[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of County Commissioners of Allegany County 12-10-1997 by Bill No. 7-97 effective 1-24-1998 (Ch. 117 of the 1984 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This bill also repealed former Ch. 117, Dogs and Other Animals, adopted 9-21-1984 by Bill No. 3-84, as amended.
The following terms as used in this chapter shall have the meanings assigned to them in this section:
- ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER (ACO)
- That person designated as such by Allegany County to perform such duties described by this chapter and assigned by the Animal Shelter Manager.
- ANIMAL CONTROL PERSONNEL (ACP)
- Consists of Animal Shelter Manager (ASM) and Animal Control Officers (ACO).
- ANIMAL CONTROL SHELTER
- Any facility designated by the County Commissioners of Allegany County for the detention of animals.
- ANIMAL EXPOSED TO RABIES
- Any animal that has been bitten by or has associated with any animal determined by the County Health Officer, the State Public Health Veterinarian or the Director of the Division of Animal Industries, Maryland Department of Agriculture to be infected with rabies.
- ANIMAL SHELTER MANAGER (ASM)
- That person employed by Allegany County to perform all the duties set forth in this chapter. Said person shall have the supervisory responsibility over the animal shelter, the Animal Control Officers and animal shelter volunteers.
- Intended to mean both male and female of the Felidae family (Felis catus).
- Intended to mean both male and female of the dog family (Canis familiaris).
- DOG AT LARGE
- Dog not under restraint and off the premises of the owner.
- DOG UNDER RESTRAINT
- A dog secured by a leash or lead or confined within a vehicle or within the real property limits of its owner.
- HEALTH OFFICER
- The duly appointed Deputy State Health Officer for Allegany County or his/her authorized representative.
- HUMANE SOCIETY
- Any society or association incorporated for the prevention of cruelty to animals, duly incorporated under the laws of the State of Maryland.
- An establishment wherein any person, group of persons or corporation engages in the business of boarding, breeding, buying, grooming or selling dogs; or wherein at any one time there are kept or harbored five or more dogs over six months old for a business or commercial purpose; or at which more than one litter of puppies per year is offered for sale.
- LICENSED DOG
- A dog displaying a proper and current license issued in accordance with the chapter.
- Any person, firm, association or corporation owning, keeping, harboring or acting as custodian of a domesticated animal. Any animal owned by a minor shall be deemed and taken to be owned, for the purpose of this chapter, by the parents, guardian or adult with whom said minor resides.
- PET SHOP
- An establishment which offers to sell two or more species of live animals with the intent that they be kept as pets.
- PUBLIC NUISANCE DOG
- Any dog repeatedly found at large; or any dog which has damaged the property of anyone other than its owners; or any dog which has bitten two or more persons; or any dog disturbing the peace by excessive barking; or any dog which has been designated by the ASM, ACO or ACP to be a public nuisance dog by virtue of being a menace to the public health, welfare or safety.
- A doctor of veterinarian medicine licensed to practice by a state licensing board.
- VICIOUS ANIMAL
- Any animal that constitutes a physical threat to human beings, animals or livestock or any animal which, due to its disposition, has a propensity to cause injury or behaves in a manner which could reasonably cause injury to human beings, animals or livestock, regardless of whether or not such behavior is hostile, or any provocation, or any dog which has been designated and in writing by the ACP as being vicious.
The Animal Control Board shall serve in an advisory capacity to the Allegany County Commissioners in all matters pertaining to the welfare of domestic animals in Allegany County. The Animal Shelter Manager shall inform the Animal Control Board on a regular basis on all matters regarding the animal control program in Allegany County. In emergencies affecting the operation of the animal control program, the Shelter Manager shall consult the Chairman of the Animal Control Board.
Membership. The Board shall consist of seven members, of which five shall be appointed by the County Commissioners for terms of two years and two ex officio members. However, for the initial appointment, three members shall be appointed for terms of two years, and two members shall be appointed for periods of one year. Of the five members appointed, one shall be a local veterinarian and one shall be a representative of a local humane society. The County Commissioners shall initially designate one member as Chairman of the Board for a term of one year, and thereafter a succeeding Chairman shall be selected on an annual basis between the members thereof.
Ex officio members. The local Health Officer or his/her designee and the Sheriff of Allegany County or his designee shall serve as ex officio members.
Compensation and expenses of members. Members of the Commission shall not receive any compensation for their services but shall be paid their reasonably necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
Powers and duties. The Animal Control Board shall have the power to investigate, recommend treatment, care and regulation of all domestic pets; to report on a regular basis to the County Commissioners its recommendations, including, but not limited to:
The operation of animal control programs and shelters in Allegany County.
Standards for the collection, care, custody and disposal of animals at large and public nuisance animals.
Standards for the maintenance of holding facilities.
To make recommendations on the budget of the animal control program in accordance with the County budget procedures.
To monitor public complaints and suggestions concerning the animal control program.
Establish an educational program to promote animal welfare.
Establish a program of volunteers to assist in promoting the animal program.
Annual report. It shall be the duty of the Animal Control Board to report to the County Commissioners on an annual basis their findings on all of the aforegoing operations and recommend any changes or revisions needed to alleviate areas of existing deficiencies.
It shall be the duty of the Allegany County Health Department, the Sheriff of Allegany County, the County animal control personnel, the local veterinarians and all kennel and pet shop licensees to provide cooperation and assistance to the Allegany County Commissioners and the Animal Control Board for the purpose of promoting its statutory obligations.
[Amended 3-28-2013 by Bill No. 3-13, effective 5-12-2013]
Allegany County may employ an Animal Shelter Manager and such other Animal Control Officers and other employees as shall be necessary to carry out the responsibilities of this chapter. Allegany County may contract with an animal welfare organization operating in Allegany County to provide all or part of the responsibilities and duties of this chapter. Allegany County may assign to the direction and supervision of an animal welfare organization some or all County personnel who are employed to carry out the responsibilities of this chapter. Any such employees so assigned shall remain employees of Allegany County and subject to the rules and regulations pertaining to said employees.
The Animal Shelter Manager (ASM) and Animal Control Officers (ACO) shall have the powers and duties of a constable or peace officer and, without limitations, shall have the following powers and duties:
To request the issuance of a summons and to serve a summons.
To issue and serve a citation.
To declare by written notice that a dog or other animal is a public nuisance or a menace to the public health or safety.
To issue a written notice or citation for the recovery (replevin) of a dog.
To investigate and to charge in connection with unlawful acts or violations of any law, ordinance or regulation dealing with animals or animal control.
To diligently seek out, pursue and deliver to the County Animal Shelter all unlicensed dogs or other animals running at large, or off the premises of the property of the owner of the dog, or animal not under the control or supervision of the owner or responsible person found in any part of Allegany County.
To destroy mortally sick or injured animals found on public highways.
To enter upon any property where the ACP has probable cause to believe that it is necessary for the purpose of discharging the duties imposed by this chapter, including but not limited to impoundment; provided, however, that nothing in this section shall be construed as permitting the entry into a private building or other enclosure without due process of law.
To respond promptly to all requests directed to them by the Animal Control Board, the Allegany County Health Department, the Animal Welfare Society, Inc., the Mayor and City of Council of any incorporated town of Allegany County, or member of the general public relating to the proper enforcement of this chapter or any law, ordinance or regulation pertaining to animal control.
In order to control rabies, it shall be the duty of all persons who are bitten by a dog or other animal to report said bite to the Allegany County Health Department on the appropriate forms.
It shall be the duty of the ACP, upon learning of a dog or cat being suspected of rabies, immediately to investigate the case, confer with the owner, and if in the ACP's judgment or the judgment of any licensed veterinarian called in for consultation or representatives of the Allegany County Health Department there is reasonable grounds to believe the dog or cat may have rabies, he shall immediately impound the dog or cat at the owner's home, if satisfactory facilities are available, or at the animal shelter and keep it completely isolated from all persons and animals for a period of at least 10 days, and if at the end of the period of observation the dog or cat seems fully recovered of its malady or shows that it has no further symptoms of rabies, the ASM and ACO shall then release the dog or cat to its owner, who shall be liable for the board bill for said dog or cat to be paid in advance at the specified rate per day for the period of its detention at any public animal shelter. If, in the opinion of the ACP or the Health Department, the dog or cat should be sacrificed for rabies examination, the ASM or his designees should prepare specimens for shipment to the appropriate laboratory. The specified fee for this service shall be paid in advance by the animal owner.
All dogs in Allegany County must have and display a current license at all times, for it shall be unlawful for the owner of any dogs to allow said dogs to be at large in Allegany County, meaning to be off the premises or property of the owner, unless under restraint, except dogs accompanied by the owner or trainer and being used or trained for hunting or police purposes being followed by a person on foot, horseback or in vehicles. At special crowded events, the exceptions preceding may be temporarily rescinded by the ASM and the dog required to be on leash.
A dog found at large with or without a valid license tag shall, except as provided above, be impounded by the ACP and taken to the Allegany County Shelter and there confined in a humane manner for a period of not less than 96 hours, unless sooner claimed and redeemed by its owner. The ACP shall use whatever humane means necessary to catch the dog and are hereby relieved from any liability from harm or injury to the dog. The ACP shall make a reasonable effort to identify the animal's owner. At the end of 96 hours as indicated above, unclaimed animals shall be deemed abandoned and become the property of the Board of County Commissioners of Allegany County and shall be disposed of in the manner prescribed by the ASM and approved by the Board of County Commissioners of Allegany County.
Upon impounding an animal, the ACP shall cause a prompt and reasonable effort to be made to locate and notify the animal's owner.
Redemption fees as provided in this section shall be assessed for each calendar day or portion thereof during which the animal was boarded at the animal shelter.
When dogs are found running at large, and their ownership is known, such dogs, if they are legally licensed, need not be impounded by ACP, but may, at their discretion, notify the owner, who can reclaim the dog upon paying the redemption fee, without the impounding fee, if the redemption is made that same day.
The owner of any dog seized as above provided may redeem it from the ACP within 96 hours from the time of apprehension by presenting current license certificate and tag and paying a pickup charge and the board bill per day for the time the dog is held at a duly established public animal shelter.
Any animal not redeemed within the time stated may be placed for adoption by the ASM.
An unclaimed dog or cat may not be released for adoption by the ASM without being sterilized or without the adopter entering into a written agreement in accordance with § 225-11 of this chapter.
Any adopter must abide by the terms of any contract entered into with the ACM in accordance with this chapter or in accordance with any policy established by the Allegany County Animal Control Board.
An animal found by the ACM to be aggressive or dangerous may not be placed for adoption.
No wild animal shall be available for adoption.
Any unclaimed animal which is unredeemed or unadopted may be humanly euthanized or otherwise disposed of in accordance with this chapter and applicable state law.
Unless exempted by the ASM, no dog or cat shall be released for adoption from the animal shelter without being sterilized or without a written agreement from the adopter guaranteeing that such animal be sterilized.
Sterilization shall be required within 30 days of adoption or within 30 days of the animals six-month birthday. The ASM shall determine and establish sterilization fees. Said fee shall be collected at the time of adoption. The fee shall be paid by the ASM to a participating local veterinarian of the adopter's choice when the sterilization procedure has been completed. Any additional costs in excess of the collected fee owed to the veterinarian shall be the responsibility of the adopter. Any fees which are not redeemed shall become the property of Allegany County.
Failure to comply with the terms of the agreement guaranteeing the sterilization of the adopted animal shall constitute a violation of this chapter and shall constitute a civil infraction punishable as hereinafter set forth.
The owner of any dog which has died from disease or any other cause shall forthwith provide for the cremation or burial of the same. ACP may dispose of the carcass and a fee shall be charged for this service. If the owner of any dead dog is not known and after inquiry cannot be found, ACP shall dispose of said carcass by cremation, burial or other approved manner.
The ASM, at his discretion, may dispose of any live animals which may be delivered to him for the purpose of euthanizing. In said event, the owner of said animal shall pay the appropriate fee for this service.
Every fierce, dangerous or vicious dog, including a dog that has bitten a human, shall be confined by the owner within a building or secure enclosure, and such animal shall not be taken out of such building or secure enclosure unless securely muzzled and under restraint.
Every female dog, while in heat, shall be kept confined in a building or secure enclosure by the owner in such a manner that she will not be in contact, except for intentional breeding purposes, with another dog and not create a nuisance by attracting other dogs.
[Amended 2-22-2001 by Bill No. 03-00, effective 4-8-2001]
A cat or dog which disrupts the peace and quiet of an inhabited area by excessive noise, including, by way of example and not as a limitation, excessive barking, whining, howling or crying or molesting passersby, chasing vehicles, destroying property, attacking other domestic animals, or an unreasonable accumulation of excretory matter, or depositing excretory matter on property other than that of the owner, shall be deemed a disturbance of the peace. The barking of hunting dogs in pursuit of game shall not be considered a disturbance of the public peace for the purposes hereof.
Any violation of this chapter shall be enforced pursuant to § 225-21. For violations caused by unowned cats or dogs, the responsible individual(s) must be provided with a detailed written notice and warning, and afforded a fourteen-day period to abate the violation prior to the issuance of the first citation.
Any person may kill any dog which he sees in the act of pursuing, attacking, wounding or killing any human being, or any poultry or livestock, whether or not such dog bears the proper license tag required by this chapter. There shall be no liability upon such person or persons in damages or otherwise for such killing. All such cases shall be promptly reported to the ASP and be investigated by said ASP.
License required. Every person owning or harboring a dog within Allegany County shall apply to any person or establishment authorized to sell dog licenses for a license and tag for each dog owned or harbored by him, excepting dogs kept under a kennel license as provided for in this chapter.
Application. An application for a license shall state the name, sex, breed, age, color and markings of each such animal. Valid proof of current rabies immunization issued by the Allegany County Health Department or by a duly licensed veterinarian shall accompany the application. Application for a license for a spayed female shall include a certificate in writing signed by a duly licensed veterinarian describing the dog and stating that to his knowledge the dog has been spayed.
Exemptions from licensing.
Owners of dogs used as Seeing Eye dogs, hearing aid dogs or as government police dogs are exempt from the fee requirements imposed by this chapter. However, each dog shall have a current rabies vaccination and the owners must, upon request, provide proof that the dog falls within the exempted categories.
Any dog belonging to a nonresident of the County and kept within the boundaries of the County for no longer than 30 days, provided that said dog meets all other requirements of this chapter.
Dogs under six months of age.
Prior to May 1 of each year, the County shall be caused to be published the names and locations of all appointed dog license vendors.
On or before July 1, the owner or harborer of any dog subject to licensure shall pay the license fee.
If a dog shall become four months of age or an unlicensed dog of license age shall come into possession of any person after July 1 of any year, the full license tax for the current calendar year shall be paid forthwith by said owner.
Licenses as set forth in this section shall be due and payable on the first day of May, but not later than the first day of July in each year. Persons may purchase a dog license after May 1 for any year and said license shall be valid until July 1 of the following year.
The ASM shall prescribe and furnish annually to the County metal tags to be issued as herein provided. Such tags shall be of different shape and color from the preceding year and shall bear the name of the County, number of the corresponding certificate, the words "Dog License," and the year of issue underneath.
The County Commissioners, not later than May 1 of each year, shall furnish the license vendors with a supply of license certificates, together with the corresponding metal tags and dog census books in sufficient quantity to cover all requirements for the following year. Certificates shall be serially numbered in books of 100 each with triplicate stubs, all of which shall provide spaces in which shall be recorded the following data:
In case of loss of a license tag, the owner thereof may procure a duplicate license for use during the balance of the year by surrender of the old certificate and payment of the fee.
The Allegany County Commissioners shall annually review and establish appropriate fee schedules for the animal control program, including license fees. The Finance Department of the County shall keep receipts of dog license fees, penalties and fines, and expenditures incident to operation and enforcement of these rules and regulations under separate account, and all receipts shall be expended only for the proper operation and enforcement of the animal control program.
License required. Any person owning, operating or maintaining a dog kennel as defined herein shall possess a current and valid kennel license.
A kennel license is meant to cover one pack or collection of dogs kept on a single premises, however owned, whether maintained for breeding, treatment, boarding, sale, training, hunting or other purposes, and including pet shops where dogs and other animals are on sale, and the one tag securely fastened at a prominent place on the enclosure shall cover all dogs kept there within the limit of the license issued. Such license warrants, when under close supervision, hunting dogs or dogs for breeding purposes or sale to be taken from the kennel to the hunting field and hunted or taken for exercise or showing and returned to the kennel in similar manner, but does not warrant any dog kept at the kennel otherwise to leave its limits without an individual license and the wearing of an individual license tag.
For protection and identification of kennel dogs in transit between the kennel and the field as above provided, they must wear collars or harnesses with kennel identification marks by name or number attached thereto and furnished by the kennel, which may be removed only when under supervision in the exercise of hunting field. Kennel licenses are due and payable on or before July 1 or when beginning operations, and the names of all persons owning, operating or interested in the kennel at the time of the taking of the licenses shall be written on the back of the certificate and the stub; and the name and address of the owner of each dog kept in such kennel and record giving full data concerning sales or other disposition of dogs from such kennels shall be kept on file there at and available for inspection by the Officer.
A kennel shall not be operated in such a manner as not to defraud the County of the license fee applying to dogs which cannot legally be covered thereunder or in any manner to violate other provisions of the chapter, the primary purposes of a kennel license being to relieve the owners of dogs kept at a kennel and never being allowed to run at large from the necessity of taking out individual licenses for such dogs.
Licensing complaints. Any facility or clinic, etc., that houses animals of three days or more is subject to inspection under receipt of any complaint. The complaint will be forwarded to the Maryland Board of Veterinary Examiners.
Exemptions from kennel licensing provisions. Veterinary hospitals or clinics, research facilities where bona fide medical or related research (dental, veterinary, pharmaceutical or biological) is being conducted, humane shelters and other animal establishments operated by state or local governments or which are licensed by federal law are excluded from the kennel licensing requirements of this chapter.
Animal control personnel are hereby authorized to receive, at the animal control shelter, cats, unless said cats pose a health threat to other confined animals. At the end of a confinement period of not less than 96 hours, they are authorized to dispose of said cats in a manner consistent with humane practices and to dispose of the carcasses as heretofore provided for in § 225-12.
Animal control personnel are further authorized to enter into adoption programs with any responsible individual or program in conjunction with the Allegany County Animal Welfare Society. All agreements entered into with groups or individuals shall be subject to the approval of the Allegany County Commissioners.
The Animal Shelter Manager is also authorized to institute an identification program for cats, to issue identification tags and to charge a fee for said tags.
Every person owning or harboring a cat must possess valid proof of current rabies immunization issued by the Allegany County Health Department or by a duly licensed veterinarian.
The Animal Control Personnel shall investigate and enforce the provisions of this chapter and any and all rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto.
Pursuant to authority granted by Article 25B, Section 13(c) of the Annotated Code of Maryland, the following violations are deemed to be civil infractions:
Violation of § 225-13 (Dangerous dogs), first, second and third offenses only and only for offenses not involving injury or attach upon a human or other animal.
Violation of § 225-19 (Failure to obtain kennel license), first, second and third offenses only.
All civil citations shall be handled in accordance with Article 25B, Section 13(c) of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
Fines for civil infractions: The Allegany County Commissioners shall, from time to time, by regulation, establish fines for civil infractions. All such fines when paid shall become the property of Allegany County.
Except for those acts declared to be civil infractions, all other violations of this chapter or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto shall constitute a misdemeanor and punished by confinement in the County jail for not more than 30 days or by fine of not less than $15, but not more than $500, or both, in the discretion of the court as provided herein. If any violation is continued, each day's violation shall be deemed a separate offense.