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Maryland Animal / Dog Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: My dog playing with another dog on my property. The other dog ran off my property but my dog stayed. Whos responsible?

Who’s responsible if the dog scares a neighbor walking by? Am I responsible for the unleashed dog leaving my property or is the other dog owner responsible. There was no attack but I’m being threatened that I’m responsible for unleashed dog leaving my property

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Jan 21, 2022

Who is threatening you? Animal Control officers? They do not threaten, they issue warnings and citations. You cannot have unleashed dogs (yours or others under your supervision) running loose off your property or having unwanted contact with others. If you took responsibility to watch and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: Dogs running at large case(no hurt,no bark) MD law:the maximum penalty-30 days jail for the owner.When it can happen?

Dogs get run. Didn’t hurt anyone, didn’t bark. Just run through the neighbor’s yard to the forest. No intention from the owner. “Nice” Neighbour opened cases “dogs at large”, “dogs trespassing”. Surprisingly, maximum penalty for dogs running at large in MD is 30 days jail for the... Read more »

Scott Scherr
Scott Scherr answered on Jan 20, 2022

I seriously doubt you would receive jail time for this. You may want to retain counsel to get the best possible result.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: My in laws separated & are divorcing she wouldn’t allow him to take his dog all the paperwork is in his name

but she was never gifted the dog or paid a dime towards food or vet expenses he gave me ownership through the vet when he found out she tried to rehome the dog many of times and had me caring for dog die to her living conditions now she’s wanting the dog and saying the dog is her emotional... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Jan 11, 2022

If the dog was purchased/acquired during the marriage, and was not a gift made just to the husband, then the dog would be marital property. He would not be the sole owner. However, you are claiming he made a gift of the dog to you. Whether a court would uphold a gift made by one joint owner of a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: Can I avoid a 3 dog limit in my county if I am a professional dog trainer/business owner with demo dogs at home?

Baltimore County

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Dec 25, 2021

Each county and incorporated town or city has its owm local code or ordinances governng this issue. In Baltimore County, if you have more than three dogs, you are required to obtain a holding facility or kennel license. To find out if you are zoned for a holding facility or kennel license, please... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: How long does my sister have to have her dead fiance's dog in her possession before it's legally hers

My sister's Fiance died on Monday and he had this dog before they even met but they were together for a little over a year and living together for about 4 months when he died his parents are to fragile to handle the dog and told her she should keep him on Friday a friend of his said he is... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Sep 12, 2021

The dog is personal property under the law. Personal property of a deceased person belongs to the deceased person's estate. When someone dies without a will, the law of intestate succession applies to determine the legal heirs entitled to inherit the estate assets. An unmarried person... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law, Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death for Maryland on
Q: Can I sue the animal shelter if my dog became really sick after getting out?

My dog went out my door and went missing for a couple of hours. Later animal control got a hold of my dog. I took my dog out a week later since I couldn't pay for the fees at the time. I went to go get my dog this Tuesday and they told me that she hasn't eaten in those days. My dog was 5... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Jul 3, 2021

You have to prove that the shelter had a duty to care for your dog, breached that duty of care in some way, and that breach of care directly resulted in your dog's death. You have articulated no facts to support how or what caused your dog's death. How do you know your dog did not eat... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: Do I have a case of a snake hit me in the market

On side of my face

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Jun 15, 2021

Without more details and facts, your question cannot be answered. Did somebody own the snake as a pet, and negligently allowed it to escape or come into contact with you? Was the market inside a retail building, or open air? Encounters with wild animals in public spaces, and even on private... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: My ex kept and will not give my dog back. The dog is chipped under my name and vet is under my name.

While moving out took the dogs paperwork. I have paid most of dogs bills and have been primary caregiver.

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Jun 14, 2021

How was the dog acquired, who was present when it was acquired, was there a contract/adoption agreement, whose name in on the paperwork, did money exchange hands, who paid, were the two of you already living together at the time or if not with whom did the dog reside before you two began living... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: Can you help me? I have video footage of a resident bringing his dog into my yard, walking along my house to pee/poop.

The resident has entered my property on multiple occassions and my Ring camera captured the incidents. The residents (a female, young male and older male), come to my property at different times. The footage I have shows the dog walking along the side of my house (almost on the bricks) from my... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on May 21, 2021

Serve them a written notice not to come onto your property or you will have them charged with trespassing. You do not need a lawyer for this.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: Is it considered trespassing by a dog owner that repeatedly allows pet to urinate/defecate on private property?
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Apr 21, 2021

There are leash laws, and laws requiring pet owners clean up after their dog. These are usually county or municipal infractions under local code. So, if you witness the incident and can identify the pet owner, you can report it to the police or local Animal Control. As far as trespassing, you... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Personal Injury for Maryland on
Q: What should I do if my dog who is not considered as a dangerous dog got to bite someone
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Apr 2, 2021

Did your dog bite someone? If so, and if the person either is filing a claim for personal injuries or called the police/animal control, then you need to respond to both. The county code generally controls the determination of whether a dog is dangerous or not, and most counties have a two-bite or... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: If I'm under 18 can I legally take my cat that lives at my dad's house to my mom's?

I live under 50/50 custody between my mom and my dad, and the living situation at my dad's house is less than ideal. If I go to live at my mom's house, I would want to take the cat with me, who is my pet in every way except on paper, as I technically cannot own anything as a minor. I... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Feb 3, 2021

Most judges would direct the cat go with the minor child's primary household, but legal title on ownership papers may still be argued. I cannot imagine any parent will receive any good consideration from a judge in a custody dispute by spitefully holding their minor child's pet hostage... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: I found a stray dog almost a year ago. I’m trying to move apartments and need his papers and proof of shots. How?
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Jan 28, 2021

You take the dog to the vet and have the vet give the dog all its shots, then provide you with the statement of the bill detailing all the vaccines administered. It will cot you $200-$400, depending on the vet. If you know of a way to confirm from some other vet that the dog already was given its... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: A bf and gf live together. Gf adopted cat and gave to bf as a surprise Xmas present. Now break up. Who keeps the cat?

Bf cleans litterbox most often, buys the food often, and feeds the cat most often. In Maryland. Gf moving to out of country.

Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten answered on Nov 27, 2020

If there is proof of the gift (card, text message, Facebook post), then the answer is boyfriend. If there is no proof of the gift, then the answer is girlfriend.

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1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: Hi I found an abandone puppy over 1 month ago no tags or nothing can they claim him after this long after being abandon

They abandone la his puppy for over 1 month and sudden they want the puppy back what should I do after I spend in vet care meds food and Carr for this puppy and no one claimed him this long

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Nov 11, 2020

The person claiming property was abandoned has the burden of proof to present evidence of abandonment and persuade the judge of that fact. Just because you find a puppy or any other item does not mean it was abandoned. It may have been mislaid, lost, or neglectfully left on its own, without any... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: My small dog was chewing on a bone on my bed, my friend went toward her and I told him to leave her alone. He did not

He touched her lower back, I said leave her alone. Dog picked up bone and moved. Friend went to reach again, I said stop, I've told you, leave her alone. He then reached for bone, dog snarled and did a warning.. not bite but hard nibble toward him. Friend hit my dog over and over. I yelled for... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Oct 3, 2020

Stop calling that person a friend. Make real friends. He sounds guilty of criminal animal abuse, if you choose to file charges.

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1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: Neighbors girlfriend had puppy outside on small two story deck for 10 hours alone, no water or food. What should I do?

my neighbor recently bought a puppy and went away while leaving his girlfriend in charge to care for puppy while gone. She is not a resident of the home, just a guest, the lil puppy was outside in 55 degree weather from 0830 to 1930 (when I stopped by to see if everything was ok). She stated that... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Oct 3, 2020

Call local animal control and report your concerns. They can do an animal welfare check and instruct them on proper care of the puppy. Of course, I am sure if you do this that your neighbor will know it was probably you who called, if that is of any concern.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: My sister has an alcohol addiction and while in 2 week in-patient treatment I began caring for her dog. That was 1.5 yrs

ago and she has not once physically come to get her dog and now is threatening to send sheriff take me to court. Is this a civil matter since no criminal theft occured no police report? Can I defend that Im now primary caregiver and property abandonment? She does have original adoption papers for... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Sep 18, 2020

The only legal defense you have to keep the dog based on your description is if you convince the court she abandoned the dog, or intended to give the dog to you. Get the proof from whomever she told that she had abandoned the dog. That’s an admission against interest. You also have a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: Is it illegal to keep dogs in a fenced yard or big pen outside in maryland?

I'm moving to southern maryland from texas and have 2 dogs. I have 2 10' ×10' pens put together that they stay in now and someone told me it was illegal to keep them in a pen outside 24/7.

Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann answered on Aug 19, 2020

You likely want to check the specific county code and/or call animal control in the particular county (and/or town)

For example, in Anne Arundel County, pursuant to Article 12, Title 4, dogs in this county can be legally outside if the owner provides adequate shelter to protect the dog...
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1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: A neighbor kicked my dog because it was close to his feet on a public sidewalk in front of his home. What can I do?

I was walking my dog on the beauty strip when my neighbor came out and yelled at my face (not social distancing/no mask) that my dog couldn't be on his private property (I didn't know the beauty strip was his private property, I thought it was public property). I offered to leave and he... Read more »

Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten answered on Jul 19, 2020

You could call the cops for assault, threats, and animal abuse/cruelty

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