Montgomery County Dog Bite Laws
March 3, 2020
For many people, dogs are beloved members of the family, and bring tremendous joy. On occasion, however, these loving creatures can become the source of stress and even legal liability.
While puppies nip as they are teething, some dogs have the tendency towards biting…and can inflict serious and, in some cases, fatal injuries.
It is important to understand the law as it applies to potentially dangerous pets in order to protect yourself from liability and to ensure the safety of those around you.
In Montgomery County, Maryland, the relevant laws are as follows:
- You must prevent your dog from having “Unwanted Contact” with others. Montgomery County defines “Unwanted Contact” as any “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.”
- You must remain in control of your dog such that you prevent unwelcome or unsolicited threatening physical contact or close proximity, such as biting, chasing, tracking, inhibiting movement, or jumping. If your dog has ever shown this type of behavior towards people, you must take reasonable care to prevent your dog from having contact with others.
- If you invite others onto your property and have reason to believe that your dog has a history of unwanted contact, you must keep your dog restrained and secluded from your guests at all times. You should also provide advance notice about your dog’s aggressive tendencies to all people who may encounter your dog.
- Montgomery County will deem an animal to be potentially dangerous if it has bitten 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 a person or other domestic animal without provocation. (Montgomery County Code, §5-202)
- 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. 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.
Shulman Rogers’ Personal Injury team has experience representing victims of dog bites, dog owners, and doggie daycare businesses. If you or someone you know has an issue related to dog bites, please contact one of our attorneys today.
The contents of this Alert are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact the Shulman Rogers attorney with whom you regularly work or a member of the Shulman Rogers Personal Injury Law Group.