Annapolis MD: The State of Maryland has declared bankruptcy because its entire 2012 budget of $34 billion is needed to satisfy the outcome of lawsuits being brought against the governor, the legislature and state agencies over dogs.
The Maryland Legislature passed a bill to allow restaurant patrons to bring their dogs to any participating eating establishment having outside tables, in order to increase business. State health agencies voiced no objections. The assumption was that well behaved dogs would not act up.
Maryland restaurants could choose to voluntarily opt in. About 10% did and then either closed or found their business decreased by 10%. When customers saw dining dogs sitting outside their favorite restaurant, they went somewhere else to eat. Maryland's restaurant associations are suing the state for loss of business revenue.
Various trial lawyers have been engaged by restaurant patrons, claiming that their rights may have been violated by being excluded from eating at their favorite Maryland restaurants as they do not wish to dine with dogs. Sitting elbow to elbow with dogs barking, begging, putting paws up on their table, licking plates and possibly attacking other diners trying to eat dinner is not a relaxing experience.
Wait staff and culinary unions have concerns that a dog at an adjoining diner's table may decide to do his business! Who will clean the mess up, the dog owner or the wait staff and how much will the tip to the wait staff be for such service? Will dog hair on the dinner plates ruin the ambiance of Maryland crab cakes! A strike or lawsuit is contemplated.
The ACLU and ASPCA have brought a discrimination lawsuit that claims the rights of cat lovers have been violated by excluding their pets from Maryland's restaurants. Damages are being sought for excessive pain and suffering.
Environmentalists in conjunction with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has cited violations of the Clean Air Act because of emitted odors caused by toxic substance residue deposited on the floor. An injunction has been filed to block the new Maryland law.
US Health and Human Services (HHS) has cited the Americans with Disabilities Act, as related to other collocated diners being allergic to dog hair. Additionally, small children crawling on the floor will be subject to toxic substance residue deposited on the floor and dogs licking dinner plates creates unsanitary conditions. An injunction has been filed to block the new Maryland law.
PETA, other animal rights groups and dog psychiatrists have joined forces to sue Maryland on behalf of dogs who do not want to eat with people watching them, citing psychological cruelty to animals.
Vegans and the food police are upset over the fact that dogs are red meat eaters and are suing to get the participating restaurants to only serve tofu dog biscuits in packages having the fat and calorie content on the label.
Maryland's governor has asked the State of West Virginia to purchase the bordering western counties of Maryland (rich in coal and natural gas) for $34 billion to off-set the court judgments associated with the various lawsuits. The State of Pennsylvania has asked for a competitive bidding process.
The US Attorney General has filed an injunction against Maryland prohibiting the selling of state territory to another state, as being unconstitutional. Maryland's Attorney General has filed a motion to lift the injunction. Ultimately, the Supreme Court will have to decide the issue.