For complete information on County animal laws and fines, see Article 12 of the County Code.
Below is a list of common fines that you may receive in Baltimore County for animal-related incidents. Each fine is per incident, future incidents may incur a larger fine/a mandatory hearing with the Animal Hearing Board in Towson.
|Abandonment||It is violation of the law to abandon pets you cannot keep. If you are unable to keep your pet, call Animal Control for assistance.|
Inadequate provision of food or water, unsanitary conditions, animal combat and neglect are all considered animal cruelty.
|Animals "at Large"||An owner of an animal may not allow the animal to be an animal at large|
|Animals "in Heat"|
Owners of female cats and dogs “in heat” must not leave their pets outside unattended. Although spaying female or neutering male animals is not required, it is highly recommended.
It is a violation of the law to allow dogs to bark excessively.
If an animal bites someone, the owner and the bite victim must report the injury to the Police Department. You are responsible if your pet bites or injures another person or animal, or behaves in a menacing or dangerous way.
Defined as an animal that
|Leashes||When off the owner’s property, all owned dogs and cats must be on a leash. If tethered outside, tethers must have swivels. Chain collars may not be used, except when training.|
|All dogs and cats must be licensed at four months of age. New pets and those moving into Baltimore County must be licensed within 30 days.|
Fine: Up to $500
|Defined as those that attacks or injure a domestic animal or exhibit aggressive or dangerous behavior and is not adequately confined or restrained|
Defined as an animal that:
|All dogs and cats four months of age must be vaccinated against rabies.|
|Selling or Giving Away Animals||Any puppy or kitten sold or given away must be at least eight weeks old. Anyone selling or giving away a puppy, kitten, dog or cat must provide a health certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian, along with a statement indicating date of sale or transfer of animal, description of animal and immunizations given. The name, address and phone number of the buyer and seller must also be provided.|
|Shelter||All animals must be provided shelter for protection from wind, snow, rain, cold and the sun, in addition to adequate daily food and water in clean, untippable bowls.|
|A person who picks up a stray animal shall turn the animal over to the Animal Services Division within 24 hours of picking the animal up.|
|The owner of an animal shall remove excreta deposited by the animal on public byways, recreational areas, or private property.|
Individuals may check the status of an existing animal complaint, or report abuse or submit complaints describing what they believe to be a violation of the County’s animal laws.
|Contact Information||Type of Report/Complaint|
|Baltimore County Police Department|
Animal abuse is a crime. If you witness a person inflicting harm or injury on an animal call 911.
Contact Animal Services to report the following:
To report rabies concerns.
About the Affidavit of Complaint Process
An affidavit is written legal testimony from a witness to an incident that has occurred. Since citations are issued based on the information received by the accuser, it is important that this information includes a vivid firsthand account, which is then locked into writing with a signature affirming the truth of the information, and acknowledged by a notary to prove that the witness is the person signing the statement. Due process for the accused requires the right to confront their accuser in an on-the-record hearing, to present a defense to the charges, and to confront or question, the factual narrative presented by their accuser.
Affidavits of complaint are public information, therefore, anyone may review any complaint filed. If you've already filed a complaint and have been directed to complete the Affidavit of Complaint form, follow the instructions below to complete and submit the form.
Note for Incidents Involving Children: The guardian or parent of a child under 18 years of age will need to have the child provide their account of the incident. Please be prepared to bring your child/other witnesses to testify at a hearing if the defendant appeals the violation. School attendance is not a valid reason for a central witness to be unavailable.
Keep a copy of the form for your records. It is important that you complete all sections of the form as instructed to eliminate delay in service.
- Please print legibly using blue or black ink.
- The Affidavit of Complaint must contain a written statement of the writer’s personal experiences with an animal or animal owner, including events witnessed with the eyes/ears of the writer. A person may not complete an Affidavit of Complaint for another person (unless the witness is under 18 years of age).
- The full name and address of the complainant (person completing the form) must be provided.
- If known, please list the address, name and phone number of the animal owner under “defendant”. The only required information is the defendant’s address. The owner information is not a requirement and can be obtained at a later date by Animal Services.
- The specific location where the violation occurred must be provided. Please give the address or closest intersection.
- Please provide a detailed description of the animal involved in the incident, including color, size and breed if known. If you know the name of the animal, list it.
- The exact date and approximate time of violation must be included. General descriptions of time such as "morning, afternoon, evening, all day, constantly” are not acceptable.
- The Affidavit must contain a narrative of the incident that occurred. Include as much detail as possible. If additional space is needed, attach another sheet of paper. Do not write on the back of the form. Be advised that inaccuracy of any details in your affidavit may negatively impact the credibility of the entire document.
- You may include pictures regarding the incidents detailed in you affidavit, provided you are willing to testify that you took the pictures and they have not been altered. Video and audio recordings will not be accepted, but still shots of frames from a video may be printed and will be accepted as photographs.
- You must sign the form in the presence of a notary. Any and all attachments must also be notarized.
Submit your notarized affidavit to Baltimore County Animal Services by mail or in person:
Baltimore County Animal Services
13800 Manor Road
Baldwin, Maryland 21013
BCAS will review the Affidavit of Complaint to determine whether violations of Article 12 have occurred, and what civil penalties or other remedies are appropriate. Animal Services, at its sole discretion, may issue a citation for each violation.
If a citation has been issued, the cited party may either:
- Pay the fine within five days.
- Request an appeal hearing in writing within five days. Both parties will be scheduled to appear and testify before the Animal Hearing Board. In order for the Board to uphold the charges in the citation and levy a fine, the complainant must appear.
The city party may also obtain the name and address of the complainant (in some cases, if available) by written request. Requests for detailed complaint information may be submitted by the complainant or respondent via email or mail to BCAS.
Instructions are also printed on the citations.
When an appeal is made, a hearing before the Animal Hearing Board will be scheduled. The complainant will receive notification of a scheduled hearing via mail.
- As the complainant—You are required to attend any and all hearings. The complainant’s failure to appear may result in the citation being dismissed. Complainants may not appeal dismissals.
- As the defendant—You are required to attend any and all hearings. The defendant’s failure to appear may result in the citation being upheld without possibility of appeal.