Animal Control and Anti-Cruelty Laws

Montgomery County Code - Chapter 5


Summary of Anti-Cruelty Conditions for Dogs and Other Animals - Executive Regulation 17-17


Anti-Cruelty Laws

Overdrive, overload, torture, or cruelly beat or cruelly kill an animal ($500-$5000 fine and up to 3 years imprisonment)

Failing to provide proper vet care  ($500-$1000 fine and 90 days imprisonment)

Failing to provide proper food or water ($500-$1000 fine and 90 days imprisonment)

Failing to provide proper space for the type and number of animals housed ($500-$1000 fine and 90 days imprisonment) 

Failing to provide proper shelter ($500-$1000 fine and 90 days imprisonment)

Leaving a dog unattended in a car ($500 fine)
Read more information on leaving pets in vehicles. 

Dog/cock fighting and activities related to ($2500-$5000 fine and up to 3 years imprisonment)

Violation of the Anti-Cruelty Conditions for Dogs and Other Pets ($500 fine)

Public Nuisance Laws

Female animal in heat (Montgomery County Code, Sec. 5-203(a)(4)) – An owner must not allow a female dog or cat in heat to be outside a building or other secure enclosure that prevents attraction of other animals.

Unsanitary conditions – (Montgomery County Code, Sec. 5-203(a)(5)) – An owner must not allow an animal to cause an unsanitary, dangerous or offensive condition because of the size or number of animals kept in a single location or because a facility is not appropriate for the animal or properly maintained.

Aviaries -(Montgomery County Code, Sec. 5-203(a)(8)) - An owner must not allow a domestic or exotic bird, including a homing pigeon, to be in an aviary within 100 feet of any structure (other than the owner's home) used for human habitation or work. This does not apply to a bird inside the owner’s dwelling, in a pet shop, or in an agricultural area.

Animal Noise (Montgomery County Code, Sec. 5-203(a)(6)) - 

An owner must not allow an animal to cause noise that is loud enough and persistent enough to disturb another person’s quiet enjoyment. ($100 fine)

Dogs on School Grounds and Recreation Areas (Montgomery County Code, Sec. 5-203(a)(7)) -

An owner must not allow a dog to be on public school grounds on a day when school is in session, or in a public recreation area during an organized activity, unless the dog is controlled by a leash or similar restraining device. This does not apply if the dog is participating in an activity such as obedience or agility training if the owner or sponsor of the activity has permission from the agency controlling the school or recreation area. ($500 fine)

Other Pet Ownership Laws

Vaccination and licensing requirements (Montgomery County Code, Sec. 5-203(a)(9)) - 

All dogs and cats 4 months of age or older must have a current rabies vaccination and a County license. The rabies tag provided by your veterinarian is NOT a County license — the license must be purchased separately. ($500 fine for vaccination law violation) ($100 fine for licensing law violation)

Read more about how to license your pet.

Animal Defecation (“pooper scooper” law) (Montgomery County Code, Sec. 5-203(a)(2)) - 

An owner must not allow an animal to damage or defecate on property outside of the owner’s property. An animal may defecate on public property or the common area of property in which the owner shares an interest if the owner immediately removes and disposes of the feces by a sanitary method approved by the Director. Feces may be picked up in a plastic bag. If this bag is placed inside another plastic bag, it may be put out for disposal in your normal household trash. ($100 fine)

Animal Trespass (Montgomery County Code, Sec. 5-203(a)(3)) - 

An owner must not allow an animal to enter private property without the property owner’s permission. ($100 fine)

At Large - 

Any dog is at large if it is outside the owner’s premises and not leashed, unless it is a service dog, is in a dog exercise area designated by the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, or is participating in an approved activity.

Any other animal (i.e. unaltered cat, livestock animal) is at large if it is outside the owner’s premises and not leashed or immediately responsive to verbal or non-verbal direction.

The common area of a homeowner’s association, condominium or cooperative is not the owner’s premises.

($100 fine for first offense; $500 fine for each subsequent violation)

Unwanted Contact -

The pet owner must prevent unwelcome or unsolicited threatening physical contact or close proximity to a person or a domestic animal that occurs outside the owner’s property that may cause alarm in a reasonable person, such as biting, chasing, tracking, inhibiting movement, or jumping. ($500 fine)

Dangerous Animals (Montgomery County Code, Sec. 5-202) - 
An animal is deemed to be potentially dangerous if it has inflicted a bite on a person either on public or private real property or has killed or inflicted severe injury to a domestic animal when not on the owner’s property or has attacked without provocation. An animal which has been declared to be potentially dangerous and subsequently engages in one of these behaviors again will then be deemed to be dangerous. 

A person may not possess any wild animal or any animal that has been declared to be dangerous.

An animal is deemed to be dangerous if it has without provocation killed or inflicted severe injury on a person; if it poses a physical threat to humans because of specific training or demonstrated behavior; or if its bite is poisonous.

Animals which have been deemed to be dangerous must be kept confined in a secure enclosure to prevent direct contact with humans or other animals, and must be leashed and muzzled, and under the control of a person at least 18 years old who is physically able to restrain the animal any time it is removed from the owner’s property. (Penalty for failing to keep a dangerous animal confined — $500 – $2500 and/or impoundment of the animal.)

Redemption Fees (Montgomery County Code, Sec. 5-304.02.01) - 
The following redemption fees for animals impounded at the Montgomery County Animal Shelter are adopted under Section 5-21(a), Redemption and Disposition Generally; Article III, Animal Control Officer; Chapter 5; Animal Control, Montgomery County Code 1984, as amended:

Impoundment Fee:
  • 1st Offense - $25
  • 2nd Offense - $50
  • 3rd Offense (and thereafter) - $75

Daily Boarding Fee:
  • Cats - $5
  • Dogs - $10
  • Other small mammals (rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, gerbils and etc.), reptiles, and domestic birds - $5
  • Small Livestock and Poultry (lots of 5) - $15
  • Large Livestock and Horses (over 150 lbs.) - $25

Daily Boarding Fee (Special Needs** or Quarantine):
  • Cats - $10
  • Dogs - $15
**(includes animals requiring specialized care for medical or behavior reasons.)