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DEA To Issue Licenses To Resolve State Animal Shelter Drug And Safety Issue, Maryland, USA

October 09, 2017

The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) today announced that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has verbally notified the department that it is now issuing controlled substance permits to animal control facilities, effective Jan. 9.

"We are pleased that DEA is issuing these permits. This resolves a very difficult situation and authorizes animal shelters to administer controlled substances to sedate or euthanize animals in a safe and humane manner," said Agriculture Secretary Roger Richardson.

This action is the result of legislation signed into law following the 2008 General Assembly. HB1481 - sponsored by State Delegates Jon S. Cardin, Virginia P. Clagett and Pamela Beidle - made necessary changes in Maryland law to allow animal shelters access to the drugs they need to perform their jobs safely and humanely.

"The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and MDA worked collaboratively with the Maryland General Assembly to find a solution so that animal shelters can have access to the appropriate drugs," said DHMH Secretary John M. Colmers.

Under this legislation, after an animal control facility receives a license from the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, the DHMH Division of Drug Control has the authority to inspect the facility and issue a registration certificate for Schedule II-V controlled dangerous substances. After these steps have been taken, the DEA issues its permits.

Certain drugs became inadvertently inaccessible to animal shelters after a federal change in drug classifications affected state law that previously allowed them to obtain the drugs. Animal control officials expressed concern that they did not have the access they needed. Local animal control officials and the Maryland departments of Agriculture and Health and Mental Hygiene worked together to determine the best course of action to resolve the statutory conflicts.

"MDA and the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners completed all requirements of the new law - including obtaining approval of emergency regulations last year," said Dr. Chris Runde, chairman of the Maryland Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. "This is the final step necessary to provide animal control facilities with the tools they need to do their jobs safely and humanely."

The Maryland Department of Agriculture