About Statutes

This page accesses the Code of Maryland (Statutes) and the Maryland Municipal Charters and Resolutions as compiled and maintained by the Department of Legislative Services.

The Code is arranged by and organized into “Articles” (e.g. Transportation Article), which are further subdivided into “titles”, “subtitles”, “sections”, “subsections”, “paragraphs”, subparagraphs”, etc.

Note that the “official” compilation of the laws (Chapters) enacted at each session of the General Assembly is published by the State as the “Laws of Maryland”, commonly referred to as the “Session Laws”. The Session Laws for each session are compiled chronologically by chapter number and serve as the source law from which the statutes accessed here are derived.

While the “Laws of Maryland” (Session Laws) constitute the official laws of the State, this Code and the annotated versions noted below are accepted as “evidence” of the law in all State courts and by all public offices and officials (See § 10-201 of the Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article). However, in the event of a conflict between the Code and the Session Laws, the Session Laws prevail.

Note: Annotated versions of the Code, published by LexisNexis and West, are available in book and online formats. These Annotated Codes include references to case law, related citations, and explanatory notations.

The Municipal Charters are updated each year by incorporating all charter resolutions received by the Department through May 31 of that year. Individual Municipal Resolutions are published to the General Assembly website as they are received by the Department.

Statute Text

Article - Criminal Law
(a)    (1)   In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.
(2)   “Dangerous dog” means a dog that:
(i)   without provocation has killed or inflicted severe injury on a person; or
(ii)   is determined by the appropriate unit of a county or municipal corporation under subsection (c) of this section to be a potentially dangerous dog and, after the determination is made:
1.   bites a person;
2.   when not on its owner’s real property, kills or inflicts severe injury on a domestic animal; or
3.   attacks without provocation.
(3)    (i)   “Owner’s real property” means real property owned or leased by the owner of a dog.
(ii)   “Owner’s real property” does not include a public right-of-way or a common area of a condominium, apartment complex, or townhouse development.
(4)   “Severe injury” means a physical injury that results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery.
(b)   This section does not apply to a dog owned by and working for a governmental or law enforcement unit.
(c)   An appropriate unit of a county or municipal corporation may determine that a dog is potentially dangerous if the unit:
(1)   finds that the dog:
(i)   has inflicted a bite on a person while on public or private real property;
(ii)   when not on its owner’s real property, has killed or inflicted severe injury on a domestic animal; or
(iii)   has attacked without provocation; and
(2)   notifies the dog owner in writing of the reasons for this determination.
(d)   A dog owner may not:
(1)   leave a dangerous dog unattended on the owner’s real property unless the dog is:
(i)   confined indoors;
(ii)   in a securely enclosed and locked pen; or
(iii)   in another structure designed to restrain the dog; or
(2)   allow a dangerous dog to leave the owner’s real property unless the dog is leashed and muzzled, or is otherwise securely restrained and muzzled.
(e)   An owner of a dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog who sells or gives the dog to another shall notify in writing:
(1)   the authority that made the determination under subsection (c) of this section, of the name and address of the new owner of the dog; and
(2)   the person taking possession of the dog, of the dangerous behavior or potentially dangerous behavior of the dog.
(f)   A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $2,500.