Queen Annes County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The Animal Control Commission for Queen Anne's County ("the Commission") shall exercise such powers and perform such functions as specifically provided in this chapter. Additionally, the Commission shall advise the County Commissioners on all questions of general policy relating to animal control in the County, and, when appropriate, shall bring matters of public interest within its jurisdiction to the attention of the County Administrator.
[Amended 5-26-2015 by Ord. No. 15-01]
A. 
Appointment. The County Commissioners shall appoint seven individuals to serve as members of the Commission. One nonvoting member shall be the County Health Officer or his/her designee, and one nonvoting member shall be the Director of Emergency Services for Queen Anne's County or his/her designee. The other members shall be voting members of the general public. These membership requirements may be phased in as the terms of members serving on the date of adoption of these requirements shall expire.
B. 
Terms. The County Commissioners shall set the term of each member of the Commission. Terms may be staggered, and all terms need not be of equal duration.
C. 
Compensation.
(1) 
Members of the Commission may not receive remuneration for their service.
(2) 
The County Commissioners may reimburse members of the Commission for expenses in accordance with the current fiscal budget.
D. 
Removal. The County Commissioners may, with or without cause, remove a member of the Commission prior to the expiration of the member's term.
[Amended 5-26-2015 by Ord. No. 15-01]
A. 
Chairperson; Vice Chairperson. The members of the Animal Control Commission shall designate one member to serve as Chairperson of the Animal Control Commission subject to the approval of the County Commissioners of Queen Anne's County. The members of the Commission shall also designate one member to serve as Vice Chairperson.
B. 
Secretary. The Commission may appoint an individual other than a Commission member to serve as a nonvoting, recording secretary.
[Amended 5-26-2015 by Ord. No. 15-01]
A. 
Meetings, in general. The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairperson or on the request of two voting members.
B. 
Quorum. A quorum shall consist of three voting members.
C. 
Missed meetings. The Chairperson shall notify the County Commissioners if a member of the Commission misses three regularly scheduled meetings during a calendar year.
D. 
Office facilities; supplies. The County Commissioners may provide the Commission with office space, supplies, and equipment as may be required by the Commission in accordance with the current fiscal budget.
A. 
Legislative recommendations. The Commission shall recommend to the County Commissioners changes in this chapter, as the Commission may deem appropriate.
B. 
Regulations. The Commission shall develop and update, as the Commission may deem appropriate, a comprehensive set of regulations necessary or appropriate to implement the provisions and purpose of this chapter. Such regulations shall have the force and effect of law.
C. 
Fee structure; fines.
(1) 
The Commission shall promulgate and maintain a schedule of fees to be imposed under this chapter for County dog, cat, and ferret registration and licensing of commercial animal establishments.
(2) 
The Animal Services Center shall promulgate, publish, and maintain a schedule of fees for all services provided by it, including fees for transfer, reapplication, redemption, adoption, board, and other fees or charges authorized or required.
(3) 
The Commission shall establish and adopt a schedule of fines which shall be imposed for violations of this chapter.
(4) 
Fees and fines established under this chapter may be evaluated and adjusted on an annual basis by the Commission and the Animal Services Center.
A. 
In general.
(1) 
On a written complaint of a citizen, the Commission may conduct a public hearing to determine whether a violation of this chapter has occurred. The Commission may set conditions to correct the violation and order the violator to abide by those conditions within a prescribed time limit. The Commission may provide for any disposition of any animal, including euthanasia, as provided in this chapter.
(2) 
The Commission may conduct hearings on whether an animal shall be deemed a dangerous animal under the provisions of this chapter. On finding that an animal is dangerous, the Commission may set any reasonable conditions or restrictions on release of the animal or order the animal euthanized.
(3) 
On a written complaint of an Animal Control Officer or a member of the Commission, the Commission shall conduct a public hearing to determine whether a person has complied with an order of the Commission. If the Commission determines that the respondent has not complied with an order of the Commission, the Commission may impose a fine or other appropriate remedy, as provided in this chapter.
B. 
Notice.
(1) 
The Commission shall give written notice to the respondent of a complaint by either personal delivery or certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested. The notice shall be mailed 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.
(2) 
The Commission shall notify the complainant, by first class mail, of the time, date, and place of the hearing.
C. 
Subpoena power. The Commission may issue a subpoena for the attendance of a witness or the production of documents at a Commission hearing.
D. 
Decisions.
(1) 
The Commission shall render a decision within three working days after the conclusion of any public hearing.
(2) 
If the Commission finds that a violation did not occur, the Commission shall dismiss the complaint.
E. 
Costs. Any costs incurred by the respondent in order to comply with the Commission's rulings are the sole responsibility of the respondent.
F. 
Judicial review. A decision of the Commission authorized under this chapter is final. The decision is subject to review only by the Circuit Court for Queen Anne's County upon a timely appeal by a person aggrieved by the decision filed in accordance with the Maryland Code of Rules.
[Amended 5-26-2015 by Ord. No. 15-01]
A. 
The Manager of Animal Control (the "Manager") shall be appointed by the County Commissioners of Queen Anne's County and shall administer any laws and regulations pertaining to animal control in the County.
B. 
The Manager, as well as any Animal Control Officer, shall operate under the authority and oversight of the County Commissioners of Queen Anne's County Office.
C. 
The Manager:
(1) 
Is the Chief Animal Control Officer; and
(2) 
Shall serve as an advisor to the Animal Control Commission.
D. 
Operational responsibility. The Manager has operational responsibility for carrying out duties prescribed in this chapter and enforcing its provisions, as well as regulations duly promulgated by the Commission, including (but not necessarily limited to) provisions concerning public safety, public nuisances, prevention, cruelty to animals, and minimum standards for animal care.
E. 
Patrols; complaint investigations. The Manager shall implement a program of patrols and response to citizen complaints for the purpose of enforcing this chapter and Maryland State Law regarding animal control.
F. 
Emergencies. The Manager shall provide a twenty-four-hour, seven-day-a-week animal emergency service to respond to any complaint concerning matters deemed an emergency by the Manager.
G. 
Inspection of animal establishments. The Manager shall implement a program of inspections of all animal establishments required to have a license under this chapter.
H. 
Recordkeeping. The Manager or the Manager's designee is responsible for maintaining accurate records of licenses, impoundments, dispositions, animal bites, and all enforcement actions taken by Animal Control Officers.
I. 
Public information. The Manager shall make available to the general public information concerning the enforcement of this chapter as it pertains to animal control.
[Amended 5-26-2015 by Ord. No. 15-01]
A. 
Authority, in general. Animal Control Officers employed by the County Commissioners are authorized to exercise the authority necessary to enforce the provisions of this chapter and Maryland State Law relating to animal control.
B. 
Impoundment/seizure. Animal Control Officers shall:
(1) 
Humanely impound/seize an observed animal whose owner or custodian is in violation of this chapter and/or provisions of the Maryland Annotated Code relating to animal control, including impoundment/seizure from private or public property in accordance with Subsection J of this section; or
(2) 
Impound an injured domestic animal found on a road or public land in the County or on private property if the owner of the property is not the owner or custodian of the animal.
C. 
Notice. An Animal Control Officer shall make a prompt and reasonable effort to locate and notify the owner or custodian of an impounded animal. The effort shall include coordination with the Animal Services Center staff.
D. 
Citations. An Animal Control Officer may issue a citation to the owner or custodian of an animal when the animal is observed in violation of this chapter or Maryland State Law relating to animal control.
E. 
Emergency assistance.
(1) 
An Animal Control Officer shall promptly respond to administer emergency assistance, first aid, or qualified medical assistance to an injured or diseased stray animal that comes into the custody of the County without the consent of the owner or custodian of the animal.
(2) 
In carrying out Subsection E (1) of this section, the Animal Control Officer administering assistance, Queen Anne's County, or any of its employees or agents, may not be held liable for acts committed or omitted while rendering assistance, unless the act or omission constitutes gross negligence or malice.
F. 
Animal bite investigations. An Animal Control Officer may conduct investigations according to department policy or assist the Department of Environmental Health in the investigation of animal bites concerning potential rabies exposures.
G. 
Animals at large; discharge on property of others; dangerous animals; public nuisance animals; dangerous animals. See §§ 9-17 through 9-20 of this chapter.
H. 
Inspection of commercial animal establishments. An Animal Control Officer shall conduct prelicensing and/or renewal inspections of commercial animal establishments as provided in this chapter or regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter.
I. 
Enforcement actions.
(1) 
If the owner or custodian of an animal is in violation of any requirements that the Commission establishes, an Animal Control Officer may order the violation immediately corrected and cite the owner or custodian for the violation.
(2) 
Subject to Subsection I(3) of this section, an Animal Control Officer may initiate a complaint or other form of enforcement of this chapter or Maryland State Law.
(3) 
Before an Animal Control Officer files a complaint in a court of competent jurisdiction or before the Commission, the Animal Control Officer shall have probable cause to believe that a violation of this chapter or Maryland State Law has taken place.
J. 
Access to private property. An Animal Control Officer may enter upon private property to verify compliance with orders of the Animal Control Commission and/or to investigate any observed or reported violations of this chapter and or Maryland State Law. This access is limited to unenclosed places and structures which are open and the interior of which is readily visible to the Animal Control Officer.
A. 
An Animal Services Center may be operated by the County Commissioners of Queen Anne's County or by a qualified organization operating under and in accordance with the terms of a contract with the County Commissioners.
B. 
Scope of duties.
(1) 
Stray and unwanted animals.
(a) 
The Animal Services Center shall receive stray and unwanted domestic animals regardless of their medical condition.
(b) 
Animals that have a confirmed disease which may cause death or serious illness to other animals confined at the center may be immediately euthanized.
(c) 
The Animal Services Center shall make a prompt and reasonable effort to locate and notify owners of stray animals.
(2) 
Return of identified animals. The Animal Services Center shall ascertain the identity of the owner of an impounded animal and, as a precondition of release, require the payment of all charges for the care, board, veterinary treatment, and any unpaid license fees from the animal's owner or custodian.
(3) 
Animal adoption. The Animal Services Center shall place for adoption unredeemed or unwanted animals in accordance with the regulations established under this chapter and Maryland State Law.
(4) 
Humane treatment. The Animal Services Center shall provide humane treatment for all animals under its care.
(5) 
Standards of care. The Animal Services Center shall maintain and adhere to comprehensive procedures, as provided in regulations duly promulgated by the Commission, prescribing standards for the humane operation of the center, including standards for the housing, feeding, care, veterinary treatment, adoption, quarantine, and euthanasia of animals in the facility pursuant to this chapter and Maryland State Law.
(6) 
Veterinary care.
(a) 
The Animal Services Center shall provide for necessary and appropriate veterinary care of injured or sick animals in the custody of the Animal Services Center.
(b) 
Veterinary care of injured or sick animals may be rendered without the consent of the owner or custodian.
(c) 
Animal Control Officers and the Animal Services Center staff and its agents are not liable for acts committed or omitted in rendering care under this subsection.
(7) 
Posting of charges. The Animal Services Center shall post, in a conspicuous place, a schedule of charges for the housing, care, treatment, adoption, and redemption of animals that are in the custody of the center.
(8) 
Records.
(a) 
The Animal Services Center shall keep records of impoundments, veterinary treatment, disposition of animals, and other activities for a period of three years after such records are initiated.
(b) 
Animal records shall be complete and accurate as to the breed, sex, color, condition, how, when, and where the animal was obtained, and any identification the animal may have been wearing.
(9) 
Unwanted animals. The Animal Services Center may humanely euthanize unredeemed and unwanted animals in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and Maryland State Law.