Maryland Animal / Dog Law Questions & Answers

Q: What is my liability?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Answered on Jan 4, 2019
Mark Oakley's answer
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 running loose, as opposed to your dog being put down. However, a finding of aggressive behavior once can be used to put the dog down should a second aggressive incident be charged and found to have...

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

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law and Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Answered on Dec 11, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
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.

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

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Answered on Dec 8, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
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 pick up the dog within a reasonable time frame, then you will deem the dog abandoned and keep him. That may or may not work. The longer you have uninterrupted possession the stronger your argument...

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

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Answered on Oct 4, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
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 abandoned dog. The dog owner sounds like someone who should not own a dog, and hopefully the dog has found a more responsible owner.

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

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Answered on Aug 23, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
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 gift of the dog to him, thereby transferring ownership, or you abandoned the dog and relinquished your right to ownership. Proving that a completed gift was made, or that you legally abandoned your...

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

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Answered on Aug 22, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
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.

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

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Answered on Aug 22, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
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 proof requirements. Plus, dogs will be dogs, so they don’t just put down dogs based on normal behavior under the circumstances. That said, you may face a fine for not maintaining control of your dog or...

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?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Answered on Jun 1, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
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.

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

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Answered on Feb 17, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
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 doesn’t have rabies. As the owner you can be fined, and there can be a finding of a “dangerous dog” so you may want to contest that finding. The reason is that a second bite incident can be...

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

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Answered on Feb 15, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
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 from the legal owner if animal abuse is established, but that will involve either a voluntary relinquishment of the animal by the owner or an involuntary legal proceeding to terminate ownership rights...

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

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Personal Injury for Maryland on
Answered on Aug 4, 2017
David Alan Wolf's answer
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 homeowner's insurance as to coverage in case a claim is filed over this incident or another incident in the future regarding your dog. Many homeowner's insurance policies these days exclude injuries...

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

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Criminal Law for Maryland on
Answered on Jul 18, 2017
Thomas Joseph Maronick Jr's answer
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 whether to take the case.

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

2 Answers | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Medical Malpractice for Maryland on
Answered on Jan 20, 2017
Paul D'Amore's answer
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 medical malpractice attorney. Most experienced medical malpractice attorneys work on contingency; meaning it costs you nothing unless a monetary recovery is made in your favor. I would be happy to...

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

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Answered on Oct 22, 2016
Bennett James Wills' answer
Probably can't get your dog back. But your question is vague. Consult with a local attorney.

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.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Answered on Apr 20, 2016
Ronald V. Miller Jr.'s answer
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.

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

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Family Law for Maryland on
Answered on Oct 4, 2015
Robert Jason De Groot's answer
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 have done or said.

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.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Answered on Sep 5, 2014
Thomas C. Valkenet's answer
Only if the dog was damaged. In Maryland, a pet is property....like 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.

Q: Does my neighbor have a case ?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland on
Answered on Nov 21, 2012
Paula McGill's answer
If the neighbor sues, you need to file a counterclaim. Anyone can sue. You will need your neighbors as witnesses to the event.

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