Affidavit of Complaint
A citizen that has observed the violation of an animal-related law under Article 12 may file an Affidavit of Complaint Form. The affidavit must be notarized and returned to Animal Control. A citizen receiving an Animal Control citation may elect to do one of the following:
- Pay the fine amount noted on the citation
- Submit a request to appeal the citation before the Animal Control Commission within 10 days after receiving the citation
- Pay the fine, if after the hearing, the Commission does not dismiss the citation
Both parties must appear for the hearing before the Animal Control Commission. If the complainant does not appear for the hearing, the case is dismissed. If the defendant fails to appear for the hearing, the case is forwarded to the District Court of Maryland. A request to reschedule the hearing must be made to Animal Control at least five (5) days before the hearing. Each party may request one (1) rescheduling.
Should either part wish to present videotaped evidence, a request must be submitted to Animal Control at least five (5) days prior to the hearing.
Any party needing a sign language interpreter or other special arrangements, should notify Animal Control as soon as possible so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
The Chairman of the Commission regulates the course of the hearing and rules on procedural matters and objections during the course of the hearing. The proceedings are all recorded on tape. The complainant, defendant and all witnesses are sworn in prior to testifying. The defendant has the right to cross-examine the complainant and any of the complainant’s witnesses. The defendant is then given the opportunity to present his/her defense and to rebut any statements made. The defendant may present witnesses and other evidence. Cross-examination by the complainant is then permitted.
The complainant presents his/her case first. The complainant my present witnesses and other evidence that he/she feels may be need to support his/her case.
The Commission may ask questions of any party testifying at anytime. Each party will be allowed a short closing statement in which the relevant facts may be concisely summarized.
After the conclusion of each case, the Commission may pause to deliberate and reach a finding on the matter. At the time of the hearing the Commission shall render a decision.
If the Commission finds that a violation did occur, it shall sustain the fines. In cases specifically dealing with affidavits of complaint that involve multiple charges filed by one neighbor against another, the Commission may reduce the fine to the amount that the Commission considers appropriate. If the Commission finds that a violation did not occur, it shall dismiss the fine.
After the Hearing
If a fine is sustained, the citizen has ten (10) days after official notification of the findings to pay the fine. If the fine is not paid, the case will be forwarded to the District Court of Maryland for trial.
Decisions of the Commission may be appealed to the County Board of Appeals at (410) 222-1119. The cost to file an appeal is $250.00.