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Maryland Animal / Dog Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: I am themanager for a veterinary hospital. We had a client turn her pet over to us,now she wants the pet back.

Do we have to give the pet back?

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Dec 7, 2019

Why wouldn’t you? Legally, if there was a completed gift or clear abandonment of the pet, then no, the former pet owner no longer “owns” the pet. Proving the legal intent to make a completed gift or to permanently abandon all legal claims to the pet will be yours to prove in the event of a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: My neighbor is accusing us of “noise violations” because our dog barks at him (while he’s taking pictures of them).

We live on an acre of land and the dog ONLY barks when the man is creeping around our property (in bushes and driveway) he’s taking us to an animal services hearing where we’ll supposedly be charged $250 for “noise violation” He claims dogs can’t bark at all but I want the dog to... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Nov 15, 2019

Each county or local government has its own code (or not) regarding excessive barking. They are vague. For instance, Montgomery County’s reads, “An owner must not allow an animal to cause noise that is loud enough and persistent enough to disturb another person’s quiet enjoyment.“ This... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: Visiting FL family and our dog bite/attacked neighbors dog loose in familys yard...can cause legal action?

Neighbors dog left unattended in family yard and caused my dog to attack it...can they pursue legal action to pay vet bill and surgery

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Nov 10, 2019

This should be posted under Florida law, not Maryland, as the laws different. I imagine that anytime a pet owner allows their dog to run loose (the very definition of not being under control) AND off their property, then their intentional, negligent or careless acts that allowed that and subsequent... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: I was walkng my dog and he jumped on someone but I quickly pulled my dog away. Can I get sued? Can I get my dog taken?

My dog is only 2 years old and the person he jumped on threaten the sue me? Is that even possible?

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Nov 10, 2019

In theory, the person can sue you for negligence in failing to control your dog and allowing it to cause injury to him. However, it is unclear what his damages would be: was he bit? Scratched? Clothes torn? Suffered severe fright from the “attack”? How severe was your dog’s interaction? Was... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: I was walking my leashed dog, a unleashed dog ran over and charged my dogs. My dog bit the other dog am i liable
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Sep 11, 2019

Liable for what? The vet bills of the bit dog that was running off leash in violation of the leash laws? No.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: Unrestrained dogs got into fight, and then one bit my relative

Both mine and neighbors dogs were unrestrained by leashes or fences when their dog lunged at my dog, and thus, my dog bit their dog. The neighbors dog then proceeded to maul my relative and cause dog bite injuries. If all dogs in question were unrestrained, are all parties responsible for their own... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Sep 11, 2019

If your relative who was mauled did not own any of the dogs, or have responsibility for them, and did nothing to trigger the attack on themselves, then your relative can file a claim against the owner of the dog who mauled him/her. The dog owner's homeowner's insurer would ordinarily be liable to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Family Law and Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: I recently left my abusive husband and got a protection order in which I get my dog but he won't give him up

I dont know what to do. The order says I get the dog but he wont give him back and when asked in court he said he give my dog away to his cousin to foster and wouldn't say who. I asked around and none of his cousin say they have him and this rest of the family won't tell me. Everyone is acting... Read more »

Elizabeth Pugliese
Elizabeth Pugliese answered on Sep 5, 2019

You file contempt with the court and ask that he be jailed for not turning over the dog. He can get out of jail by giving you the dog. It's a court order. Even if he gave the dog away, he is still required to get the dog back and give it to you.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Q: Today, neighbor’s dog trespassed my property and chased my 3 year-old child on OUR back yard!

Today, my neighbor’s dog trespassed my property and chased my 3-year old child on OUR back yard! I rushed outside and in the last split of a second succeeded to prevent the dog attacking my child. The dog was very aggressive and after rescuing my child, I had difficulty in forcing the dog to... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Aug 14, 2019

Call your local animal control police office. It is illegal to allow a dog to run off leash.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Libel & Slander for Maryland on
Q: Can animal control take a dog that was given to me to rehome?

A man on Craigslist who lives in VA was rehoming his German Shepherd due to allergies according to the ad. He originally wanted a $300 fee but I told him I could not pay then and there and if I could I would do so at a later point as I did not even get paid until the 1st of August. He has been... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Aug 1, 2019

If he gave you the dog without requiring payment up front, with only your promise to pay in the future, then you did not commit theft or any criminal act. He may lie to the police, of course, but you have no control over that. All the facts you present support only a civil breach of contract for... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Animal / Dog Law, Car Accidents and Wrongful Death for Maryland on
Q: Someone ran over my dog... Can they sue me for car damage?

Our dog was let outside (we live on a farm), she was unleashed. She ran out into the road and a speeding truck had run her over. He did not call the police. Our dog was taken to the vet immediately and stitched up (the vet bill was over $700). She was told she had a high chance to live but... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Jul 18, 2019

I am very sorry about your dog. Sadly, some people can have no sympathy whatsoever. Unfortunately, as owners of your dog, it is your obligation to maintain it under control and not allow it to run loose across traffic. The people should submit their claim to their car insurance, but legally, they... Read more »

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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 »

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