Harford County, Maryland
Harford County Maryland

Department of Inspections, Licenses & Permits (DILP)
220 South Main Street, Bel Air, MD 21014 410.638.3344 or 410.879.2000
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Paul Lawder
Richard C. Truitt, Sr.
Deputy Director
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DogsHead.jpgAnimal Control law covers...

ARTICLEIII - "Animal Control"

  • Section 64-7 "Dog at large" (loose dogs):
    "No owner of any dog shall permit it to be at large." Any dog will be deemed to be "at large" when:
    a.) It is upon the property of a person other than the owner.
    b.) Or within the traveled portion of any public road and not leashed or under the control of the owner and obedient to the owner's command.
  • Section 64-8 "Impoundment Generally":
    "Dogs not wearing or wearing a current Harford County License tag found at large shall be taken to the Humane Society of the County...or at the discretion of the Animal Control Officer, be returned to the owner, who shall also be served a violation notice."
  • Section 64-10 "Impoundment Fees":
    "Any animal impounded under this article may be reclaimed as herein provided upon payment to the County, by the owner, the sum of $20. An additional care charge of $10 for each calendar day or portion thereof, during which the animal was impounded, shall be added to the impoundment fee."
  • Section 64-11 "Confinement & Destruction of Certain Animals":
    "The owner of any female dog in estrus, or as commonly known "in heat", shall keep the dog confined in a closed building equipped with adequate flooring such as a tight wooden or concrete floor to prevent contact with another dog excluding intentional breeding purposes. (Female dogs "in heat" are NOT permitted out of doors, either loose or on a leash.)
  • Section 64-16 "Interference with Enforcement Officers":
    "No person shall interfere with, hinder or molest any appropriately authorized Law Enforcement Agency of the County or the Animal Control Officers in performance of their duties, or seek to release any animal in their custody except as herein provided."

ARTICLE IV - "Animal Care, Abuse, Cruelty"

  • Section 64-18 "Abuse of Animals":
    "No person shall overdrive, overload, deprive of necessary sustenance, torture, cruelly beat, mutilate, or cruelly kill, nor cause, procure, or authorize these acts, or having the charge or custody of an animal, either as owner or otherwise, inflict unnecessary suffering or pain upon the animal or unnecessarily fail to provide the animal with nutritious food in sufficient quantities, necessary veterinary care, proper drink, air, space, shelter or protection from the weather."
  • Section 64-20 "Animals in Vehicles":
    "No person shall leave any animal unattended in a motor vehicle when the temperature outside exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit."
  • Section 64-22 "Control of Dog Waste & Other Nuisance":
    "No owner of a dog shall allow it to soil, defile, defecate upon or commit any other nuisance upon any public property or upon private property."
  • Section 64-25 "Tethered Animals":
    "Any chain, rope, or other restraining line used to tether any animal shall be of sufficient length to permit the animal to exercise and shall, in no event be less than fifteen (15) feet in length with a swivel at both ends."

ARTICLE VI - "Penalty Provisions"

  • Section 64-28 "Criminal Penalty":
    "Any person violating any provision of this Chapter shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction, be fined not less then $25 not more than $1,000, or imprisoned for not more than 90 days, or both fined and imprisoned. Each day during which a violation of this Chapter continues shall be deemed a separate offense."
  • Section 64-29 "Civil Penalty":
    "The Animal Control Officer or the Sheriff or his designee shall serve a violation notice to any person found in violation of this chapter. This notice shall impose upon such violator a civil monetary penalty of $30, which shall be paid to the County within ten weekdays in full satisfaction of the assessed penalty. The penalty shall increase to $100 for a second offense and $150 for a third offense."

View provisions of Harford County Code, Chapter 64 "Animals"
Animal Control law available (and additional information) by calling 410.638.3505, Animal Control Services Division.

Animal Bites...

All animal bites must be reported.  Call the Harford County Sheriff’s Office 410.838.6600.

By a Pet Dog or Cat...

  1. Obtain the pet owner’s name, address, phone number. Find out if the animal has a current rabies vaccination. Report incident to the Harford County Animal Control Services Office at 410 638 3505 (8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday thru Friday), (8:00 am to 4:00 pm Saturday and Sunday – limited staffing, no office staff, voice mail only, leave message. NOTE: tape is read hourly), or after hours, the Sheriffs Office at 410.838.6600.
  2. Immediately wash the wound with lots of soap and running water.
  3. Get medical attention. Go to your family doctor or the nearest emergency room.
  4. Report the incident to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office at 410.838.6600.

By a Stray Dog or Cat...

  1. Report incident to the Harford County Animal Control Services Office at 410.638.3505 (8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday thru Friday) or, after hours, the Sheriff’s Office at 410.838.6600.
  2. Remember the description of the animal (color, tags, collar, breed, etc.). Which way did the animal run after you were bitten.
  3. Get medical attention. Go to your family doctor or the nearest emergency room.

By a Wild Animal...

  1. Capture (or kill) the animal, if possible, so it can be tested. Take care to prevent additional bites or damage to the animal’s head.
  2. Immediately wash the wound with lots of soap and running water.
  3. Get medical attention. Go to your family doctor or the nearest emergency room
  4. Report incident. Call: Harford County Health Department 410.877.2300 (Monday thru Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Evenings, weekends or holidays, call the Sheriff’s Office at 410.838.6600.

Wildlife Problems

  1. State of Maryland Animal Control Damage Hotline: 1.800.442.0708
  2. Wildlife Nuisance Hotline: 1.877.463.6497
 Cat License...

No law in Harford County governing cats; no license required.

 Dog License...

Requirements Fees
License required for a dog six months of age or older.
Dog licenses shall be issued for 1 year commencing on the day of issuance. 

The County shall  issue appropriate license tag(s) to the owners of dogs when the owners present proof of current rabies vaccination and pay the license fee.

Sterilized Dogs-$8
Unsterilized Dogs-$15

Senior Citizen
Sterilized Dogs-$5

Senior Citizen
Unsterilized Dog-$8 410.638.3305 for additional information. Applications accepted by mail (with original rabies certificate); checks payable to Harford County, or can be made in person at the Harford County Administrative Office Building, 220 South Main Street, Bel Air, Maryland (second floor).

This worksheet is available in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format.  To obtain a free copy of the Adobe Viewer, visit Adobe's website.

Dead Animals...

  • On County roads... contact Harford County Highways at 410.638.3532
  • On State roads... contact State Highways at 410.838.7788

Duties...Animal Control Services

  • Enforcement and interpretation of the animal control law
  • Investigates complaints of animal neglect or cruelty
  • Handle complaints of loose dogs, barking nuisance dogs, inhumane treatment of animals
  • Set dog and cat traps
  • Investigate canine and feline rabies suspects
  • Apprehend bite stray dogs and cats
  • Conduct pet shop inspections

Emergencies...Bite...Injury...Vicious Dog

Animal Control Officer on 24 hour duty for emergency calls.

Call the Harford County Sheriff’s Office at 410.838.6600. Emergency duty Officer will be contacted by the Sheriff’s Office.

Humane Society of Harford County, 410.836.1090

For information about. . .

  • Animals...lost and found reports
  • Adoptions
  • Reduced-cost sterilization programs
  • Humane education

. . . call the Humane Society of Harford County, Inc. at 410.836.1090 for additional information or visit them on the web at

Office Hours... Animal Control Services

8:00am - 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, except holidays.
8:00am - 4:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday (limited staffing, no office staff, voice mail only, leave message. NOTE: tape is read hourly).

Animal Control Officers work assigned 24-hour emergency duty daily. For a bite, injury or vicious dog situation, contact the Harford County Sheriff’s Office 410.838.6600 after hours.

Rabies Vaccination...Health Department...Rabies Clinics

Contact the Harford County Health Department at 410.877.2300 for dates, times and additional information.

Pamela J. Arney
Animal Control Services
45 South Main Street
Bel Air, Maryland 21014
Telephone: 410-638-3505
8:00am - 4:00pm

DogLicenseApp.gif .../DILP/Photos

Associated Documents:
Dog License Application
Questions or comments
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