Maryland

Updates about legal issues facing animals in the state

The Animal Legal Defense Fund works at the federal, state and local levels to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals. This page is meant to be used as a resource to see what is happening in your state and what actions you can take for animals.

State Rankings

Each year, the Animal Legal Defense Fund publishes its U.S. State Animal Protection Laws Rankings Report. It is the longest-running and most authoritative of its kind, assessing the strength of each state’s animal protection laws by examining over 3,400 pages of statutes. Each state is ranked based on 19 different categories of animal protection.

Maryland
Overall Rank: #31 (Middle Tier)

  • +Wide range of care standards/requirements including food, water, shelter, care, and space
  • +Veterinarians must report suspected animal cruelty, and have immunity for doing so
  • -No provisions for pre-conviction forfeiture of abused animals
  • -No felony provisions for animal neglect or abandonment
  • -Other agencies or departments are not required to report suspected animal cruelty

Active Legislation

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Active Cases

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Recent Victories

Prosecution for Maryland Dog Freezing to Death

Prosecution for Maryland Dog Freezing to Death

The Animal Legal Defense Fund funded the necropsy of an elderly dog named Oscar, who died sometime between December 30, 2017, and January 1, 2018, when he was kept outside of his owner's home in Baltimore County, Maryland, in 20-degree weather.
lemur

Challenging the Treatment of Captive Animals at Deer Haven Mini Zoo

The Animal Legal Defense Fund announced its intent to sue Deer Haven Mini Zoo in Keymar, Maryland, for violations of the federal Endangered Species Act and state animal cruelty laws.
cownose ray

Ending Cownose Ray Killing Contests (Maryland)

Cownose Ray Fishery Management Plan and Moratorium on Contests (SB 143/HB 213)
The Animal Legal Defense Fund was a member of a coalition supporting legislation to enact a moratorium on cownose ray killing contests in Maryland.

Take Action

Take action now to help animals in your state.

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cow

Stop Ag-Gag Laws

Undercover investigations and whistleblowers have exposed some of the worst aspects of factory farming, but Ag-Gag laws punish people who speak out about cruelty in animal agriculture. Voice your opposition.
dog

No More Puppy Mills

Puppy mill operators maximize their profits by producing large numbers of puppies as quickly as possible. As a result, unsanitary conditions, disease, and neglect are rampant. Sign our pledge to boycott puppy mills. Together we can end cruel puppy mills.
Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals

Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals

Want to take the next step in your animal advocacy? Learn the skills you need to pass laws protecting animals at the local level! Local laws are critical – not only do they help individual animals in your community but prime state legislation.
Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals: Prohibiting Circuses and Traveling Shows that Exploit Animals

Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals: Prohibiting Circuses and Traveling Shows that Exploit Animals

Learn how wild animals are exploited in circuses and traveling shows, and how you can help!
Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals: Fur Bans

Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals: Fur Bans

Learn how to fight back against the cruel fur industry by passing a fur ban in your community! Led by Animal Legal Defense Fund Campaigns Manager Elizabeth Holtz, this webinar will walk you through the mechanics of fur production, the policy issues, including animal cruelty, environmental impacts, and public health, and more.