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Maryland Animal / Dog Law Questions & Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on

Q: I was bitten by a dog on 2/12/2018. The trial was held on 5/17/2019. I was shocked I lost. If I filed an appeal I

probably would lose again. I would like to pursue a claim under the Common law of liability for other than the owner. Can you assist me?

Mark Oakley answered on May 26, 2019

If you lost against the dog owner then you’re almost certainly barred from suing anyone else. Was the case heard on the merits? And in what court and for how much did you sue for (e.g., more than $5000)? Answers to these questions may help decide what options you have.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on

Q: My dog sitter lost my dog. She admits he wasn't properly leashed. He's been missing for 1 month. Whats her liability?

The sitter admits that she did not have my dog securely leashed when she let him out to relieve himself. He ran when she called his name and has been missing since 3/31. I was out of the country at the time and relied on her to begin searching. She says she feels horrible, but my dog is still... Read more »

Mark Oakley answered on May 1, 2019

I am sorry, as the loss of a pet can be devastating. I hope you find yours. Maryland law views pets as mere property, so the damage is measured by the fair market value of the dog (the reasonable cost to purchase a similar dog). You are also entitled to the breach of contract damages for the dog... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on

Q: Does my ex boyfriend have legal rights over our dog?

My ex and I got a dog while we were dating. I paid for most of its care while we were together. After breaking up, I kept the dog and continued to pay for all of its care for an entire year. Due to financial reasons, I recently had to give the dog back to the rescue site that we initially got her... Read more »

Mark Oakley answered on Apr 19, 2019

A pet is considered personal property under the law, no different than jointly owning a suitcase or other object. If you both contributed to the purchase price, and intended by agreement (oral or otherwise, or by mutual understanding) that the dog was to be the joint property of both of you, then... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on

Q: What is my liability?

My dog killed my neighbors outdoor cat last night. My dog got out of our fence and we found my dog and their cat on their front lawn. We have no idea whether the dog ran into the cat in the woods, or on their property. We all heard a commotion and then saw the dog looking over the cat while it... Read more »

Mark Oakley answered on Jan 4, 2019

There are two issues here. The first is whether your neighbor calls the local Animal Control office and files a dangerous dog report, which could trigger a review on whether your dog is too dangerous to be kept (and risk euthanasia). More likely, you as the owner would simply be cited for the dog... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law and Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on

Q: Can a pet store refuse to sell me a puppy just because I have children?

I drove 2 hours (From centeral VA to MD, to a pet store we've prevuously been to and took our children to) to see a puppy we had our hearts set on only to have the pet store deny us the sale just because we have chikdren. Is that legal? I understand screening potential byers for things like... Read more »

Mark Oakley answered on Dec 11, 2018

It’s a private company so they can do what they want. You’ll find it much easier to adopt the same day at the county animal shelter or the local humane society, who have many rescues looking for a home.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on

Q: What are my legal rights to pet ownership if the original owner left a dog I am taking care of? Is this abandonment?

The original owner got a dog and 4 months later left to go to school. She left her dog with her friend & then the friend a couple weeks later said she wanted to keep the dog. The owner said no so the friend tied the dog to the porch. Another friend of the owner went to get the dog and it ended up... Read more »

Mark Oakley answered on Dec 8, 2018

You do not acquire ownership of the dog in the manner you describe. It is not abandoned if the original owner believes she has placed it temporarily with her boyfriend and does not know otherwise. You can notify the owner that you have the dog, and tell her that if she does not make arrangements to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on

Q: Can I get sued for giving this guys dog away while he was in jail

He had asked me to watch his dog for only a couple of days. It hit the 3 week Mark and i received a text stating he was in jail. And my landlord wasn't gonna let me keep this pittbull. So at the month Mark i had to get rid of her. I started putting way to much money in her and everything. And this... Read more »

Mark Oakley answered on Oct 4, 2018

No, you have no legal duty or obligation to care for someone’s dog beyond the time you agreed to do so (unreasonably beyond). They abandoned their dog. Anybody can sue anyone but that doesn’t mean they will win. You could counter-sue for the extra costs you incurred for caring for their... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on

Q: I left my dog under my boyfriend care because I have emergency and his family give away my dog To another people??

What can i do I just need get back my dog I love him to much I also contac the police but they don’t help me

Mark Oakley answered on Aug 23, 2018

It's your dog, and your boyfriend had no legal right to transfer ownership to anyone else, so the current person(s) in possession of your dog cannot legally have obtained ownership. The conclusion may be different if other facts are present, such as your boyfriend claiming that you either made a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on

Q: My ex boyfriend paid for my dog, we broke up and he's taking me to civil court. Will he win the case?

My ex boyfriend paid for my dog. At the moment of purchase all the documents were done under my name since she was supposed to be a gift. Everything is under my name from proof of owner to Montgomery County registration and health insurance. She has always lived with me, he has probably been seeing... Read more »

Mark Oakley answered on Aug 22, 2018

A gift is a gift. If you can prove the gift, and by your facts and evidence cited in your question it appears you should be able to, then his suit will fail. If you want to reduce the risk of losing your beloved pet, I suggest you retain counsel to defend this suit.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on

Q: My dog bit my neighbors dog last night. Can my neighbor have the county make me put my dog down.

Mark Oakley answered on Aug 22, 2018

Each county has its own procedures for dealing with dog bites and classification of “dangerous” dogs. Generally speaking, most follow a one bite/incident rule depending on the severity and circumstances of the attack, as it usually takes more than one incident of aggressive behavior to meet... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on

Q: When is a dog considered abandoned? My boyfriend moved out and sent me a text saying I could keep the dog. Is she mine?

Vet records are in his name but my address.

Mark Oakley answered on Jun 1, 2018

Sounds like a gift to you, not abandonment—unless you don’t want the dog and reject the gift. Then, if your boyfriend doesn’t take the dog, it is abandoned.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on

Q: Can animal control impound a dog accused of biting an 8 year old?

Some children are claiming my dog bit one of them. She escaped my control when the children got her excited. As they ran she did too, leaving my sight line for a moment. When I got to her, none of them said anything about being bitten.

They filed a police report and my leasing office is... Read more »

Mark Oakley answered on Feb 17, 2018

Yes, animal control could theoretically impound the dog, but for a first bite they ordinarily will not do so so long as you have proof of up to date rabies shots. Otherwise, the protocol is to impound the dog under quarantine to watch for signs of rabies—if the dog is still alive in 10 days, it... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on

Q: If you rescue what seems to be a neglected and abandoned cat, do you have to give it back?

The cat was found outside in the pouring rain 4 days ago. She was taken to the vet to get checked out and found out she is 9 months old, not fixed and has been beaten up (most likely by other cats). Today the person that supposedly owns her decides to ask the neighbors if they have seen his cat.... Read more »

Mark Oakley answered on Feb 15, 2018

Obviously, it's not an abandoned cat if there's an owner looking for it, so it is not legally yours to keep. You can call to report an abused or neglected animal, but a cat out in the rain is not by definition lost or abused, but will depend on other factors. Local authorities could take the cat... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Personal Injury for Maryland on

Q: Am I liable if my dog scares someone at my neighbors house and he injured himself trying to get back into his house?

My dog was fenced into my yard. As a guest of my neighbor was leaving my neighbors house my dog barked and ran towards the fence. This scared my neighbors guest and he tried to run back into my neighbors house and injured himself. My dog did not and has no way to get out of my yard. Am I liable... Read more »

David Alan Wolf answered on Aug 4, 2017

If your dog was lawfully on your property within a proper enclosure (fence), it would not appear that you were negligent in any manner. The dog liability laws vary from State to State. If you are concerned about your liability consult with a local attorney. You may also want to check with your... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Criminal Law for Maryland on

Q: Can i press charges? argument happened and in retaliation my pet was grabbed up by the neck and threateand to kill her.

My roomate and i got in an argument and she grabbed my cat by the neck and picked her up off the ground like that and had her hanging in the air while threataning to snap her neck and kill her. My boyfriend was able to get our cat away and to safety but i feel as though something needs to be done... Read more »

Thomas Joseph Maronick Jr answered on Jul 18, 2017

Yes. Cruelty to animals is a jailable offense type in Maryland. As a pet lover and former pet owner these are cases -- cruelty to animals -- I refuse to defend unless I am convinced my client didn't commit the offense. Obviously the State's Attorney's Office will make a determination as to... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Medical Malpractice for Maryland on

Q: Animal case? Bladder surgery results in 2nd surgery, Dr. Error. Damaged urethra causing near death toxicity leakage

Failed bladder surgery, results 2nd emergency surgery due to missed leakage into body cavity and distending abdomen. Tubing of throat improperly during surgeries causes cuts in throats causing stricture scars. After scaring, vomiting began and lots of weight loss. Internal med specialist was... Read more »

Paul D'Amore answered on Jan 20, 2017

I am very sorry to hear about your post-operative difficulties. I have seen many instances where the surgery that was supposed to "fix the problem" leaves the patient worse off than he/she started. Your potential case presents a long list of issues that would best be sorted out by an experienced... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on

Q: The person who was babysitting my puppy took her to the shelter.Help

So I just got my puppy Sari a jrt/shiba inu mix from a breeder in Pennsylvania and we were moving that week so I asked my friends if they knew any good petsitters and they mentioned this lady who lived literally 15 minutes from my old place. I took her there and dropped her off with all her things.... Read more »

Bennett James Wills answered on Oct 22, 2016

Probably can't get your dog back. But your question is vague. Consult with a local attorney.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on

Q: My dog got out and bit a neighbor's dog. Neither dog was on a leash. Can i be sued? I offered to pay the vet bill.

My dog has all his shots and had never bit another dog or human.

Ronald V. Miller Jr. answered on Apr 20, 2016

Without knowing all of the facts, it is certainly possible. But the damages would most likely be limited to the vet bill you already offer to pay. Tragically, in my opinion, animals are treated like pure property in Maryland. This injustice actually helps you in this case.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Family Law for Maryland on

Q: For me to petition for guardianship of a minor, how do I prove that the parents are unfit?

In a previous post, Wyckoff Nissenbaum said "In order to be a guardian on a minor child it is necessary to file a Petition for Guardianship. If the bio family does not assent to the guardianship it will be necessary to prove that they are unfit." How do I prove that?

Robert Jason De Groot answered on Oct 4, 2015

Basically, with facts that show that the parents are unfit. How you do that is, of course, dependent upon facts that you can show, not just opinions, but through witnesses who have seen the parents and been around them enough to be able to testify about how the child is treated and what the parents... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on

Q: I trusted a famiky friend with the care of my two little babies. A yorkie and a yorkie poo while I went on vacation.

Weeks prior to him getting them I let him know the yorkie was well behaved while the yorkie poo was high energy and while she has never ran from me should never be left near an open door or outside or in a car without a leash. Within 24 hours he misplaced her and never notified me or 7 family and... Read more »

Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Sep 5, 2014

Only if the dog was damaged. In Maryland, a pet is a kitchen chair. As the owner, you may sue for damage to your property. In this case, if there are vet bills because the animal got sick from being in the cold rain, you might recover that cost.

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