Cecil County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
The Animal Care and Control Authority shall be responsible for implementing this chapter and enforcing its provisions, as well as Maryland state animal laws.
B. 
All fees associated with the enforcement of this chapter shall be made public and clearly advertised on the Animal Care and Control Authority's website. All such fees shall be used by the Animal Care and Control Authority for the enforcement of this chapter.
A. 
The civil and criminal provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by the Animal Care and Control Authority designated by the Cecil County government. It shall be a violation of this chapter to interfere with an Animal Care and Control Officer in the performance of his or her duties.
B. 
At the discretion of an Animal Care and Control Officer or a law enforcement officer, a citation may be issued to any person in violation of this chapter, any rules and regulations adopted pursuant hereto, or the Criminal Law Article or any other state law or regulation regarding the control or treatment of animals which local Animal Care and Control Officers are authorized to enforce. The citation shall impose upon the owner a fine as indicated by the Animal Care and Control Officer or law enforcement officer. In the event that such fine is not paid within 20 days to the Cecil County Director of Finance, said citation shall be forwarded to the District Court for disposition. Upon conviction of a violation of this chapter, or any rules and regulations adopted pursuant hereto, the defendant shall be subject to penalties as set forth in the applicable section(s). The fine assessed by the Animal Care and Control Officer, as herein provided, shall be increased or decreased by the court upon conviction as aforesaid.
C. 
The Animal Care and Control Authority, in addition to and not in substitution for any of the provisions of this chapter, shall apply to the court having jurisdiction for a mandatory injunction when the impoundment, confinement, or destruction of an animal is necessary to protect public safety, or if an animal is in need of immediate medical care and the owner is either uncooperative or unable to be contacted in a timely fashion. The owner will be liable for all associated costs.
A. 
Dogs may be seized by an Animal Care and Control Officer and confined in a humane manner at the discretion of the Animal Care and Control Officer or if the animal has been declared a public nuisance animal.
B. 
A domesticated animal that is impounded by the Animal Care and Control Authority shall be held a minimum of five business days, unless redeemed earlier, during which time:
[Amended 9-15-2015 by Bill No. 2015-18[1]]
(1) 
The animal shall be carefully inspected for a tag, registered microchip, tattoo, or other identification to ascertain the owner.
(2) 
If, by a license tag or other means, the owner of an impounded animal can be identified, the Animal Care and Control Authority shall attempt to notify the owner by telephone, mail, and by posting notice in a conspicuous location on the owner's property.
[1]
Editor's Note: This bill provided an effective date of 1-1-2016.
C. 
Any animal impounded under the provisions of this chapter shall become the property of the Animal Care and Control Authority and may be sold, placed or humanely euthanized after the latter of:
[Amended 9-15-2015 by Bill No. 2015-18[2]]
(1) 
Five business days have elapsed and attempts to notify the owner have been unsuccessful; or
(2) 
Five business days have elapsed after notice has been received by the owner.
[2]
Editor's Note: This bill provided an effective date of 1-1-2016.
D. 
At any time, the Animal Care and Control Authority may decide to humanely euthanize any animal that is seriously diseased or severely injured, or poses a physical threat to Animal Care and Control Authority staff.
E. 
All impounded animals shall, within 24 hours of impoundment, Monday through Friday, and 48 hours over weekends and holidays, be photographed and displayed on a website readily available for public access. The Internet posting shall remain until the animal is either reclaimed by its owner or is no longer in the possession of the Animal Care and Control Authority.
F. 
The fees for subsequent impoundments occurring within 12 months shall be doubled. Upon the third impoundment within 12 months, with the exception of a dog declared to be dangerous by the Animal Care and Control Authority, the animal shall become the property of the Animal Care and Control Authority.
A. 
The owner of any impounded animal, with the exception of a dangerous dog, shall be entitled to resume possession once the owner has paid all applicable fines and fees and comes into compliance with this Chapter 142, which may include, but not be limited to:
(1) 
The owner of the dog provides satisfactory evidence or assurances the dog will receive adequate care, which may include a scheduled inspection by the Animal Care and Control Authority of the premises and buildings in which the dog will be housed; and/or
(2) 
If the owner of a seized or impounded dog is someone other than the person from whom the dog was seized and impounded, the dog owner may retrieve his or her dog from impoundment upon payment of all costs of transportation, care and feeding related to the seizure and impoundment of the dog; and/or
(3) 
The owner shall come into compliance with the license provisions of §§ 142-30, 142-31, 142-32 and 142-34 and payment of the redemption fees; and/or
(4) 
Additional fines shall be levied as applicable.
B. 
A service dog owned by a person with a disability, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, may be redeemed without satisfying the requirements in this § 142-8 prior to redemption. However, the owner of such animal shall still be subject to applicable fines and fees, including but not limited to complying with the requirements of this chapter within a time frame to be determined by the Animal Care and Control Authority before release of the service dog. Failure to comply as set forth by the Animal Care and Control Authority will result in the reimpoundment of the dog, at which time the dog will not be eligible for redemption until all compliance has been met and payment of fines and fees.
C. 
If proof of current rabies vaccinations cannot be provided prior to the release from confinement, said animal(s) will receive a rabies vaccination at the Animal Care and Control Authority by a licensed veterinarian, and the Animal Care and Control Authority will be compensated by the owner for providing the vaccination.
D. 
Proof of ownership shall be established by providing a driver's license and/or veterinary records.
E. 
The owner of an impounded animal shall pay a fee as determined by the Animal Care and Control Authority. This fee shall not exceed the Animal Care and Control Authority's established rates for each day the animal has been impounded, as well as any costs, including veterinary expenses incurred by the Animal Care and Control Authority during such impoundment, regardless of whether or not the animal is reclaimed. Additionally, the owner shall pay any fines associated with the animal as set forth in the applicable section(s). The fees for subsequent impounds occurring within 12 months shall be doubled.
F. 
Violations of this section shall result in the assessment of fines as follows:
(1) 
At large: up to $500.
(2) 
Lack of restraint: up to $500.
(3) 
Violations of § 142-21, Female dogs in estrus: $200.
(4) 
No proof of current rabies vaccination: $50 per animal.
(5) 
No proof of County license, first occurrence: $50 per animal.
(6) 
No proof of County license, second occurrence: $75 per animal.
(7) 
No proof of County license, third or more occurrences: $100 per animal.
(8) 
No license tag on collar: $35 per animal.
(9) 
Impoundment fee, room and board per animal per day will be set by the Animal Care and Control Authority as advertised on its website.
A. 
A dangerous dog is one which fits the description found in § 142-12, Dangerous dogs. In addition, a dog will be declared a dangerous dog if the dog has committed one or more of the following:
(1) 
Inflicted injury on a human being without provocation on public or private property.
(2) 
Killed or inflicted severe injury on a domestic animal without provocation while off the owner's property.
(3) 
Attacked a human being without provocation.
(4) 
Has a history of attacking human beings and/or domestic animals without provocation.
B. 
The following exceptions shall apply when declaring a dog dangerous:
(1) 
No dog shall be considered dangerous or potentially dangerous if an injury was sustained by:
(a) 
A human being who, at the time the injury was sustained, was committing criminal trespass or another tort upon premises occupied by the owner of the dog, or was teasing, tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog, or was committing or attempting to commit a crime; or
(b) 
A domestic animal which, at the time the injury was sustained, was teasing, tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog; or
(c) 
A domestic animal while the dog was working as a hunting dog, herding dog, or predator control dog on the property of or under the control of its owner, and the injury was to a species or type of domestic animal appropriate to the work of the dog.
(2) 
No dog shall be considered dangerous or potentially dangerous if the dog was protecting or defending a person from an attack or assault within the immediate vicinity of the dog was located within the real property limits of its owner where there is a clearly legible, prominently posted "Beware of Dog" sign or was protecting its young.
(3) 
No military, correctional, or police-owned dogs shall be considered dangerous or potentially dangerous if the attack or injury to a person or domestic animal occurs while the dog is performing duties as expected.
C. 
Any person who has been attacked by one or more dogs, or anyone on behalf of such a person under the age of 18 years, or a person whose domestic animal has been killed or injured without provocation may file a complaint or report with the Animal Care and Control Authority. An Animal Care and Control Officer and/or a police officer shall also file such a complaint or report with the Animal Care and Control Authority. If the Animal Care and Control Authority declares that the dog is a dangerous dog as defined in this chapter, an Animal Care and Control Officer shall immediately impound the animal and notify the owner in the same manner as required under § 142-7B(2). In cases where a human is bitten, refer to the requirements under § 142-14, Rabies control, and § 142-15, Reports of animal bites.
D. 
Redemption of a dangerous dog shall only occur if the owner of the dog provides proof of ownership to the Animal Care and Control Authority within eight days of impoundment. The Animal Care and Control Authority shall set the requirements necessary for the owner to redeem the dog, if eligible to do so. If the owner complies with all of the Animal Care and Control Authority's requirements and pays all applicable fines, fees and costs, the owner may redeem the dog.
E. 
If the owner disputes the findings of the Animal Care and Control Authority, the owner may appeal the decision to the ACCAB. Appeals of decisions made by the ACCAB shall be taken to the Circuit Court of Cecil County in accordance with the Maryland Rules of Procedure. All appeals are de novo. Unless the Animal Care and Control Authority determines otherwise, the dog shall remain in the care and custody of the Animal Care and Control Authority during the appeal process. The unsuccessful party on appeal shall be responsible for the cost of the appeal and all costs associated with the care and boarding of the animal.
[Amended 9-15-2015 by Bill No. 2015-18[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This bill provided an effective date of 1-1-2016.
F. 
A dog declared to be dangerous will become the property of the Animal Care and Control Authority following a second impoundment within a twelve-month period or upon failure to comply with the requirements of the Animal Care and Control Authority.
G. 
Violations of this § 142-10 shall result in the assessment of fines as follows:
(1) 
Violations of Subsection A: up to $2,500.
(2) 
At large: up to $500.
(3) 
Unvaccinated animal bites a human or domestic animal: $500 per animal.
(4) 
Lack of restraint: up to $500.
(5) 
Violations of § 142-21, Female dogs in estrus: $200.
(6) 
No proof of current rabies vaccination: $100 per animal.
(7) 
No proof of County license, first occurrence: $50 per animal.
(8) 
No proof of County license, second occurrence: $75 per animal.
(9) 
No proof of County license, third or more occurrences: $100 per animal.
(10) 
No license tag on collar: $35 per animal.
(11) 
Impoundment fee, room and board per animal per day will be set by the Animal Care and Control Authority as advertised on its website.
A. 
The Animal Care and Control Authority shall provide animal care and control statistics and financial reports to the ACCAB on or before the 20th calendar day of the month immediately subsequent to the close of the quarter. These reports shall include, but are not limited to, a complete accounting of the following:
[Amended 9-15-2015 by Bill No. 2015-18[1]]
(1) 
The amount, date received and source of all animal control funds received by the Animal Care and Control Authority from any source, including redemption fees, all fines and license fees, as well as proof of payment made to the Cecil County government for fines and license fees collected on behalf of the County. This accounting requirement does not include private charitable donations and gifts made to the Animal Care and Control Authority. All animal control revenue received pursuant to the terms of the contract shall be clearly marked and separately calculated.
(2) 
All animal control expenses related to the duties of the Animal Care and Control Authority pursuant to the contract shall be clearly marked and separately calculated.
(3) 
The licensing, impoundment and disposition of all animals in Animal Care and Control Authority custody and with which the Animal Care and Control Authority has had contact.
(4) 
All animal complaints and incident reports, including the report of what action was taken with regard to each such complaint or incident, and the date such action was taken.
(5) 
All reports of animals bites, together with a notation as to what agency the party submitting the report was referred, and all instances when law enforcement or the County Health Department requests Animal Care and Control Authority assistance and involvement, the results in each such case and, when appropriate, prosecution with regard to each such case.
(6) 
All records concerning prosecution of any alleged violator of Chapter 142 of the Code of Cecil County, Maryland, or under laws of the State of Maryland.
[1]
Editor's Note: This bill provided an effective date of 1-1-2016.
B. 
Failure by the Animal Care and Control Authority to comply with providing complete and adequate documentation to the ACCAB, as defined in § 142-4, constitutes a breach of contract and shall be grounds for termination. Such action will also result in a penalty of a nonrefundable five-percent reduction of the County's monthly animal care and control allotment to the Animal Care and Control Authority being deducted from the next month's payment for every business day the required documentation is not provided to the ACCAB. In the event that this penalty clause is enacted, the Animal Care and Control Authority is still required to provide to the County the contracted level of animal care and control, and shall assume any costs incurred by failure on its part to provide the required documentation.
[Amended 9-15-2015 by Bill No. 2015-18[2]]
[2]
Editor's Note: This bill provided an effective date of 1-1-2016.