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Laws Simplified

  • Where can I find the laws pertaining to animals in Anne Arundel County?
    The Anne Arundel County Code: Article 12. Public Safety Title 4. Animal Control

    Animal Control
    Please refer to all Maryland State laws pertaining to Animals.
  • What does the Animal Control Commission do?
    Powers, duties, and other information about the Animal Control Commission can be found in Article 12, Title 4, Subtitle 2 of the 2005 Anne Arundel County Code.
    The commission meets to hear complaints or appeals as prescribed and authorized in Title 4 and makes recommendations to the Chief concerning the following:
    1. suspension or revocation of licenses;
    2. disposition of animals affected by an alleged violation;
    3. criminal prosecution of violations of Title 4 or other law;
    4. and other disposition of or an election of a legal remedy to correct alleged violations of Title 4 or offense or conditions considered by the Commission.
  • Who enforces the animal control laws?
    Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4-301 (2005). Enforcement of Article.
    Animal laws are enforced by the Animal Control Agency and animal control officers, or authorized representatives of animal control officers, under the supervision of the Chief.
  • Why am I receiving a citation?
    Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4-304 (2005). Authority to charge.;
    A citation is issued when an animal control officer, the authorized representative of an animal control officer, or a law enforcement officer has probable cause, based on personal knowledge, observation, or a written affidavit of complaint that you have committed or are committing a violation.
  • After receiving a citation what am I to do next?
    Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4-305 (2005). Elections available to person who receives citation.
    A person who receives an animal control citation shall elect to: 1) pay the fine provided for in the citation to the Agency before the day of trial or, 2) submit within 10 days after receiving the citation a written request for a hearing before the Commission for dismissal of the citation or, 3) pay the fine if after the hearing the Commission does not dismiss the citation.
  • If after receiving a citation I do nothing, what happens next?
    Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4-305 (2005). Elections available to person who receives citation.
    Failure to pay the fine provided on the citation, submit a written request to the Commission, or to appear for the hearing before the Commission so requested on the dates specified for the hearing shall be deemed to be an election to be tried in District Court.
  • What is the difference between an animal that is designated as Dangerous and an animal that is designated as Vicious?
    Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4-402 (2005). Public Safety Threat.
    Dangerous: The Agency may designate an animal as Dangerous if the animal poses a threat to public safety, has been determined to be dangerous by another jurisdiction, or has engaged in documented behavior that is a public safety threat in another jurisdiction.
    Vicious: The Agency may designate an animal as Vicious if the animal kills or inflicts severe injury to a person or domesticated animal, if the animal has been determined to be dangerous (from a prior incident) and has engaged in a second incident determined to be a threat to public safety by the Agency, or if the animal has been determined Vicious by another jurisdiction.
  • If my animal is determined to be Dangerous or Vicious what happens next?
    Dangerous: Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4-403 (2005). Dangerous Animals, orders.
    Upon a determination that an animal is dangerous the Agency will issue an order that explains the reasons for the determination and directs the owner to comply with conditions for maintaining the animal on the owner’s property. Failure to comply with the conditions may result in temporary or permanent impoundment. (Note: the order may be appealed.)
    Vicious: Anne Arundel County Code §§ 12-4-404, 405 Vicious animals. Keeping of vicious animals prohibited.
    No person may keep an animal that had been designated as vicious. A vicious animal will be euthanized.
  • When can an animal be impounded?
    Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4-501 (2005). Authority to Impound.
    Animal Control may impound an animal if:
    • A domesticated animal is found running at large For example, a dog or cat is found without a license affixed to its collar
    • The animal’s health constitutes an immediate and substantial danger to persons or property or poses a threat to public safety
    • The animal has been determined to be dangerous or vicious
    • The animal is placed at risk by its health or environment 
    • The animal is abandoned or unwanted
    • The animal’s owner fails to respond to a violation notice
  • May an officer enter onto private property?
    Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4-502 (2005). Right of entry.
    An animal control officer may enter onto private property to impound an animal on determination that the health or actions of the animal constitute an immediate and substantial danger to persons or property.
  • How do I get my impounded animal back?
    Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4-504 (2005). Redemption of impounded animals.
    An owner may redeem an impounded animal by:
    (1) complying with the rabies vaccination and licensing provisions of Title 4
    (2) paying all redemption fees;
    (3) paying any outstanding fines unless adjudication has been requested;
    (4) providing satisfactory proof of ownership; and
    (5) complying with all conditions for return of the animal
  • What are the fees to reclaim my animal?
    Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4-504 (2005). Redemption of impounded animals.
    Redemption fees include a $5 shelter fee for each day that the animal is held at the animal control facility, a $25 impoundment charge, and the cost of any required veterinary services.
    Visit our website at: or contact Animal Control at (410) 222-8900 for more information.
  • What If I cannot find my rabies vaccination certificate?
    Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4-601 (2005). Vaccination of dogs and cats required.
    On request of the Agency, a person owning or keeping a dog or cat in the County shall promptly exhibit a currently valid rabies vaccination certificate indicating that the dog or cat has been vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian or approved governmental agency. Failure to show your animal has been vaccinated may lead to a written citation being issued and an order requiring the vaccination within a seven-day period.
    If you cannot locate your certificate, contact your rabies vaccination provider immediately.
  • What happens if my animal bites someone?
    Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4-602 (2005). Required Reports – In general.
    The incident must be reported immediately to the Police Department. You will be contacted by the Health Department or Animal Control with conditions to follow.
  • My animal is suspected of having been exposed to rabies. What happens now?
    Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4-608 (2005). Quarantine – Animal suspected of being exposed to rabies.
    Rabies is spread through direct contact (i.e. bites and scratches) from a warm blooded animal that is infected with rabies. If you suspect your animal may have been exposed to rabies contact Animal Control at (410) 222-8900. If your animal bites someone, you must contact the Police Department.
  • Do my animals need to be licensed in Anne Arundel County?
    Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4- 702 (2005). Dog and cat licenses.
    Yes. Each dog and cat over 6 months of age must be licensed and have a current rabies vaccination certificate. Licenses can be renewed on a 1 or 3 year basis, depending on the rabies vaccine schedule your animal is on. Rabies information must be updated for each license renewal.
  • Is there a fee to license my cat and/or dog?
    Anne Arundel County Code §12-4-702 (2005). Dog and cat licenses.
    Yes. Please refer to fee schedule in the Anne Arundel County Code.
    Note: Licenses for spayed and neutered pets are offered at a lower cost.
    Senior (65 and older) discounts apply.
    There is an annual special license fee for animals that have been determined to be Dangerous or Potentially Dangerous Animals.
  • What are the Dog fancier and Commercial Kennel license fees?
    Anne Arundel County Code §12-4-702 (2005). Dog and cat licenses.
    Please refer to the fee schedule in the Anne Arundel County Code §12-4-702 or visit
  • What are the requirements for caring for an outdoor dog?
    Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4-801 (2005). Animals Outdoors.
    Shelter required for dogs outdoors. For each dog confined or tied outdoors, an owner shall provide accessible shelter to protect the dog from the wind, snow, rain, heat, cold, and sunlight that:
    (1) has a floor, roof, and four walls, one of which contains a doorway;
    (2) is of sufficient size to allow its occupant to stand up, lie down, and turn around without touching the sides or top; and
    (3) is equipped with a resting board or other bedding.
    Cleanliness required for dog shelters. The dog shelter and surrounding areas shall be kept clean and sanitary. Garbage, junk, fecal matter, or similar matter may not be placed or allowed to remain in the shelter or surrounding areas.
    Chains, ropes, and lines for dogs outdoors. If a chain, rope, or line is used to tie a dog, the chain, rope, or line shall be of sufficient length to allow the dog to exercise, at least 10 feet long, and affixed so that the dog will not be endangered.
  • Can I keep wild animals, exotic animals and vicious animals?
    Anne Arundel County Code §12-4-902 (2005). Keeping of wild animals, exotic animals, and vicious animals prohibited.
    A person may not keep or permit to be kept on the person's premises any wild animal, exotic animal, or vicious animal as a pet or for display or exhibition purposes, whether gratuitously or for a fee. Small animals such as hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, mice, rats, other small rodents, rabbits, ferrets, birds, fish, and nonpoisonous amphibians and reptiles are not considered wild animals or exotic animals. The keeping of skunks, raccoons and opossums is illegal.
    The State of Maryland also regulates which animals may be owned as a pet. Please refer to the Annotated Code of Maryland §10-621 for more information.
  • When is an animal considered a public nuisance?
    Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4-101(34)(35) (2005).
    “Public nuisance” means an act by an animal that substantially interferes with the rights of citizens to enjoyment of life or property and that unreasonably annoys humans, endangers the life or health of other animals or human beings, or offends human senses, including the molesting of pedestrians, the chasing of vehicles, the damaging of property of someone other than the owner of the animal, and continually and repeatedly howling, barking, whining, or otherwise making noise that causes unreasonable annoyance, disturbance, or discomfort to neighbors or others in close proximity to the premises where a person keeps an animal.
    “Public nuisance condition” means an unsanitary, dangerous, or offensive condition caused by the extreme size or number of animals kept on any premises or by the inadequacy of facilities or a continuing or periodically recurring public nuisance.
    Creating a public nuisance or public nuisance condition is prohibited by Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4-903 (2005).
  • What do I do if I see an animal running at large (unleashed, off of its property)?
    Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4-905 (2005). Animals running at large prohibited.
    You must report the animal at large to Animal Control by calling (410) 222-8900
  • I found a dog or cat, what do I do?
    Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4-907 (2005). Stray dogs and cats to be surrendered.
    You must take the animal to Animal Control or contact Animal Control at (410) 222-8900 within 24 hours, as required by law.
  • What do I do when my animal is in heat?
    Anne Arundel County Code §12-4-908 (2005). Dog or cat in heat.
    Whenever a female dog or female cat is in the estrus cycle, the owner of the animal shall prevent its contact with roaming dogs or cats, or the attraction of dogs or cats to the premises in which the female dog or female cat is kept. A female dog or female cat in the estrus cycle shall be confined in a building or secure enclosure in a manner that the animal cannot come into contact with a male dog or male cat.
    To see a list of low cost spay / neuter services in the county visit:
  • What do I do with my pet when it dies?
    Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4-910 (2005). Disposal of animal carcasses and sick animals.
    Pets must be disposed of promptly by cremation, burial or other sanitary means. A dead animal may not be left or buried on public property or on the property of another person. On request, the Agency will pick up dead dogs, cats, and other small domestic animals for disposal for a fee that will not exceed the actual cost of the disposal.
  • I found a dead animal, what do I do?
    Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4-910 (2005). Disposal of animal carcasses and sick animals. 
    Contact Animal Control at (410) 222-8900 to request assistance with a found dead animal.
  • I found a domesticated sick/injured animal, what do I do?
    Anne Arundel County Code § 12-4-910 (2005). Disposal of animal carcasses and sick animals.
    Contact Animal Control at (410) 222-8900 to request assistance with a sick or injured animal found on public property.
  • What If my question is not answered on this website?
    You can contact or visit the Animal Control Office located at 411 Maxwell Frye Road, Millersville, MD 21108 or call (410) 222-8900 during the hours of operation noted on this website.
    Animal Control: (410) 222-8900
    Address: 411 Maxwell Frye Road, Millersville, MD 21108
    Hours of Operation:
    Animal Viewing and Administrative Hours: 
    Tuesday10 a.m. - 3 p.m. 
    Wednesday10 a.m. - 6 p.m. 
    Thursday10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
    Friday10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
    Saturday10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
    Field Service Hours: 
    Monday - Friday8 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. 
    Saturday10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
    Emergency Field Service24 hours
    NOTE: All animal related emergencies call 911.
    After hours emergency calls to (410) 222-8900 will be connected to the Anne Arundel County Police Department 
    Rabies Clinic:
    Due to the significant increase in positive rabies cases experienced in Anne Arundel County, Animal Control is doing its part to help protect all Anne Arundel County pets from the deadly rabies virus. Animal Control holds weekly low cost rabies clinics. Keep your pet continuously vaccinated against rabies. It's the LAW!

    Microchip Clinics for Pets:
    One way to reunite pets with their owners in a more timely fashion, and with minimal expense to the county and its citizens, is to microchip animals.

    Microchipping serves many purposes: It provides an opportunity to reunite pets and owners quickly. Animal Control Officers scan for microchips. If a microchip is located and registered, the owner information can be found. Officers could then return the animal to the owner rather than transporting the animal to the facility.

    • In addition to quickly reuniting animals and owners, the ability to identify animals by microchip will also assist Animal Control by saving space, food, time, and effort that are often expended on animals being held in the facility. 
    • Weather related incidents have demonstrated that animals can be quickly separated from their homes and owners and, often times, at a separation of great distances. Microchipping has helped in some of those scenarios, such as during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, by identifying animals and their owners quickly and reuniting them safely with minimal cost, time and effort. 

    Note: The County holds microchip and rabies clinics at the same time.