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Animal Control Ordinance

GARRETT COUNTY ANIMAL CONTROL ORDINANCE
 
WHEREAS, the General Assembly, by Section 11-504 of Article 24 in The Annotated Code of Public General Laws of Maryland has authorized counties to adopt rules and regulations for the sale of dog and cat licenses, the keeping of records of such licenses and the convenient and effective enforcement of the provisions relating to the same; and
 
WHEREAS, the regulation and licensing of dogs and cats is appropriate and desirable in Garrett County; and
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, THAT THE GARRETT COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS DO HEREBY ADOPT THE FOLLOWING:
 
BEING AN ORDINANCE, adopted on the 26th day of November, 1985, to take effect on and from the 2nd day of December, 1985, promulgating rules and regulations for the sale of dog and cats licenses, the keeping of records of such licenses, and the convenient and effective enforcement of the provisions relating to the same within Garrett County.
 
SECTION A – DEFINITION OF TERMS
 
THE FOLLOWING TERMS AS USED IN THIS ORDINANCE SHALL HAVE THE MEANINGS ASSIGNED TO THEM IN THIS SECTION:
 
A. ANIMAL: shall be intended to mean dog and cat.
 
B. ANIMAL AT LARGE: An animal shall be deemed to be at large whenever said animal is not on the owner’s property or under the immediate physical control of a responsible person capable of physically restraining the animal; provided, however, that dogs will be permitted to run at large when accompanied by the owner or authorized agent if the dog is being used for hunting or trained for hunting or the dog is being accompanied by its owner or his authorized agent.
 
C. ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER: that person or his authorized representative designated as such by the County Commissioners of Garrett County to perform duties described by this Ordinance.
 
D. PET SHOP: an establishment which offers to sell two or more species of live animals with the intent that they be kept as pets
 
E. ANIMAL CONTROL SHELTER: any facility designated by the County Commissioners of Garrett County for the detention of dogs and cats.
 
F. ANIMAL UNDER RESTRAINT: An animal secured by a leash or lead, or under the control of a responsible person and obedient to that person’s commands, or confined within a vehicle or within the real property limits of its owner and/or its custodian.
 
G. HEALTH OFFICER: the duly appointed Garrett County Health Officer, or his authorized representative.
 
H. KENNEL: an establishment wherein any person, group of persons, or corporation engages in the business of boarding, breeding, buying, or selling dogs or cats, or wherein at any one time there are kept or harbored five or more dogs or cats over six months old for a business or commercial purpose.
 
I. OWNER OR OWN: Any person, partnership, association or corporation having a right of property in an animal and any person who keeps or harbors an animal or has it in his care or acts as custodian or permits it to remain on, or about, any premises occupied or controlled by him/her.
 
J. PUBLIC NUISANCE ANIMAL: Any animal found repeatedly making loud or objectionable sounds, depositing excretory matter on private property other than that of the animal’s owner, damaging property, running at large, molesting passersby, chasing vehicles or acting in any manner which is deemed to be doing damage to property or to the public health and well-being or any animal which is known to have bitten or injured one or more persons or animals, or shall have been determined by the Animal Control Officer, the Public Health Officer, or any other authorized representative of the County to be a detriment to public health, welfare and safety, shall be deemed to be a public nuisance.
 
K. CITATION: “Citation” means a charging document issued to the owner by the Animal Control Officer or authorized agent, Health Officer, or any other law enforcement agency.
 
L. KEEPING OR HARBORING – The act or sufferance of either feeding or sheltering an animal on the premises of the occupant or owner thereof.
 
M. VICIOUS ANIMAL – A vicious animal is any animal that:
 
1. Poses a physical threat to persons or to domestic or farm animals by virtue of its 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; and
2. Has been declared to be a vicious animal by the animal control officer by written notice sent to the animal’s owner.
3. Except that no animal belonging to a government agency shall be deemed a vicious animal for conduct occurring while the animal is acting in the official performance of authorized duty.
 
N. GUIDE DOGS – Guide dogs trained to assist the physically challenged.
 
SECTION B- ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY
 
The County Commissioners of Garrett County hereby designate and appoint the Animal Control Officer and his/her representatives and agents, law enforcement officers of town and county jurisdictions, and the County Health Officer and his/her representatives to perform those functions provided for in this Ordinance and designate the County Animal Shelter as the facility for housing such animals as designated by such officers.
 
A. The Animal Control Officer shall have the right to enter upon any premises at all reasonable times for the purpose of discharging the duties imposed upon him by this Ordinance where there is reasonable belief that a violation of this Ordinance has been committed.
 
B. The Animal Control Officer shall have the right to issue a citation to any owner or person found violating any provision of this Ordinance.
 
C. The Animal Control Officer shall be authorized and empowered to enforce and administer this Ordinance by the Board of Garrett County Commissioners as stipulated in Article 56 Section 194 subtitle “B” of the Annotated Code of Maryland by the issuance of a citation.
 
SECTION C – LICENSING OF DOGS/CATS AND KENNELS/CATTERIES
 
A. It shall be unlawful for any person, partnership, association or corporation to keep or own an unlicensed dog or cat within Garrett County. The annual license fee shall be FIFTEEN DOLLARS ($15.00). Owners who present a certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian stating or showing evidence that the dog or cat has been spayed or neutered shall pay a fee of THREE DOLLARS ($3.00) for each dog or cat over the age of SIX (6) months.
 
B. It shall be unlawful for any person, partnership, association or corporation to operate a kennel within Garrett County without possessing a valid license. The application for such license shall state the name and address of the kennel operator, location of the kennel, and the maximum number of dogs or cats to be housed in the kennel. A kennel license can only be licensed to a facility that complies with the standards listed in Appendix A. Initial or annual fees for kennel operators and pet shop operators shall be as follows:
 
Kennel authorized to house less
than Twenty-Five (25) dogs or cats $ 50.00
 
Kennel authorized to house more
than Twenty-Five (25) dogs or cats $100.00
 
Pet Shop Operator $ 50.00
 
Kennel licenses and pet shop licenses may be revoked by the Animal Control Officer upon the failure of the licensee to comply with the provisions of this Ordinance.
 
C. All dog licenses, cat licenses, kennel licenses and pet shop licenses shall be issued for ONE (1) or an optional THREE (3) YEARS beginning with the first day of July in each year. Applications made during the license year not in default as provided in this subsection shall entitle the applicant to a fee prorated to the nearest month. Applications for licenses may be made SIXTY (60) DAYS prior to and THIRTY (30) DAYS after the start of licensing year or within THIRTY (30) DAYS following the procurement of a dog, or kennel, without penalty. If, after the THIRTY (30) DAYS time period mentioned above, the applicant makes application for a license, he shall be required to pay a penalty of FIFTY PERCENT (50%) of the license fee in addition to the full annual license fee. At the time of application for license, a certification of proof of rabies inoculation must be presented.
 
D. A duplicate metal license tag to replace a lost tag shall be issued to the
dog or cat’s owner upon application and the payment of TWO DOLLARS ($2.00).
 
E. If there is any change in ownership of a kennel or pet shop during the license year, the new owner may have the current license transferred to his name upon the payment of a transfer fee of TEN DOLLARS ($10.00).
 
F. If, prior to becoming a resident of Garrett County, a dog or cat owner obtained a valid dog or cat license from another governmental jurisdiction with similar requirements to those therein, a new license shall be issued to the dog owner upon written application and payment of a transfer fee of TWO DOLLARS ($2.00).
 
G. It shall be unlawful for any person to use for any dog or cat a license receipt or a license tag issued for another dog or cat.
 
The metal dog license tag shall be securely fastened to the dog’s choke chain, collar, or harness and worn by the dog at all times unless such dog is engaged in supervised hunting or other sport where a collar would endanger the dog’s safety or adversely affect its hunting or sport purpose.
 
License requirement; rabies vaccination.
 
(A.) LICENSES REQUIRED. No person shall own or have custody of any dog or cat over four (4) months of age unless such dog or cat is in a procedure approved by the Maryland Public Health Veterinarian. Proof of rabies vaccination shall be given to the dog or cat license agent. This provision shall not apply to dogs or cats in the County owned by a non-resident and kept within the boundaries of the County for not longer than thirty (30) days, provided such dogs or cats are duly licensed in their home city, county, or state providing a valid rabies vaccination certificate for said dog or cat accompanies the dog or cat while it is in Garrett County.
 
A. Veterinary hospitals or clinics, research facilities were bonafide 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 kennel licensing requirements of this Ordinance.
 
B. The licensing requirements of this Ordinance shall not apply to any dog belonging to a non-resident of the County and kept within the boundaries of the County for not longer than THIRTY (30) DAYS, and while kept within the County meet all other requirements of this Ordinance.
 
C. Owners of dogs used as seeing eye dogs or as governmental police dogs are exempt from those fee requirements imposed by Section C of this Ordinance.
 
I. FAILURE TO OBTAIN LICENSE. If a license is required by the provisions of this Article, and if the failure to obtain a license substantially contributes to the inability of the Animal Control Officer to promptly ascertain the identity of the owner of an animal, and if in the judgement of the Animal Control Officer circumstances require that an animal be humanely destroyed or adopted out, than the Animal Control Officer, the County, its agents and employees, and all others acting in good faith on behalf of the County, are immune from any liability in any suit or action by an owner or others for administering euthanasia or adopting out the animal without prior notice.
 
SECTION D – ANIMALS RUNNING AT LARGE. IMPOUNDMENT
It shall be unlawful for the owner of any animal to allow such animal to be at large in Garrett 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 being followed by person on foot, horseback or in vehicles.

A. An animal found at large with or without a valid license tag shall, except as provided above, be impounded by the animal control warden and taken to the animal control shelter and there confined in a humane manner for a period of not less than THREE (3) DAYS unless sooner claimed and redeemed by its owner. The animal control officer shall use whatever humane means necessary to catch the animal and is hereby relieved from any liability from harm or injury to the animal At the end of THREE (3) DAYS as indicated above, unclaimed animals shall be deemed abandoned and become the property of The Board of County Commissioners of Garrett County and shall be disposed of in the manner prescribed by the animal control officer and approved by The Board of County Commissioners of Garrett County.
 
B. The owner of any dog or cat against which a complaint has been filed that does not have a current valid license shall be assessed a fine of not less than TWENTY FIVE ($25.00) DOLLARS in addition to any other cost including the purchase of a current valid license.
 
SECTION E – REDEMPTION OF IMPOUNDED ANIMALS
 
A. Upon impounding an animal, the animal control officer shall cause a prompt and reasonable effort to be made to locate and notify the animal’s owner.
 
B. The owner of an impounded animal shall be entitled to redeem such animal except as hereinafter provided, upon compliance with the license provisions of Section C herein, payment of redemption fees, and proof of ownership.
 
C. Redemption fees as provided in this Section shall be TEN DOLLARS ($10.00) for each animal plus TEN DOLLARS ($10.00) for each calendar day or portion thereof during which the animal was boarded at the animal control shelter.
 
D. When animals are found running at large and their ownership is known, such animals, if they are legally licensed, need not be impounded, by the animal control officer, but he may at his discretion notify the owner who can reclaim the animal upon paying the redemption fee of TEN DOLLARS ($10.00), if the redemption is made that same day.
 
E. Whenever Animal Control Personnel have reasonable grounds to believe that a dog or cat is running at large without a license tag, or constitutes a public nuisance, or is an unrestrained animal that has been determined to be a vicious animal, the animal may be taken and impounded. Upon impounding any animal, Animal Control Personnel shall make a good faith effort to notify the owner of its impoundment. Such animal may be confined and disposed of either by euthanasia or by being offered for adoption and
adopted out if its owner is not identified and it is not claimed within three (3) days after being impounded. No impounded animal shall be released to an owner unless all charges incident to the confinement have been paid. Dogs/cats found at large without a license which, during the episode, have bitten or scratched a human or another animal, may be impounded and euthanized if in the discretion of Animal Control Personnel and after consultation with the Garrett County Health Department such action is necessary for the public health and safety.
 
F. Impoundment Service Fee
 
$10.00 for a dog or cat with a valid license
 
$25.00 for a dog or cat subject to license but without a current valid license and the costs of any required veterinary service and furnish satisfactory evidence that the dog or cat is licensed and have the necessary rabies vaccination before release. Subsequent impounding fees, with or without a valid license, are as follows:
 
2nd impoundment $30.00
 
3rd impoundment $50.00
 
After the third impoundment, fees will increase in increments of $20.00. Impoundment service fees will be retained by the Garrett County in order to offset the housing expenses incurred in impounding the animal.
 
G. Liability for Impounding Fee
Where the owner of an impounded dog or cat can be ascertained, such owner shall be liable for the impounding fee and other proper charges even in cases wherein the dog or cat is disposed of pursuant to section 3-5 of this Article. In addition to the impounding fee, the Animal Control Officer may issue a summons pursuant to Section 3-20 of this Article.
 
SECTION F – CONFINEMENT OF FIERCE, DANGEROUS OR VICIOUS ANIMALS
A. Every fierce, dangerous or vicious dog, including a animal that has a history of biting a human, shall be confined by the owner within a building or secure enclosure. Such animal shall not be taken out of such building or secure enclosure unless securely muzzled.
Upon a violation of this section, in addition to the fine authorized by this Article, the Court may order the animal destroyed and direct the owner to refrain from possessing or owning other animals for a period not to exceed three (3) years.

B. Every female animal 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 animal and not create a nuisance by attracting other animals
It shall be unlawful for anyone to own or harbor a public nuisance animal as herein before defined. Notwithstanding the afore going provisions, the barking of hunting dogs in pursuit of game shall not be considered a disturbance of the public peace for the purpose hereof.
 
SECTION G- ANIMAL SHELTER ADOPTION
 
Any animal that is adopted from the Garrett County Animal Shelter will be accompanied by an adoption agreement and adoption fee.
 
Any Animal Control Officer shall and will collect any animal from an adopter who has not complied with the adoption agreement from the Garrett County Animal Shelter. Said adopter shall not be permitted to adopt any other animals from the Animal Shelter.
 
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.
 
SECTION H – INVESTIGATION AND ISSUANCE OF CITATION
 
A. The animal control officer shall have the right to enter upon any premises at all reasonable times for the purpose of discharging the duties imposed upon him by this Ordinance where there is reasonable belief that a violation of this Ordinance has been committed.
 
B. The animal control officer shall have the right to issue a citation to any owner/custodian found violating any provision of this ordinance.
 
C. The animal control officer shall be authorized and empowered to enforce and administer this Ordinance by the Board of Garrett County Commissioners as stipulated in Article 56 Section 194 sub-title “B” of the Annotated Code of Maryland shall issue a citation, trial, penalty.
Update Article 24, Section 11 §502.
 
D. The Animal Control Officer, the County Health Officer, his deputy or any law enforcement officer shall issue a civil citation if there is probable cause to believe that a person is committing or has committed a violation of this Ordinance. In issuing a civil citation, the issuer may accept and rely upon a written affidavit of an individual with personal knowledge of an alleged violation. A copy of the citation shall be retained by the issuer and shall bear a certification attesting to the truth of the matters set forth. The citation shall contain:
 
1. The name and address of the person charged;
2. The nature of the violation
3. The location and time that the violation occurred;
4. The amount of the fine assessed;
5. The manner, location and time in which the fine may be paid or a notice stating that prepayment of the fine is not permitted; and
6. The person’s right to elect to stand trial for the violation.
 
A preset fine, not to exceed $250, may be imposed for each violation. The County by resolution, may establish a schedule of fines for each violation and may adopt procedures for collection of these fines.
 
A person who receives a citation may elect to stand trial for the offense by filing with the Animal Control Officer a notice of intention to stand trial. The notice shall be given at least five (5) days before the date of payment as set forth in the citation. On receipt of the notice of intention to stand trial, Animal Control Personnel shall forward to the District Court of Maryland for Garrett County, a copy of the citation and the notice of intention to stand trial. On receipt of the citation, the District Court shall schedule the case for trial and notify the defendant of the trial date. All fines, penalties, or forfeitures collected by the District Court for Animal Control violations shall be remitted to the County Tax Collection Office.
 
If a person who receives a citation for a violation fails to pay the fine by the date of payment set forth on the citation and fails to file a notice of intention to stand trial, Animal Control Personnel may request adjudication of the case through the District Court. The District Court shall schedule the case for trial and summon the defendant to appear, and the person may be adjudged liable for an additional fine not to exceed twice the original fine.
 
Adjudication of a violation under the subsection is not a criminal conviction, nor does it impose any of the civil disabilities ordinarily imposed by a criminal conviction.
 
In a proceeding before the District Court, the violation shall be prosecuted in the same manner and to the same extent as set forth for municipal infractions in Article 23A, Sec. 3-B, 8 through 15 of the Annotated Code of Maryland. If a person is found by the District Court to have committed a civil violation, he shall be liable for the costs of proceedings in the District Court.
 
SECTION I-CRUELTY.

CRUELTY TO ANIMALS
 
No person shall overdrive, overload, deprive of necessary sustenance, torture, torment, cruelly beat, mutilate or cruelly kill any animal, or cause, procure or authorize these acts, or having the charge or custody of an animal, either as owner or otherwise, inflict unnecessary suffering or pain upon the animal, or fail to provide the animal with nutritious food in sufficient quantity, necessary veterinary care, proper drink, adequate air space, and appropriate shelter or protection from the weather.
 
No person shall allow any animal to remain in a vehicle in a manner that endangers the health or safety of the animal.
 
No person shall poison any animal other than rodents or mistreat or abandon any animal in such manner as to cause suffering to the animal.
 
If an Animal Control Officer determines that the health or safety of an animal is in immediate danger because of cruelty or neglect, the officer may remove the animal from any place except the interior of a private residence and impound the animal. For the purpose 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.
 
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 said 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 schedule for implementation.
 
CARE AND CONTROL
All owners of animals shall exercise care and control of their animals, so as to prevent the animals from becoming public nuisances.
 
EUTHANASIA
Any animal found in critical condition from wounds, injuries or disease may, at the discretion of the Animal Control Officer or a Maryland licensed veterinarian, be euthanized, if the owner cannot be found in a reasonable length of time. If the animal is suffering great pain, it may be destroyed immediately, and the owner notified as soon as possible thereafter. The owner of any such deceased animal shall immediately provide for the disposal of the animal if he knows of its death or the location of its carcass. The persons responsible for destroying the animal as herein provided shall not be held liable for the act.

ABANDONMENT
Any person, partnership or corporation being the owner, possessor or custodian of an animal who abandons such animal or drops or leaves such animal on a street, road, highway, or in a public place or on private property, with intent to abandon it, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor (See Article 27, Sec. 60 of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as amended periodically.) After response to an investigation of an abandonment complaint which results in a finding of suspected abandonment, written notice shall be left on the premises that the animal(s) shall be removed therefrom after twenty-four (24) hours to the Garrett County Animal Shelter. After the 24 hour period has elapsed and no communication has been received by the Garrett County Animal Control Officer from the owners or occupier of the premises, the animal(s) shall be removed from the premises to the Animal Control Shelter.
 
ANIMALS CHASING OTHER ANIMALS
Any owner who allows his animal(s) to harass, chase, torment or injure livestock, domestic animals or farm animals shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine as provided herein.
 
SECTION J – PENALTY
 
A. Any person violating any provisions of this Ordinance shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof before the District Court of Garrett County or in the Circuit Court of Garrett County shall be fined a sum of not less than TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS ($25.00) nor more than TWO HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS ($250.00).
 
B. 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.
 
SECTION K – SEVERABILITY
 
If any part of this Ordinance shall be held void, such part shall be deemed severable and the invalidity thereof shall not affect the remaining parts of this Ordinance.
 
AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF GARRETT COUNTY, MARYLAND, That this Act shall take effect on the 3rd day of February 2004.
_____________________________________
Ernest J. Gregg, Chairman
______________________________________
David C. Beard, Commissioner
______________________________________
Frederick A. Holliday, Commissioner
 
ATTEST:
_____________________________________
R. Lamont Pagenhardt, County Administrator