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In Maryland, there’s not a state-level limit on how many dogs you can own, but there may be limits at the city or county levels where you live. There are, however, additional dog laws you’ll want to be aware of as a pet parent.
How many dogs can you legally own in Maryland? How many dogs is too many? What happens if your dog injures someone in Maryland? Does Maryland have laws against owning any certain dog breeds?
Jerry, the home and car insurance super app, has done the research to fetch answers to these questions and more. Read on to learn about more dog-related laws in Maryland that can save you a lot of money, legal headaches, and even some emotional heartache.
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Does Maryland have laws limiting how many dogs you can own?
Maybe you started out with one dog, then saw that dog could use a friend, so you got a dog for your dog. Then you saw how happy they both were, so you got one more dog for your dogs. Pretty soon, you end up with a whole pack.
As far as state law goes, how many dogs of your own is too many?
At the state level in Maryland, there’s no limit on the number of dogs you can have, but that can vary at the city or county level.
For example, in Baltimore County, owning more than three dogs would technically make your residence a kennel in the eyes of the county, which would require you to get a holding facility or kennel license. You’d also need to live within a permitted zone to get the license, which you can check via My Neighborhood, the county’s zoning map tool.
As a general rule of thumb, though, being a good pet parent means only taking in the number of dogs you can adequately care for—which would include the ability to cover unexpected medical costs for them in the case of an emergency.
It should go without saying, but as for a basic level of care, Section 10-604 of the Maryland Criminal Law Code requires that you provide your dog(s) with an adequate amount of food, water, vet care, clean air, space, and shelter or protection from the elements.
Are there any dog breeds outlawed in Maryland?
At the state level, Maryland doesn’t have any breed-specific legislation (BSL) regarding dog ownership, but laws can vary depending on the city and county.
Prince George County in Maryland has prohibited the sale and ownership of pit bulls since 1997. The county classifies pit bulls as including the following dog breeds: Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, or any dog whose primary characteristics resemble one of these breeds more than any other.
More generally, Maryland does have laws regarding “dangerous dogs,” which are defined as dogs that have:
- Severely injured or killed a person
- Determined by a municipal or county corporation’s appropriate unit to be potentially dangerous, and following that determination, bites someone, attacks unprovoked, or kills or injures a domestic animal off the owner’s property.
Once a dog has been deemed dangerous, the dog cannot legally be left unattended on the owner’s property unless it’s “confined indoors” or kept in a “securely enclosed and locked pen” or “another structure designed to restrain the dog.” A dog that’s been labeled as dangerous cannot leave the owner’s property unless it’s securely muzzled and is either leashed or otherwise restrained.
What are the leash laws in Maryland?
Even the best dog owners can find themselves outwitted by a dog who managed to escape the house or the yard.
Still, under the wrong circumstances, an off-leash dog could injure themselves or even someone else, or they could end up at the local pound, so for the safety of everyone involved, it’s best to limit the possibility of this however you can.
Maryland doesn’t have laws for at-large dogs at the state level, but cities and counties can.
For example, in Montgomery County, any dog is considered at large when it’s outside the owner’s property and not on a leash. There are some exceptions to this, of course, like running in a designated dog park. Violating the rule could lead to hefty fines—$100 the first time, and then $500for every subsequent violation.
Penalties for breaking dog laws in Maryland
If a dog owner is convicted of abusing or neglecting their animal, they could face up to 90 days’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $1,000 for the misdemeanor.
If a person violates Maryland’s dangerous dog laws outlined in Section 10-619 of the Maryland Criminal Code can be convicted of a misdemeanor, which would be subject to a fine of up to $2,500.
Additionally, a dog bite case in Maryland can have hefty liability costs. Maryland Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings, Section 3-1901 states that a dog’s owner is personally liable for injuries or death caused by the actions of their dog. There are a couple of exceptions to this, including if the injured person was attempting to trespass on the owner’s property, or if the dog was provoked before an attack.
In Prince George County, violating the pit bull ban in place could result in a fine up to $1,000 and up to six months of jail time.
Pro Tip In the event that your dog injures another person on your property, your home insurance policy’s personal liability protection can help cover legal costs.
Where to find affordable insurance in Maryland
Sure, you’ve heard the reasons that having the right home insurance matters. But have you considered why home insurance matters for your dog? Well, to name just a couple of reasons:
- Your home is theirs, too: Losing your home to fire means that both you and your dog are out of a place to live. Having the right dwelling coverage will protect you both!
- It can give you personal liability coverage: No one wants to believe their dog could injure someone or damage their property, but accidents can and do happen. The right home insurance policy can help cover legal costs if a worst-case scenario occurs. Just make sure said dog is properly listed on your policy.
With the Jerry app, you can quickly and easily search for a home or renters insurance policy that works just as well for your four-legged friends as it does for you. It takes less than a minute to start comparing customized quotes from some of the nation’s top insurance providers, all in one spot.
If you’re the owner of a dog whose breed can be labeled “dangerous,” finding a home insurance policy that will cover them can be tricky. Thankfully, Jerry’s helpful, experienced agents can help answer questions you might have about situations like this along the way.
On average, Jerry users save $800+ on car insurance alone, and you could find even more savings by bundling with your home or renters insurance.
“Jerry got me insured through Allstate with $100 of savings each month compared to my previous insurance. The customer service was excellent, and they even detected an error my previous insurer didn’t!” —Warren H.