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Dogs in the Parks - Owners' Responsibilities

A Guide to Anne Arundel County Laws governing the use and
responsibilities associated with the public visiting parks with their dogs.

 Owners' Responsibilities Brochure 

Dogs in the Parks

Assumptions and misunderstanding of County Laws surrounding dogs in County parks has prompted the creation of this guide.

The Recreation and Parks Department would like to make it perfectly clear that we encourage and welcome dog owners and their dogs in our parks as long as they abide by the laws set forth governing their behavior.

To help in understanding what is expected of dog owners when they visit a park, we have included in this guide a summary of the Animal Control Laws, some common sense reasons for keeping your dog on a leash as well as a listing of the County's dog parks and dog beaches.

The County will take appropriate actions, including fines and park suspensions if necessary, against individuals who do not heed the laws associated with this activity.


Please be a considerate and responsible pet owner.

Summary of Animal Control Laws

Article 12 Section 4-101 Public Safety Threat
An animal poses a public safety threat if the animal:

  • Inflicts severe injury to a person
  • Bites a person  
  • Kills or inflicts severe injury to a domestic animal  
  • Attacks a person  
  • Without provocation, chases or approaches a person in an attitude of attack
  • Engages in encouraged dogfighting activity or shows evidence of having been engaged in encouraged dogfighting activity
Article 12 Section 6-101 (c) Rabies Vaccination
Anyone who owns or harbors a dog 4 months of age or older must have the animal vaccinated for rabies and be able to provide proof of vaccination.
Article 12 Section 7-102 Licensing
The owner of any dog 4 months of age or older must obtain a license for the animal. License shall be securely attached to your pet at all times.
Article 12 Section 9-103 Public Nuisance
The owner of an animal may not permit the animal to be a public nuisance or to cause a public nuisance condition. Public nuisance includes the following act by an animal:
  • Molesting pedestrians 
  • Chasing vehicles 
  • Damaging property of someone other than the owner of the animal

Article 12 Section 8-101, 8-102 Animal Outdoors
For each dog confined or tied outdoors, an owner shall provide:

  • A shelter to protect the dog from the wind, snow, rain cold and sunlight
  • A chain, rope or line used to tie a dog which must be at least 10 feet in length (not allowed in parks)
  • All animals with food and water daily
Article 12 Section 9-104 Animal Disturbances Prohibited
It is unlawful for a person who owns, keeps, or has possession of an animal to disturb the quiet of a person or neighborhood
Article 12 Section 9-105 Running at Large
"At Large" means off the property of an animal's owner and not leashed and not under the control of a responsible person.
Article 12 Section 9-109 Removal of Animal Excreta
The owner of any animal shall be responsible for the removal of any excreta deposited by his or her animal on public walks, recreation areas, or private property other than his own.
Contact Anne Arundel County Animal Control at (410) 222-8900
This is a Leash

IT IS THE BEST BIRTH CONTROL DEVICE, preventing random matings and unwanted puppies. IT IS THE BEST WAY TO KEEP YOUR DOG UNINJURED, restraining your pet from darting into traffic, eliminating pain and veterinary bills. IT IS THE BEST GOOD NEIGHBOR POLICYMAKER, keeping your pet from any sort of trespassing, destructive or otherwise, on your neighbor's lands or on the city's sidewalks. It will also keep your pet from jumping up on children or adults and possibility inflicting an injury on them, as well as the discomfort or fright it might cause. IT IS THE BEST WILDLIFE AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, keeping your pet from harassing deer and other wild animals, either by itself or as part of a wild dog pack. IT IS THE BEST WAY TO DEVELOP AN AFFECTIONATE PET, as the touch of it gives your dog definite assurance that it is protected, loved, and wanted. IT IS ALSO THE BEST CRIME PREVENTION DEVICE, because, when this leash is not in use, then your pet will be at home, overseeing matters and protecting its "family." USE IT, KEEP YOUR DOG LEASHED, AS A HABIT AND AS A MATTER OF CIVIL CIVIC PRACTICE.

"The Big Three"

1. Scoop your poop!

For the health and safety of other park visitors, please bring a bag with you to the park and clean up and dispose of any waste created by your dog. IT'S THE LAW!

2. Keep your dog on a leash

For the health and safety of other park visitors, you must keep your dog under control AND on a leash at all times while you are in the park. IT'S THE LAW!

The only exception to this law is when you and your dog are in one of our off-leash dog parks or dog beaches. The County understands the need to exercise your dog and that is why the dog parks and dog beaches were created.

3.  Do not leave your dog unattended in your vehicle during hot weather  

For the health and safety of your dog, do not leave your dog unattended in your vehicle, especially during hot weather, while you go off to enjoy some other aspect of the park. Besides being cruel, IT'S THE LAW!

Bark Ranger Volunteer Program

Bark Rangers help protect the rights of dog owners and non-dog owners mutually enjoy our parks. If you would like to support the Recreation and Parks Department in overseeing the dog parks and dog beaches by educating dog park users, enforcing rules and assisting in the maintenance of the grounds please call (410) 222-7317.


Anne Arundel County, MD. 44 Calvert Street Annapolis, MD. 21401 | Telephone: (410) 222-7000 | Suggestions | Disclaimer

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