to do something…..go after the bad guys some other way, do some research, talk to rescues, shelters, people involved, get their opinions before you go pass something so ridicules .

  2. donte

    i own a parting stick(correct name) but ppl say breaking stick but i have mine due to when im walkin my dog and if another dog gets loose or gets out of there yard and attack my dog i can get them apart, i own a apbt and a shiz tzu and i dont think its fair to ban items that r not use for dog fighting as many ppl think

  3. Lisa Mawson

    I am also a trainer and behaviorist who regularly recommends weightpulling to my clients to assist with modifying quite a variety of behavioral issues. Please feel free to use the testimonials from my clients on my website http://www.canineculturecny.com, or any of the behavioral or physical rehabilitation educational information on the website of http://www.APDASports.com to assist anyone’s fight of these laws. And contact me if necessary.

  4. ajasage Post author

    The Mayor’s office has passed bills inhibiting dog owner rights recently. So, that this comes from the Mayor’s office isn’t worth much. My question to this would be, though- “Who determines intent?” Surely, it’s not the person in question. A neighbor scared of the dogs next door, perhaps?

  5. ajasage Post author

    The Mayor’s office also says this: “A person accused under the law would have the opportunity to present evidence that the paraphernalia is possessed for a legitimate purpose. The ultimate judgment will be based on a totality of the circumstances present at a particular scene.”

    No! That’s not how this country works! Nobody has to prove their innocence here. It’s up to the accuser to prove guilt.

  6. Adrianne

    There is absolutely no comfort in the Mayor’s statement. The law makes otherwise benign items defacto evidence that you are a dogfighter. That’s ridiculous. I’m sure, in the hands of COMPETENT prosecutors, these items can be offered to paint a picture of dog fighting without the proposed law.

    It would be foolhardy indeed for us to allow this law to pass.

    The most painful example of a law that ties otherwise benign things to lawlessness is the PG breed ban. Since the government believed only criminals and dogfighters owned “pit bulls”, they banned them as if they were paraphenalia. It’s no wonder that we must be ever watchful with any laws like these….

  7. Lisa

    Not all people that own these tools are fighting apbt’s. I was a resident of md most of my life . I own a treadmill an run the adba tristate treadmill race. I do condition an show my dogs to support our beloved breed in a positive light. The apbt breed is a high energy breed that need to be exercised. Do to my health a treadmill is a great tool for me to condition/exercise my dogs.

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