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Senseless Wildlife-Killing Contests Are Now Prohibited in Maryland - National Humane Education Society

June 30, 2021

Paws Up!

To Governor Hogan for supporting efforts to stop the needless killing of wildlife through organized contests by signing House Bill 296.

Wildlife has a part to play in keeping nature’s ecosystem balanced. When that balance is disrupted by humans who encroach on undeveloped land for residential, commercial, or agricultural purposes and create habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict is inevitable. Sadly, the default solution used by many to prevent future conflicts is death. Some have even created detestable “killing contests” to remove animals seen as a nuisance. These organizers entice participants to kill defenseless creatures with the lure of prizes and cash. Thankfully, lawmakers throughout the U.S. are supporting efforts to stop this inhumane practice.

Take Action: Marylanders, if you believe that wildlife-killings contests are inhumane, please thank Governor Hogan for banning this cruel practice.

Recently, Maryland’s Governor Hogan signed House Bill 296 sponsored by Delegate Dana Stein (D-District 11) to prohibit anyone from “sponsoring, conducting, or participating in” this cruel practice. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2021. Anyone found guilty of violating the law will face a $50 fine for each raccoon, coyote, or fox killed. Individuals who kill an animal on their property will not face a penalty if it is not part of an organized contest. Approved dog training competitions are also exempt. The following states have also enacted restrictions or bans on wildlife-killing contests with varying degrees of penalties:

  • In Vermont (10 V.S.A. 4716), if anyone violates the law, they will face a fine of $400-$1,000 for the first offense and $2,000-$4,000 for any thereafter.
  • In New Mexico (NMSA § 30-18-16), individuals found guilty of organizing or participating in a coyote killing contest may face a misdemeanor charge.
  • In Arizona (A.R.S. 17-314), anyone found guilty of taking a fur-bearing animal, nongame animal, or predatory animal may face a fine up to $250.
  • In California (FGC § 2003), “it is unlawful to offer any prize or other inducement as a reward for the taking of furbearers in an individual contest, tournament, or derby.”
  • In Massachusetts (321 CMR 2.16), “It shall be unlawful for any person to organize, sponsor, promote, conduct or participate in a contest in which participants compete for prizes or other inducements that results in the capture, take or waste of those predatory or furbearing animals regulated by the Division pursuant to 321 CMR 3.02(3) or 3.02(5)(b)(2.) and (5.-11.).”

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