Caroline County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the County Commissioners of Caroline County 5-18-1999 by Bill No. 98-2. Said bill also provided for the repeal of former Ch. 78, Animal Control, adopted 4-15-1986 by Bill No. 86-1. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Foxes — See Ch. 111.

§ 78-1 Statement of purpose.

The purpose of this Act is to provide for the safety of the public, the humane care and treatment of animals, and to encourage responsible animal ownership.

§ 78-2 Authority to contract out enforcement.

The County Commissioners are authorized to enforce the Animal Welfare and Control law and standards or to contract in writing for its enforcement with a bona fide benevolent animal welfare or humane entity, such as the Caroline County Humane Society, Inc. The entity shall be a federally recognized not-for-profit organization, and shall meet other criteria as may be established by the County Commissioners. The term Animal Control in this Act means the County if no contract exists, or the contractual enforcement entity if the County has a contract for the enforcement of this Act.

§ 78-3 Act includes standards.

References to this Act also include the standards, fees, fines and schedules adopted by the County under the authority of this Act as they may be revised from time to time.

§ 78-4 Applicability.

A. 
This Act applies to the unincorporated areas of the county, and to any Caroline County incorporated municipalities that have enacted this law.
B. 
This Act is not intended to establish standards which conflict with Caroline County's Right to Farm Ordinance[1] and generally accepted agricultural practices; however, this shall in no way condone cruel or abusive practices. In the event of conflict, for those owners subject to the Right to Farm Ordinance, the Right to Farm Ordinance shall prevail.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 149, Right to Farm.
C. 
This Act is not intended to establish standards which are stricter than those practices generally accepted in the horse industry. In the event of conflict, for those owners who are part of the horse industry, including the owners of pleasure horses, the generally accepted practices shall prevail; however, the standard is that applied to the industry as a whole, not confined to any particular segment or breed of the industry. Also, this provision shall in no way condone cruel or abusive practices.

§ 78-5 Definitions.

In this Act, unless otherwise clearly indicated by the context, the following words and terms have the meanings indicated:
ANIMAL
Every non-human species, both domestic and wild, including but not limited to dogs, cats, horses, reptiles, birds, livestock and fowl. This definition specifically excludes insects and plants.
ANIMAL AT LARGE
Any animal off the premises of the owner and not under restraint as herein defined.
ANIMAL EXPOSED TO RABIES
Any animal which has been bitten by an animal which is infected with rabies, or any animal which has not been bitten but which has been in proximity to or in contact with or has otherwise been exposed for any period of time to an animal infected with rabies. The determination whether an animal is infected with rabies shall be made by the director of the Caroline County Health Department, division of Environmental Health, or the director's designee.
ANIMAL WELFARE AND CONTROL CENTER ("ANIMAL CONTROL")
Any facility or program operated by the County Commissioners of Caroline County or the contractual enforcement entity under the authority of state and local laws for care, confinement, redemption, adoption, or euthanasia of animals, or any employee of such program.
ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER
Any employee hired by the County Commissioners of Caroline County and/or the contractual enforcement entity to enforce state and local laws relating to animals.
ANIMAL EXHIBITION
Any spectacle, display, act, or event, other than circuses, in which working or performing animals are used, or where animals are displayed.
AUCTION
Any place or facility where animals are regularly bought, sold, or traded, except for those facilities otherwise defined in this Act.
CAGE
Any enclosure of limited space, enclosed on the top, bottom, and all sides in which animals are placed for any purpose, including confinement or display.
CAT
Any domesticated feline, excluding wild or exotic felines.
CIRCUS
A commercial variety show featuring or including animal acts for public entertainment or fund raising.
COMMERCIAL ANIMAL ESTABLISHMENT
Any person, partnership or corporation or other legal entity that has as its primary or secondary purpose the sale, transfer, display or conveyance of any animal/animal-services. The term shall include but not be limited to any pet shop, grooming shop, auction, zoological park, circus, animal exhibition, kennel/cattery, or any establishment for the purpose of training, leasing, or selling guard dogs. The term shall not include non-research animal hospitals, animal shelters or humane societies.
COMPLAINANT
Any person who makes a complaint in a legal or administrative action or proceeding under this Act.
COUNTY
County Commissioners of Caroline County, a body politic and corporate, and a political subdivision of the State of Maryland.
CRUELTY OR NEGLECT
Any act or omission which would constitute a violation of the sections of this Act pertaining to cruelty and/or neglect.
CUSTODIAN
Any person or entity that provides food and shelter for, and care and control of an animal in the absence of the owner.
DANGEROUS ANIMAL
Any animal posing a threat to health and safety as set forth in this Act.
DIRECTOR
The person appointed by the contractual enforcement entity to administer any and all laws and regulations pertaining to animal control in Caroline County. This person is also the chief animal control officer.
DOG
Any domesticated canine.
DOG FANCIER
Any person who owns or keeps within or adjoining a private residence, five or more dogs for the non-commercial purposes of hunting, practice tracking, exhibition in dog shows, field or obedience trials or other dog sports, or as companions.
DOMESTIC ANIMAL
An animal of a species that has been bred and raised to live in or about the habitation of humans and is dependent on humans for food and shelter, including but not limited to birds, cats, dogs, fish, hamsters, mice being kept as pets, reptiles and other animals associated with the human environment.
EUTHANIZE
To humanely kill an animal.
EXOTIC ANIMAL
Any animal of a species that is not indigenous to the state of Maryland or is not a domesticated animal, including any hybrid or crossbred animal which is part exotic animal.
FARM ANIMAL
Any animal kept or raised on a farm for use and profit, including livestock and fowl.
FOWL
Any and all birds, domesticated and wild, which are used for food.
GENERALLY ACCEPTED PRACTICE
A practice generally accepted in the agricultural community, horse industry, and sporting dog community, as applied to the community as a whole and not confined to any particular segment or breed of the industry or community.
GROOMING SHOP
A commercial establishment where animals are bathed, clipped, plucked, or otherwise groomed.
GUARD DOG
Any dog that is trained specifically and/or used to protect persons, property or a secured area.
HUMANE SOCIETY
A non-profit benevolent corporation dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and adoption of animals, and to the education of adults and children regarding humane treatment and responsible care of animals.
KENNEL/CATTERY
Any commercial establishment for breeding, boarding, grooming, sale or training of dogs and/or cats for which a fee is charged, excluding an animal hospital maintained by a licensed veterinarian.
MULTIPLE DOG LICENSE
A discount license that can be purchased by a Dog Fancier.
OWNER
Any person who has been given or who has deliberately acquired an animal, immediately upon acquisition of the animal or a person or entity feeding or sheltering one or more animals for 30 or more days.
PET SHOP
Any person or entity, whether operated separately or in connection with another business enterprise, that buys or collects any species of animal for resale as pets.
PETTING ZOO
Any activity or facility where a fee is charged whose purpose is to permit persons physical contact with animals maintained within or upon such an establishment, activity or facility.
POULTRY
Any domestic fowl.
PUBLIC NUISANCE
Any act which would constitute a violation of the sections of this Act pertaining to nuisances.
REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION
A presumption which may be rebutted by evidence. Otherwise called a "disputable" presumption. A species of legal presumption which holds good until disproved.
RESPONDENT
Any person or entity against whom any complaint is filed under this Act, including the owner of any animal that is the subject of a complaint.
RESTRAINT
Effective control of an animal by its owner or other responsible person by physical or other means; confinement within the property lines of the animal's owner or custodian's property. As it pertains to farm animals, restraint shall mean any fence or enclosure of suitable material and design capable of reliably holding the animal within its confines.
SANITARY
A condition of good order and cleanliness which minimizes the causation and transmission of sickness and disease, and fouling of the air to the extent that it is deemed offensive by a reasonable person. This term shall be defined as consistent with and subordinate to any existing right to farm legislation.
STATE CODE
Any and all laws and regulations pertaining to animal welfare and control in the Annotated Code of Maryland and the Code of Maryland Regulations.
STRAY
Any domesticated animal for which ownership has not been established.
VACCINATION
Administration of a mandatory anti-rabies vaccine approved by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene or the Maryland Public Health Veterinarian as required by law.
VETERINARY ANIMAL HOSPITAL
Any non-research establishment operated or maintained by a veterinarian licensed by the State of Maryland for the purpose of animal immunization and hospitalization, and the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of animal sickness, disease and injury.
WILD ANIMAL
Any animal which is not included in the definition of "Domestic Animal" or "Farm Animal," including any offspring of wild animals crossbred with domestic animals.
ZOOLOGICAL PARK
Any facility operated by a person or entity, other than a pet shop or kennel/cattery, displaying or exhibiting one or more species of animals.

§ 78-6 Duties of animal owners and custodians.

A. 
It shall be the duty of all owners and custodians of animals, to exercise reasonable care and to take all necessary steps and precautions to protect other people, property, and animals from injuries or damage which might result from their animal's behavior, regardless of the instinct or motivation for such behavior. This statement of duties of animal owners and custodians is not intended to establish an attractive nuisance doctrine for the County.
B. 
In the event that the owner or custodian of any animal is under 18 years of age, the parent or guardian of the owner or custodian shall be responsible to ensure compliance with all provisions of this Act and the state code.
C. 
No animal may be sold or given to person under the age of 18 without the written consent of that person's parent or guardian with the exception of inter- and intrafamily transfers.

§ 78-7 Cruelty.

A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person or entity to:
(1) 
Tease, torture, torment, deliberately incite, cruelly beat or kill, mutilate, run down with a vehicle intentionally, overwork, overload, or otherwise abuse any animal.
(2) 
Poison any animal or knowingly place or leave any poisonous or other harmful substance with the intent to injure or kill any animal other than rats and mice.
(3) 
Use or permit any animal to be used for the purpose of fighting or raised for the purpose of fighting; or organize or participate in any type of animal fighting, or attend an animal fighting event.
(4) 
Inflict unnecessary suffering or pain upon any animal.
(5) 
Fail to provide any animal for whom the person or entity has ownership or custodial responsibilities or who is harboring a stray with clean and nutritious food and water in sufficient quantity, necessary veterinary care, exercise, ventilation, space, and proper shelter and living quarters.
(6) 
Allow any animal to remain in a vehicle in a manner that endangers the health or safety of the animal. Under this section, an animal control officer or jurisdictional police officer may use reasonable force to remove the animal from the vehicle. Any such officer who uses force under this section shall not be held liable for any damages resulting from the use of that force. Animals may remain in horse trailers and sporting dog boxes in a manner which is generally accepted in the horse and sporting dog community.
(7) 
Abandon ownership or custodial responsibilities for a domestic animal by leaving or discarding it, including abandonment on roadsides, in trash containers, or in or on vacated or vacant premises or any other place.
(8) 
Shoot to kill or maim any animal, except as authorized under paragraph D of this section as it pertains to hunting, emergency euthanization by an owner or a law enforcement officer, and as otherwise permitted under state law. An owner has the burden of proof to show that a true emergency existed.
(9) 
It shall not be cruelty to defend one's person, property, or animal by means of pepper spray or other similar, nonlethal attack deterrent.
B. 
If an animal control officer determines that the health or safety of an animal is in immediate danger because of cruelty or neglect, an animal control officer may remove the animal from any place except the interior of a private residence and impound the animal. For the purposes of this section, an animal control officer may enter upon private property without the consent of the owner. Animal control officers may at all times be accompanied and assisted by jurisdictional police officers.
C. 
After impounding an animal whose health or safety is endangered because of cruelty or neglect, the animal control officer shall make a prompt and reasonable effort to notify the owner that the animal has been impounded, and the reason for impoundment, to be confirmed in writing. Written notice shall also be given to the owner indicating the conditions for the release of the animal, if any, and a schedule for implementation.
D. 
Generally accepted medical and scientific activities, generally accepted food processing activities, customary and generally accepted veterinary and agricultural husbandry practices, and lawful and permitted hunting activities shall not be construed as prohibited by any provision hereof.
E. 
Training of any animal for public safety work by state or local governments shall not be considered as teasing, tormenting or deliberately inciting an animal if generally accepted training practices are used.
F. 
Only owners, Animal Control, veterinarians, and police officers in performance of their duties may euthanize an animal due to extreme sickness or injury, and shall do so expeditiously and humanely when it becomes necessary to do so.
G. 
Animal control officers and veterinarians may euthanize animals for reasons other than those set forth above.

§ 78-8 Animal care; minimum standards for indoor and outdoor enclosures; adoption of standards.

A. 
No owner or custodian of an animal shall fail to provide the animal with sufficient, wholesome and nutritious food; sufficient clean, potable water; proper air, shelter, space, light and protection from weather; veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering; and humane care and treatment.
B. 
In the case of farm animals, nothing in this section may be construed as imposing standards more stringent than generally accepted practices.
C. 
The County is empowered to enact and amend, by resolution, standards, fees, fines and schedules pursuant to this section, which shall be available to the public.

§ 78-9 Animal at large.

A. 
The owner of any animal shall not allow or permit the animal to be at large. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the owner of any animal found at large has allowed and permitted such animal to be at large.
B. 
The owner or custodian of any animal may not permit the animal to be on school grounds on a day when school is in session without the permission of the proper authority. If in a public recreation area the animal must be controlled by a leash or other similar restraining device.
C. 
No animal accidentally at large with an owner or caretaker in immediate pursuit shall be deemed at large. It shall be a rebuttable presumption that the animal's being at large was not accidental. It is the burden of the owner or caretaker to prove that the pursuit was immediate.
D. 
Any person who finds and harbors a stray animal shall report the finding to Animal Control. Any person seeing a stray animal is encouraged to report the finding to Animal Control.
E. 
An animal control officer who observes an animal at large may pursue that animal on public or private property.
F. 
Any person who strikes a domestic animal with a motor vehicle shall promptly notify the state or local police.
G. 
This section shall not be construed to prevent supervised obedience training, foxchasing, or hunting activities as long as persons conducting or participating in these activities are authorized to do so by the owners of the property where the activities are taking place, and the animals are being supervised by a competent person.
H. 
Hunting dogs, regardless of county or state of origin, must wear current valid owner contact identification. Dogs originating in Caroline County must wear license tags.
I. 
Owners are responsible for the actions of hunting dogs and other animals at large, and for any damage done by them.

§ 78-10 Public nuisance animal.

A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to keep or maintain any animal in such manner as to cause or permit the animal to be a public nuisance, whether or not a complaint has been received by Animal Control. A public nuisance is defined as permitting an animal or animals:
(1) 
To repeatedly be at large;
(2) 
To molest or intimidate pedestrians or passersby on public rights of way, public property, roads, and sidewalks. Intimidation under this section is defined as what a reasonable, prudent person under same or similar circumstances would consider intimidation and whether that person would have felt intimidated by the actions of the animal in question;
(3) 
To chase, when not on the property of the owner or custodian, persons, vehicles, or bicycles, or domestic or farm animals;
(4) 
To bark or make other harsh or excessive noise so as to disturb the quiet, comfort, or repose of members of the community as reflected by reasonable persons with normal sensitivities to noise;
(5) 
To foul the air by odor and thereby create unreasonable annoyance or discomfort to neighbors or others in close proximity to the premises where the animal is kept;
(6) 
To defecate or urinate on private property without the consent of the owner of said property.
(7) 
In the case of dogs and cats, to be unconfined when in season. Every female dog or cat in season must be humanely confined in a building or secure enclosure in such a manner that the female dog or cat cannot come into contact with an unneutered male of the same species except for planned breeding arranged by the respective animal owners. This does not exclude normal waste elimination while under physical restraint and direct supervision and on the owner/custodian's property; or
(8) 
To do or perform any other acts which are determined by Animal Control, after a notice to the owner and a public hearing, to be a public nuisance affecting public health, welfare, or safety.
B. 
Nothing in this section shall be construed to mean that Animal Control has sole authority to enforce this section if a complainant wishes to seek recourse under this section in an appropriate court of law, or to prevent Animal Control from conducting its own investigation regarding possible violations of this section.

§ 78-11 Dangerous animals; definition.

A. 
Generally, a dangerous animal is any animal that poses a physical threat to persons or to domestic or farm animals by virtue of its health, specific training or demonstrated behavior. Physical threat means conduct that places a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent, serious physical harm and includes any attempt or actual infliction of physical harm. No animal belonging to a government agency shall be deemed a dangerous animal for conduct occurring while the animal performs its authorized duties.
B. 
The following animals may be deemed dangerous:
(1) 
Any animal previously declared to be dangerous by a government or governmentally authorized animal control entity.
(2) 
Any animal which has, other than inadvertently or in a reflexive action, inflicted injury on a human being without provocation. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the animal's action was neither inadvertent nor reflexive.
(3) 
Any animal which has, other than inadvertently, injured or killed a domestic animal without provocation.
(4) 
Any animal owned or harbored primarily or in part for the illegal purpose of animal fighting, or any animal illegally trained for animal fighting.
(5) 
Any animal not owned by a governmental or law enforcement agency, used primarily to guard public or private property.
C. 
No animal may be deemed dangerous if the threat, injury or damage was sustained:
(1) 
By a person who at the time was committing a willful trespass or other tort, or committing or attempting to commit a crime.
(2) 
By a person who was teasing, tormenting, abusing or assaulting the animal.
(3) 
By a person who has in the past been observed or reported to have teased, tormented, abused, or assaulted the animal.
(4) 
Because the animal was protecting or defending its young or other animals.
(5) 
Because the animal was responding to pain or injury.
(6) 
In the case of a horse or farm animal, if the animal was confined on the owner's property.

§ 78-12 Dangerous animal: determination; declaration; enforcement.

A. 
Upon receipt of a complaint, the Director of Animal Control is authorized to make a determination of whether an animal is dangerous. If the owner or custodian disputes such determination, such determination must be finalized or nullified by holding a public hearing as set forth in § 78-20 of this Act. Animal Control is not authorized to determine that an animal is dangerous for reasons other than rabies until it conducts a public hearing, establishes that the animal meets one or more of the definitions of a dangerous animal as set forth in this Act, and prepares a written report and declaration signed by the Director of Animal Control and other officials participating in hearing the case. Each case will be considered on an individual basis. The final report shall be a public record.
B. 
Animal Control may require any animal that exhibits dangerous behavior as defined in this Act to be fully restrained and prevented from contact with the public in any way pending review, or if considered by Animal Control to be a significant threat to the safety of people and animals, impounded by Animal Control, using whatever restraints and tranquilization is necessary, until a determination is reached.
C. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to refuse to immediately surrender any animal that exhibits dangerous behavior as defined in this Act to an animal control officer after receiving an impoundment order from Animal Control.
D. 
After review or hearing or both, Animal Control is authorized to establish any reasonable requirements, conditions or restrictions on release, rehabilitation, and control of the animal. If the owner or custodian presents proof that the animal will now be kept in compliance with this Act, an impounded animal may be released upon payment of any and all costs and fees, including, but not limited to, costs of boarding and court costs. However, if the owner or custodian of an animal determined by Animal Control to be dangerous fails to provide proof that the owner will comply with this Act and any requirements, conditions and restrictions established by Animal Control; or if the owner or custodian fails without good cause to attend the public hearing, or fails to reclaim a released animal within five days, the animal may be humanely euthanized by Animal Control.
E. 
If after a public hearing and careful consideration of the animal's threat to the safety of people and animals, regardless of the owner or custodian's willingness or ability to restrict the animal, if there has been a written determination that the animal is dangerous and that its threat level is unacceptable, Animal Control may proceed to euthanize the animal, or to order that the animal be euthanized.
F. 
If an animal is released following impoundment, or allowed to remain with the owner or custodian following review, Animal Control may impose reasonable requirements, conditions, and restrictions to safeguard people and other animals, including, but not limited to the following:
(1) 
Above-ground fencing and/or pens meeting Animal Control specifications, and confinement thereto except when being transported;
(2) 
Confinement in the home of the owner or custodian;
(3) 
Wearing of a secure collar, muzzle and/or halter as appropriate, and leash meeting animal control specifications when in a vehicle, on or off the property of the owner or custodian, or outside the animal's pen;
(4) 
A dangerous animal placard prominently displayed as specified by Animal Control on the premises occupied by the dangerous animal;
(5) 
Permanently marking the animal with an identification number issued by Animal Control, neutering, or health care at the expense of the owner or custodian; and
(6) 
Prohibiting change of ownership or custody of the animal without prior approval of Animal Control.
G. 
The owner or custodian of an animal determined to be dangerous shall immediately notify each of the following: the Caroline County Sheriff's Department, the appropriate town police department, and Animal Control if the animal becomes at large for any reason.
H. 
If the owner or custodian of an animal determined to be dangerous is in violation of any of the provisions of this section, an animal control officer may order the violation immediately corrected and cite the owner or custodian for the violation.
I. 
If the violation cannot be immediately corrected, the animal may be impounded, in which case the owner or custodian will be notified in writing to appear before Animal Control regarding the violation and the disposition of the animal.
J. 
Owners of dangerous animals repeatedly at large will be given an opportunity to fully explain to Animal Control why a violation has been repeated, which will be considered in determining an appropriate disposition of the animal. A second public hearing must be held by Animal Control with a reconsideration of the relevant facts and circumstances before Animal Control may decide to euthanize a repeat offender animal.

§ 78-13 Rabies prevention and enforcement.

A. 
Every full or part time resident of Caroline County owning a dog, cat or ferret four months old or older must have it vaccinated with an anti-rabies vaccine approved by the state, and have it regularly re-vaccinated thereafter so that the animal is always protected by a current vaccination. The vaccination shall be administered by a licensed veterinarian. The rabies certificate issued by the veterinarian shall be carefully preserved by the owner or custodian of the animal, and exhibited promptly upon request by an animal control officer, health officer, or any law enforcement officer, and shall also be exhibited to the Animal Control Center staff when redeeming an animal at the Center.
B. 
Any animal exposed to rabies shall be quarantined for 10 days following the exposure, or for longer periods if required by the Caroline County Health Department.
C. 
If an animal is not properly quarantined it shall be impounded by Animal Control, and a citation for failing to comply with this section may be issued by an animal control officer.
D. 
The County is empowered to enact and amend standards, fees, fines and schedules pursuant to this section, which shall be available to the public.

§ 78-14 Dog licensing.

A. 
It shall be unlawful for an owner to fail to obtain a Caroline County dog license within 30 days of assuming ownership of a dog or establishing residence in Caroline County, or within 30 days after the dog becomes four months old, or to allow the license to expire. The license shall expire annually on the last day of December. However, an owner of a dog that has received a rabies vaccination that is effective for three years may purchase a three-year license if available. License fees may be prorated by Animal Control to reflect the expired portion of a license period.
B. 
Any person or entity that owns, keeps or harbors five or more dogs over the age of four months shall maintain a valid Multiple Dog License.
C. 
Before any license shall be issued, the owner shall produce a valid rabies certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian proving that the dog for which a license is sought is currently vaccinated against rabies.
D. 
Exemptions.
(1) 
Owners of certified Seeing Eye Dogs, Hearing Dogs, governmental police dogs, or other certified dogs that are trained to assist the physically impaired and are actively engaged in doing so shall not be required to pay the annual fee but shall obtain and display on the dog a County dog license. Governmental police dogs shall be exempt from displaying the County dog license.
(2) 
Animal shelters operated by an incorporated not-for profit animal welfare or chartered humane society shall be exempt from licensing requirements.
(3) 
Licensed veterinary hospitals or clinics where dogs are hospitalized and licensed medical research facilities are exempt from dog licensing requirements under this section, but all such establishments must register their operation with Caroline County Animal Control.
E. 
The sale of licenses shall be through Caroline County Animal Control, the Caroline County Humane Society, Inc., the Caroline County Comptroller, any licensed veterinarian in Caroline County, and any other location designated by the chief animal control officer.
[Amended 5-8-2007 by Bill No. 2007-1; 10-9-2007 by Bill No. 2007-5]
F. 
The County is empowered to enact and amend, by resolution, standards, fees, fines and schedules pursuant to this section, which shall be available to the public.

§ 78-15 Commercial animal establishment licensing issuance and revocation; regulation.

A. 
No person or entity shall operate a commercial animal establishment without first obtaining a commercial animal establishment license. License applications must be in writing on an Animal Control form, and accompanied by payment of the license fee and written verification from the Caroline County Office of Planning and Codes Administration that the applicant complies with any and all applicable zoning and use regulations.
B. 
Every facility subject to this Act shall be considered a separate enterprise requiring an individual license.
C. 
The license period shall run for one year from the date of issuance. Renewal applications for licenses shall be made 30 days prior to expiration of said license.
D. 
A zoological park owned and operated by any government agency is not required to obtain a license.
E. 
Animal Control may, with full justification, and following inspection and written notification, suspend and terminate a commercial animal license for animal cruelty or neglect and may impound all animals. The owner or operator may appeal by request, in writing, for a public hearing.
F. 
All dogs and cats offered for resale must have a current Health Certificate issued by a Maryland licensed veterinarian dated within the last three months prior to resale. This section does not apply to any animal shelters operated by a humane society or Animal Control.
G. 
No wild animals shall be owned or kept in Caroline County unless an individual exemption is issued by the director of the environmental health division of the Caroline County Health Department and, if required, a permit from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources or other regulatory government agency. Any exempted and permitted wild animals must be registered with the Animal Control.
H. 
The County is empowered to enact and amend, by resolution, standards, particularly regarding inspection of commercial establishments and license suspension and revocation, fines, fees and schedules pursuant to this section, which shall be available to the public.

§ 78-16 Impoundment; redemption; adoption.

A. 
Any animal observed in violation of this Act or the state code may be impounded and housed at the Animal Control Center or its designated alternate facilities. In addition to, or in lieu of impounding an animal, an animal control officer may issue to the owner or custodian of the animal a citation for the violation.
B. 
Impounded domestic animals shall be kept for not less than three working days. If the animal is seriously and contagiously ill, or severely injured it may be humanely euthanized immediately.
C. 
An owner reclaiming an impounded animal shall pay fees as established by Animal Control, and any and all costs including any fees for the animals necessary health care and maintenance incurred by Animal Control. The animal shall not be released until the animal has a current dog license, if applicable, and the animal's owner has obtained any and all licenses required under this Act.
D. 
Except as otherwise provided in this Act, any animal impounded and not redeemed by its owner within three working days shall be deemed abandoned and become the property of Animal Control. Animal Control shall place the animal for adoption or humanely euthanize the animal in accordance with this Act.
E. 
Animal Control shall operate an animal adoption program, and may deny applications for adoption of animals. No unclaimed dog or cat shall be released for adoption without being reproductively neutered or without written contract with the adopter guaranteeing that the animal will be neutered within 30 days for adult animals or by a specified future date in the contract for puppies or kittens. Animal Control shall train employees to inform the public of local neutering and health care cost assistance programs available to qualifying persons. A deposit established by Animal Control shall be paid by the adopter at the time of adoption and refunded once proof of neutering is presented to Animal Control.
F. 
Any animal considered by Animal Control to be unhealthy, dangerous or otherwise unsafe may not be placed for adoption.
G. 
Animal Control shall endeavor to place wild animals with licensed or certified fully protected wild animal refuges or rehabilitation units, or working with state agencies, release healthy native wild animals back into a natural or protected environment. Wild animals may not be adopted by the general public.
H. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to fail to abide by the terms of any contract entered into with Animal Control under this section.
I. 
The County is empowered to enact and amend, by resolution, standards, fees, fines and schedules pursuant to this section, which shall be available to the public.

§ 78-17 Responsibilities of the enforcement entity.

A. 
The contractual enforcement entity shall designate a director of animal control to administer the animal welfare and control program and supervise day-to-day facility operations and maintenance. The director shall be the chief animal control officer and the head of the animal control center.
B. 
The director shall carry out the duties and responsibilities set forth in this Act, and is empowered to enforce the provisions of this Act, including but not limited to public safety, public nuisance, prevention of cruelty to animals, and requiring minimum standards for animal care.
C. 
The director shall implement a program of regular patrols and response to citizen complaints for the purpose of enforcing the state code and this Act, including the standards, fees, fines and schedules adopted under the authority of this Act.
D. 
The director shall implement a program of regular inspection of all animal establishments required to be licensed under this Act.
E. 
The director or the director's designee is responsible for maintaining accurate records of licenses, impoundments, disposal of animals, animal bites and all enforcement actions taken by Animal Control.
F. 
The director shall provide a 24-hour, seven-day a week animal emergency service to respond to complaints deemed to be an emergency by the director.
G. 
The director shall make available to the general public information concerning the enforcement of this Act, including but not limited to fees for adoption, redemption, care and treatment, and services provided by Animal Control.
H. 
The director shall conduct a public education program on responsible animal ownership, and shall develop educational partnerships with the public school system.
I. 
The director shall establish mandatory training requirements for all new employees and mandatory continuing education requirements for all existing employees.
J. 
The director shall have other animal welfare and control duties as assigned by the director's employer.

§ 78-18 Powers and duties of animal control officers.

A. 
The contractual enforcement entity shall hire animal control officers, who are authorized and empowered by this Act to exercise the authority necessary to enforce the provisions of this Act, its standards, fees, fines and schedules, and the state code and any regulations adopted pursuant thereto.
B. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to fail to comply with the lawful order of, or to interfere with, an animal control officer performing the duties as prescribed in this Act or state code. Interference includes using physical force, verbal misdirection, or failing to give appropriate information, with the result of hindering or preventing an animal control officer from carrying out official duties.
C. 
An animal control officer may enter upon property to check compliance with Animal Control orders or to investigate animal cruelty complaints. This access does not include homes, businesses, or commercial animal establishments, without a warrant. The animal control officer also has probable cause to initiate an investigation and enter upon property in response to anonymous complaints.
D. 
The County is empowered to enact and amend, by resolution, further powers and duties, fees, fines and schedules pursuant to this section. All proposed amendments and the schedule of fees and fines shall be available to the public.
E. 
In issuing a civil citation, the animal control officer may accept and rely upon a written affidavit of an individual with personal knowledge of an alleged violation. The officer need not be a witness. However, such affiants shall be subpoenaed to provide information to the hearing body in the event of a public hearing or to a court of law in the event of a court proceeding.
F. 
Complaints for damages shall be adjudicated in the court of appropriate jurisdiction, not decided by the animal control officer.

§ 78-19 Powers and duties of the animal control facility staff.

The County is empowered to enact and amend, by resolution, powers and duties of the animal control facility staff, which shall include receiving, maintaining, and disposing of animals, maintaining the facility, and providing public education. The resolution shall be available to the public.

§ 78-20 Complaints; hearings.

A. 
In addition to the public hearing required in order to determine an animal to be dangerous, and appeal from closure of commercial animal establishments, Animal Control may conduct public hearings upon receipt of a written complaint, or at the discretion of the Director of Animal Control, regarding alleged violations of this Act or noncompliance with Animal Control orders, except for questions of damages.
B. 
The public hearing body shall consist of no fewer than five persons, including the Director of Animal Control, a deputy from the Caroline County Sheriff's Department or a municipal police officer, the director of environmental health from the Caroline County Health Department, and two persons not affiliated with Animal Control.
C. 
Animal Control shall give written notice to the complaint respondent by either personal delivery or by certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested. Said notice shall be either mailed to the respondent at least 12 days prior to the public hearing regarding the alleged violation or delivered to the respondent at least 10 days prior to the public hearing regarding the alleged violation. The notice shall contain the nature of the complaint, time, date and place of the hearing.
D. 
Animal Control shall notify the complainant, by First Class Mail, of the time, date and place of the hearing.
E. 
After a public hearing but within three working days, if it is found that a violation of this Act has occurred, the hearing body may set conditions to correct the violation and order the violator to abide by those conditions within a prescribed time limit. The hearing body may provide for any disposition of any animal including euthanasia. Any and all costs incurred by the respondent to comply with the hearing body's rulings will be the sole responsibility of the respondent. If the hearing body finds that a violation did not occur, it shall promptly and in writing dismiss the complaint.
F. 
The hearing body may issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents at its public hearings.
G. 
All decisions of the hearing body shall be final and subject to review only by the Circuit Court for Caroline County upon a timely appeal filed pursuant to the Maryland Administrative Procedures Act by any person aggrieved by a decision within the time prescribed for appeals from administrative agencies by the Maryland Rules of Procedure.
H. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to fail to comply with a lawful order or direction of the hearing body or Animal Control.
I. 
The County is empowered to enact and amend, by resolution, additional procedures for the conduct of public hearings authorized under this section.

§ 78-21 Establishment and evaluation of fees and fines.

The County Commissioners, with the advice of Animal Control, shall, by resolution, promulgate and amend a schedule of fees and fines to be imposed under this Act, including fees pertaining to licensing, commercial kennels, redemption, adoption, board and other fees, which shall be available to the public. In addition, the Commission shall establish and adopt a schedule of fines which shall be imposed for violations of this Act.

§ 78-22 Civil infractions; penalties and penalty disposition.

A. 
Any person who violates any part of this Act shall be guilty of a civil infraction under the authority of Chapter 92, Civil Infractions, Code of Public Local Laws of Caroline County, Maryland, and subject to an original preset penalty as set forth in the fees and fines adopted by the Commission under § 78-21 hereof. The maximum civil penalty for each violation of this Act shall be $500. Each new day may constitute a separate violation. An occurrence may contain more than one offense. Each animal involved in an occurrence may constitute a separate offense.
B. 
All fines imposed under this Act shall be payable to the County.
C. 
All fines imposed as a result of a violation of this Act shall be paid within 30 days of such violation and failure to pay the monetary penalty within the prescribed time will result in a civil action pursuant to Chapter 92 of the Code of Public Local Laws of Caroline County.
D. 
Fines may be doubled for a subsequent violation of the same section in any 36 month period.

§ 78-23 Misdemeanors.

Any person who violates any provision of this Act may also be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be subject to a fine of not more than $1,000.

§ 78-24 Rules of construction.

Nothing contained in this Act is intended to conflict with state law; where this Act and state law differ, the more stringent provision shall apply.