Town of Westernport, MD
Allegany County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Commissioners of the Town of Westernport as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 10-5-2015 as Ch. 88 of the 2015 Code]
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Animal Control Law."
A. 
Authority of Allegany County animal control officers. Animal control officers appointed by Allegany County are authorized to perform the duties and exercise the authorities vested in them as animal control officers by § 13-101 et seq. of the Local Government Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland within and throughout the corporate boundaries of the Town.
B. 
Authority of animal control officers to bear and discharge firearms. The county animal control officers are hereby authorized to bear arms within the Town of Westernport for the purpose of executing their duties and to discharge firearms, if necessary, to destroy animals who give all reasonable appearance of being a threat to human life or property.
C. 
Interference with animal control officers. No person shall obstruct or interfere with the animal control officers in the performance of their duties.
A. 
Keeping of livestock prohibited; exceptions. No person shall keep or allow to be kept, on any premises in his possession within the Town, any cows, calves, heifers, bulls, horses, mules, hogs, sheep or goats, except for any operation involving the storage, resting, feeding or watering of cattle or livestock as conducted by any contract carrier, as required by the Interstate Commerce Commission or other federal or state law or regulation. Nothing contained in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the maintenance or operation of a farm.
B. 
Other animals prohibited. No person shall keep or allow to be kept, on any premises in his possession within the Town, any crocodilians (such as alligators, crocodiles or gavials), any snakes that reach an adult length larger than three feet, any lizards which reach an adult length larger than three feet, or any venomous and poisonous animals.
A. 
Purpose. The regulations of this section will govern the keeping of chickens and are designed to prevent nuisances and prevent conditions that are unsanitary or unsafe.
B. 
Regulations. No person shall keep chickens unless the following regulations are followed:
(1) 
Number. No more than six hens shall be allowed for each single-family dwelling.
(2) 
Setbacks. Coops or cages housing chickens shall be kept at least 25 feet from the door or window of any dwelling or occupied structure other than the owner's dwelling. Coops and cages shall not be located within five feet of a side yard lot line nor within 18 inches of a rear yard lot line. Coops and cages shall not be located in the front yard.
(3) 
Enclosure. Hens shall be provided with a covered, predator-proof coop or cage that is well ventilated and designed to be easily accessed for cleaning. The coop shall allow at least two square feet per hen. Hens shall have access to an outdoor enclosure that is adequately fenced to contain the birds on the property and to prevent predators from access to the birds. Hens shall not be allowed out of these enclosures unless a responsible individual, over 18 years of age, is directly monitoring the hens and able to immediately return the hens to the cage or coop if necessary.
(4) 
Sanitation. The coop and outdoor enclosure must be kept in a sanitary condition and free from offensive odors. The coop and outdoor enclosure must be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent the accumulation of waste.
(5) 
Slaughtering. There shall be no outdoor slaughtering of chickens.
(6) 
Roosters. It is unlawful for any person to keep roosters.
C. 
Zoning restrictions.
(1) 
Chickens are only permitted on properties in the Suburban Residential Zoning District that consist of at least 1/2 acre in size.
(2) 
Multifamily dwellings. Chickens are not permitted on properties that are situated with a multifamily dwelling and/or apartment buildings.
D. 
Permit.
(1) 
In addition to the above requirements, no person shall keep chickens without a valid permit issued by the Town Clerk.
(2) 
An application for a permit must contain the following items:
(a) 
The name, phone number, and address of the applicant.
(b) 
The size and location of the subject property.
(c) 
A proposal containing the following information:
[1] 
The number of hens the applicant seeks to keep on the property.
[2] 
A description of any coops or cages or outdoor enclosures providing precise dimensions and the precise location of these enclosures in relation to property lines and adjacent properties.
(d) 
An initial permit fee of $50.
E. 
Permit renewal. Permits must be renewed on an annual basis. If the Town receives no complaints regarding the permit holder's keeping of chickens, the permit will be presumptively renewed and the applicant may continue to keep chickens under the terms and condition of the initial permit. The Town may revoke the permit at any time if the permittee does not follow the terms of the permit, if the Town receives complaints regarding the permit holder's keeping of chickens, or if the Town finds that the permit holder has not maintained the chickens, coops, or outdoor enclosures in a clean and sanitary condition. A renewal fee of $25 must be paid to the Town before a renewal permit is issued.
A. 
Generally. No person shall willfully set on foot, instigate, engage in or in any way further any act of cruelty to any animal, or any act tending to produce such cruelty, or by any act, conduct, neglect or omission willfully cause, permit or suffer any animal to undergo any species of torture or cruelty. State law reference:  10-601 et seq. of the Criminal Law Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
B. 
Animal fighting generally. No person shall possess or harbor or maintain care or custody of any animal for the purpose of fighting, or train, torment, badger, bait, or use any animal for the purpose of causing or encouraging the animal to attack human beings or domestic animals.
C. 
Penalty. Whoever violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and may be punished by a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment of not more than 180 days, or by both fine and imprisonment.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
A. 
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
OWNER
Any person possessing or harboring or having the care or custody of an animal.
UNCONFINED
A vicious animal is unconfined if the animal is not securely confined indoors or confined in a securely enclosed and locked pen or structure upon the premises of the owner of the animal. The pen or structure must have secure sides and a secure top attached to the sides. If the pen or structure has no bottom secured to the sides, the sides must be embedded into the ground no less than one foot. All such pens or structures must be adequately lighted and kept in a clean and sanitary condition.
(1) 
Any animal with a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack unprovoked, cause injury to, or otherwise threaten the safety of human beings or domestic animals;
(2) 
Any animal which because of its vicious propensity is capable of inflicting serious physical harm or death to humans and which would constitute a damage to human life or property if it were not kept in the manner required by this section;
(3) 
Any animal which, without provocation, attacks or bites, or has attacked or bitten, a human being or domestic animal;
(4) 
Any animal owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of fighting or any animal trained for fighting; or
(5) 
Any dog that meets the criteria of a "dangerous dog" under § 10-619 of the Criminal Law Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
B. 
Confinement; leash and muzzle.
(1) 
The owner of a vicious animal shall not suffer or permit the animal to go unconfined.
(2) 
The owner of a vicious animal shall not suffer or permit the animal to go beyond the premises of the owner unless the animal is securely muzzled and restrained by a chain or leash and under the physical restraint of a person. The muzzle shall be made in a manner that will not cause injury to the animal or interfere with its vision or respiration but shall prevent it from biting any human or animal.
C. 
Animal not to be left unattended. The owner of a vicious animal shall not leave the animal unattended on the owner's real property unless the animal is:
(1) 
Confined indoors;
(2) 
In a securely closed and locked pen; or
(3) 
In another structure designed to restrain the animal.
D. 
Signs. The owner of a vicious animal shall display in a prominent place on his premises a clearly visible warning sign indicating that there is a vicious animal on the premises. A similar sign is required to be posted on the pen or kennel of the animal.
E. 
Insurance. Owners of vicious animals must provide proof to the Town Clerk of public liability insurance in the amount of at least $1,000,000, insuring the owner for any personal injuries inflicted by his vicious animal.
F. 
Penalty. Whoever violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and may be punished by a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment of not more than 180 days, or by both fine and imprisonment.
[Amended 10-1-2018 by Ord. No. 9-4-2018B]
A. 
No persons shall permit dogs owned by them to run at large on any public streets or alleys within the Town. For the purposes of this section, dogs shall be considered as running at large when not under the immediate control of some person while on any of the streets or alleys or public grounds within the Town.
B. 
Any violation of any provision of this section shall be a municipal infraction subject to Chapter 135 of the Code of the Town of Westernport.
[Amended 7-10-2017]
On complaint made to the District Court of any dog within the Town which is barking, howling, or in any other manner disturbing the quiet of any persons whatever, the District Court, on being satisfied of the truth of such complaint, shall require a police officer to give notice thereof to the owner keeping or permitting such dog and requiring such dog to be kept or remain in the owner's house or on the owner's premises. If such person thereafter fails to keep the dog in the owner's house or on the owner's premises or take other effective action to prevent such disturbance and annoyance within the space of 24 hours after such notice, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and may be punished by a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment of not more than 180 days, or both fine and imprisonment.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 142, Noise, § 142-3B(2).
[Amended 10-1-2018 by Ord. No. 9-4-2018B]
A. 
Any person owning, keeping, possessing or harboring any dog or cat shall promptly remove and dispose of all feces left by the dog or cat on any public property and on any private property not owned by such person or lawfully occupied by such person.
B. 
Any violation of any provision of this section shall be a municipal infraction subject to Chapter 135 of the Code of the Town of Westernport.