New animal regulations will go into effect in Wicomico County
WICOMICO COUNTY, Md. – Wicomico County will be seeing a new set of guidelines that will make sure that our furry friends are safe and protected.
The Wicomico County Council wiped the slate clean by removing the current dog laws and digging up new animal regulations, which will take effect January 19th.
These regulations are more detailed than the previous ones and include a range of topics.
One of the council’s biggest concerns is tethering. Council president, John Cannon says, “Initially, it was defined as 15 feet, now it’s three times the length of the dog.”
Besides that, they’ve added new provisions on specific issues. “We’re trying to increase restrictions as far as licenses, in order to get a breeder’s license to sell a puppy or kitten and to dispose of dead animals, we’ve made different restrictions in light of that,” Cannon tells us.
Plus they’ll include a Trap, Neuter and Return Program for community cats and it’ll protect animals in unsafe weather conditions.
But breeders and pet owners aren’t the only one who will see these effects. The Sheriff’s Office tells us the previous county ordinance specifically mentioned dogs, but the approved bill will address animals at large meaning they won’t be limited in what they can do. Lt. Tim Robinson says, “It’s going to make the job for anybody who goes out to look at these kind of complaints, a little bit easier to address and have it spelled out like this to see what our guidelines are and the guidelines for the general public too so what could be enforced.”
Anyone that violates a provision in this law will be guilty of a civil infraction and can be fined up to $1,000 per violation. Each day the violation continues will be a separate violation. Fines for these infractions can range from failure to obtain a license to abandonment to the disposal of dead animals.
The new law now provides:
- Provisions from the State of Maryland Animal Care and Cruelty Law
- A Trap, Neuter and Return Program (TNR) for community cats
- Tighter regulations on tethering an animal
- Protection of animals in unsafe weather conditions to include wind chill factor and heat index
- Animals At-Large Prohibited (previously only pertained to dogs)
- Animals must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet while on school grounds or at a public recreation area
- An Animal Control Officer, upon impounding an animal, must record the breed, color, sex and license-status of the animal. This information shall be posted on the Animal Control Authority’s website within 24 hours after impounding the animal
- If a female dog or cat in heat or an unneutered male dog or cat belonging to the same owner is impounded twice within 12 months, the dog or cat will become the property of the Animal Control Authority unless the owner pays for the spaying or neutering of the dog or cat by the animal control authority within one week after notice
- New provisions on breeder license
- New provisions on the Sale of a Puppy or Kitten
- New provisions on Disposal of Dead Animals
- To adopt a dog or cat from the Animal Control Authority, the adopter must pay or reimburse the Animal Control Autority to neuter or spay the animal (If not already done), and other reasonable charges and fees. In addition the adopter must certify in writing under penalty of perjury that he or she has not been convicted of animal cruelty or neglect by a court of law
- New requirement to obtain a County dog license and tag from the Wicomico County Humane Society if not provided with rabies vaccination