Full Ordinance Name:  The County Code. Prince George's County, Maryland. Subtitle 3. Animal Control. Division 6. Other Rules, Regulations, and Standards. § 3-185.01 Pit Bull Terriers.

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Primary Citation:  PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, MD., §§ 3-101, 3-116.01, 3-185.01 (1997) Date Adopted:  1997 Jurisdiction Level:  Maryland Last Checked (local ordinances are no longer checked and are kept only for archival and example purposes):  June, 2012

Prince George's County, Maryland prohibits owning or keeping a Pit Bull Terrier with exceptions. If the person owned the dog prior to November 1, 1996, then s/he may continue to keep it if s/he complies with certain conditions, such as registering it with the Administrator of Animal Control and keeping an ID tag on the dog and keeping the dog inside or on a secure leash. Show dogs are allowed into the county on a temporary basis. Dogs that have been trained for security, search and rescue, or for police or fire services are exempt.  A violation of this ordinance may result in a fine of up to $1,000 or be sentenced to up to 6 months in prison. In addition, if a Pit Bull injures or kills a person or a domestic animal without provocation, then it will be destroyed.

Sec. 3-101 . Definitions.

Sec. 3-116.01 . Criminal penalties; violations.

Sec. 3-185.01 . Pit Bull Terriers.


Sec. 3-101. Definitions [edited for animal/BSL related provisions].

(a)    As used in and for the purposes of this Subtitle, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings assigned to them herein:


(8) Administrator of animal control or Administrator shall mean that person designated by the Director of the Department of Environmental Resources to administer the operations of the animal control program or his designee.


(11) Animal shall mean every nonhuman species of animal, both domesticated and wild, including, but not limited to, dogs, cats, ferrets, livestock, and fowl.


(13) Animal Control program shall mean that unit within the Department of Environmental Resources designated by the Director and authorized by this Subtitle to administer and enforce the provisions of this Subtitle under the direction of the Administrator of Animal Control.

(14) Animal Control Facility shall mean any facility operated by or under contract with Prince George's County, Maryland, for the care, confinement, detention, or euthanasia or other disposition of animals pursuant to the provisions of this Subtitle.

(15) Animal Control Officer shall mean any person designated as such by the Administrator of Animal Control or his authorized representative for the purpose of enforcing this Subtitle.


(38) Dog shall mean any member of the domesticated canine species, male or female.


(50) Keeping or harboring shall mean the act of, or the permitting or sufferance by, an owner or occupant of real property either of feeding or sheltering any domesticated animal on the premises of the occupant or owner thereof.

(51) Kennel shall mean an establishment or a private individual engaged in the breeding of dogs or cats, or the boarding, buying, grooming, letting for hire, training for a fee, or selling of dogs or cats. An animal hospital maintained by a licensed veterinarian as part of the practice of veterinary medicine for the treatment of animals shall not be considered a commercial kennel, except to the extent that it engages in the boarding of well dogs or cats. The ownership of dogs or cats which are part of a household or are maintained adjoining a private residence and are kept for hunting, practice tracking, or for exhibiting in dog or cat shows or field or obedience trials, and the sale of no more than one (1) litter per year shall not constitute the operation of a kennel. Obedience training of dogs or cats wherein the dogs or cats are not housed, boarded, or kenneled overnight shall not be considered a kennel if the operation is limited to the hours of 8:00 A.M. to 12:00 Midnight. The term "kennel" shall include a facility maintained solely for the keeping of foxhounds used for fox chasing. (See Cattery)


(54) Nonbite contact shall mean a scratch or contamination of an abrasion, open wound, or mucous membrane with saliva or other potentially infectious material.

(55) Obedience training shall mean the concurrent training of a dog and its owner to prepare the dog as a companion to humankind and to prepare the dog's master for responsible control of the dog.

(56) Owned animal shall mean an animal for which an owner has been identified; or that is surrendered to Prince George's County by a person proving ownership; or one that is impounded by proper authority and held at the Animal Control Facility pending disposition of its case; or, one for which there are indications that the animal has an owner. Such indicators include an animal license tag, tattoo, microchip implant, ear tag, normally acceptable livestock identification, or other condition that would lead a person to reasonably believe that the animal has a current owner and may be lost.

(57) Owner shall mean any person who:

(A)    Has a right of property in an animal;

(B)    Keeps or harbors an animal;

(C)    Has an animal in his or her care;

(D)    Acts as a temporary or permanent custodian of an animal;

(E)    Exercises control over a particular animal on a regular basis; or

(F)    The parent(s) or guardian(s) of a minor shall be deemed to be the owner of an animal owned or in the possession and control of the minor child for purposes of this Subtitle and shall be liable for all damages caused by the animal.

(58) Permit shall mean, when used as a verb, human conduct in relation to an owned animal which is intentional, deliberate, careless, inadvertent, or negligent.

(59) Pet shall mean a domesticated animal kept for pleasure rather than utility. Pets include, but are not limited to, dogs, cats, birds, fish, reptiles, and other animals, which, by habit or training, live in association with man.


(62) Pit Bull Terrier shall mean any and all of the following dogs:

(A) Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed of dogs;

(B) American Staffordshire Terrier breed of dogs;

(C) American Pit Bull Terrier breed of dogs;

(D) Dogs which have the appearance of being predominantly of the breed of dogs known as Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, or American Pit Bull Terrier. Predominantly shall mean that the dog exhibits the physical characteristics of a Pit Bull Terrier more than of any other breed of dog;

(E)    Dogs which have been registered at any time as a Pit Bull Terrier.


(66) Public nuisance animal shall mean any animal which unreasonably (1) annoys humans, (2) endangers the life or health of other animals or persons, or (3) gives offense to human senses; or which substantially interferes with the rights of the citizens, other than its owner, to enjoyment of life or property. The term "public nuisance animal" shall mean and include, but is not limited to, any animal which:

(A)    Is repeatedly found at large; or

(B)    Damages the property of anyone other than its owner; or

(C)    Molests or intimidates pedestrians or passersby; or

(D)    Chases vehicles; or

(E)    Excessively makes disturbing noises (including, but not limited to, continued and repeated howling, barking, whining, or other utterances) causing unreasonable annoyance, disturbance, or discomfort to neighbors or others in close proximity to the premises where the animal is kept or harbored; or

(F)    Causes fouling of the air by odor and causing thereby unreasonable annoyance or discomfort to neighbors or others in close proximity to the premises where the animal is kept or harbored; or

(G)    Causes unsanitary conditions in enclosures or surroundings where the animal is kept or harbored; or

(H) By virtue of the number or types of animals maintained, is offensive or dangerous to the public health, safety, or welfare; or

(I)    Attacks other domestic animals; or

(J)    Has been found by the Commission for Animal Control, after notice to its owner and a hearing, to be a public nuisance animal by virtue of being a menace to the public health, welfare, or safety.

(67) Public nuisance condition shall mean an unsanitary, dangerous, or offensive condition occurring on any premises or animal holding facility caused by the size, number, or types of animals maintained, kept, or harbored, or due to the inadequacy of the facilities, or by reason of the manner or method of holding, confining, restraining, boarding, or training animals. A public nuisance condition shall be deemed to exist on any premises or animal holding facility in which any animal is maintained, kept, or harbored under conditions which constitute cruelty to such animals, or where the animal maintained, kept, or harbored is a public nuisance animal.

(68) Rescue/breed rescue organization community adoption partners shall mean a group or individual, recognized by the County as capable of meeting standards for fostering animals, authorized to receive and place animals from the Animal Control Facility which would otherwise by euthanized or which require special attention.


(73) Strict isolation shall mean the owner of an animal under an order for strict isolation assures that:

(A)    The animal is confined in a double-door, escape-proof enclosure;

(B)    The animal is not removed from the enclosure at any time;

(C) Human contact with the animal is restricted to one (1) adult caring for the
animal or is not allowed at all; and

(D) The enclosure is constructed in a manner to ensure that contact with other
animals is not possible.


(76) Vicious animal shall mean any animal which attacks, bites, or injures human beings or domesticated animals without adequate provocation, or which, because of temperament, conditioning, or training, has a known propensity to attack, bite, or injure human beings or domesticated animals. An animal which has on one or more occasions caused significant injury to person or domesticated animals may be deemed to be a vicious animal.


(CB-36-1985; CB-119-1987; CB-100-1991; CB-63-1994; CB-106-1996; CB-109-1997; CB-26-2001)


Sec. 3-116.01. Criminal penalties; violations.

(a)    Any person found to have violated any provision of Section 3-185.01 shall be fined up to $1,000.00 or may be sentenced to not more than six (6) months of imprisonment.

(b) A Pit Bull that causes injury to or kills a human being or a domestic animal without provocation shall be humanely destroyed, and the owner of such dog shall be fined up to $1,000.00 or may be sentenced to not more than six (6) months of imprisonment.

(c) For violation of Section 3-115(g), the criminal penalty shall be up to One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) and/or imprisonment for up to ninety (90) days.

(d)    For violation of Section 3-135, the criminal penalty shall be up to Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) and/or imprisonment for up to ninety (90) days.

(e)    For violation of Section 3-180(b)(4) or Section 3-180(c), the criminal penalty shall be One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) and/or imprisonment for up to six (6) months. (CB-106-1996; CB-26-2001)


Sec. 3-185.01. Pit Bull Terriers.

(a)    Except as provided below, no person shall own, keep, or harbor a Pit Bull Terrier within the County.

(b)    Any person owning a Pit Bull Terrier prior to November 1, 1996, may continue to harbor the animal on his premises under the following conditions:

(1)    The animal shall be registered by the Administrator of Animal Control, and must at all times wear a tag provided by the Administrator which will readily identify it as a registered Pit Bull Terrier.

(2)    The owner shall pay an annual fee of $50.00 to the Administrator of Animal Control to maintain such animals and support enforcement.

(3)    The owner shall maintain the dog within a building or a secure kennel at all times. Whenever the dog is removed from the building or kennel it shall be secured by an unbreakable or unseverable leash and maintained under the control of an adult.

(c)    A person may temporarily hold a Pit Bull Terrier in the County for the purpose of showing the dog in a place of public exhibition, contest, or show sponsored by a dog club, association, or similar organization. The sponsor of the exhibition or show must obtain written permission from the Director and must provide protective measures adequate to prevent the dog from escaping or injuring the public. The dog shall at all times during the transportation to and from the show or exhibition be confined in a secure temporary enclosure.

(d)    Any dog employed or owned by the County or licensed security services and trained to perform official police, correctional, security, fire and/or search and rescue service shall be exempt from the provisions of this Act.




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