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State Pet Shop Laws: Maryland

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  • Animal: a living creature except a human being. (MD. CRIM. LAW CODE ANN. § 10-601)
  • Distribute: offering for sale, selling, bartering or giving away [exotic birds]. (MD. HEALTH-GEN. CODE ANN. § 24-101)
  • Exotic bird: a bird that is not native to the state. (MD. HEALTH-GEN. CODE ANN. § 24-101)

Vet Care:

  • N/A


  • N/A

Lemon Laws:

  • N/A

Food and Water:

  • N/A

Sanitary Conditions:

  • Bird distributors must keep the bird facility in “sanitary condition.” (Penalty: misdemeanor) (MD. HEALTH-GEN. CODE ANN. § 24-105, MD. HEALTH-GEN. CODE ANN. § 24-110)

Unweaned Animals:

  • Prohibits anyone from selling kittens or puppies under 8 weeks. Exception: if the mother is with the kitten or pup, or if the kitten or pup is given to an animal shelter. (Penalty: misdemeanor and seizure) (MD. CRIM. LAW CODE ANN. § 10-613)

Miscellaneous Provisions:

  • License required to import, sell or breed exotic birds. (Penalty: misdemeanor) (MD. HEALTH-GEN. CODE ANN. § 24-102, MD. HEALTH-GEN. CODE ANN. § 24-109, MD. HEALTH-GEN. CODE ANN. §24-110)
  • Bird distributors must keep specific records of the owner history for each bird for 1 year. (Penalty: misdemeanor) (MD. HEALTH-GEN. CODE ANN. § 24-106, MD. HEALTH-GEN. CODE ANN. § 24-110)
  • Health department can inspect the facilities of bird distributors. Agriculture department can inspect the records or require “specimens” of bird distributors (for disease control). (MD. HEALTH-GEN. CODE ANN. § 24-108)
  • Health officers must annually inspect pet stores to determine that procedures are being used to ensure prevention and control of zoonotic diseases, including psittacosis. (MD. REGS. CODE tit. 10, 06.01.25)
  • Inspections of premises where dogs are commercially sold are allowed by certain officials (if advance notice of inspection is given). (MD. CRIM. LAW CODE ANN. § 10-616)
  • Prohibits anyone from killing a dog or cat (or allowing to be killed) using a decompression chamber, CO gas, or curariform. (Penalty: misdemeanor) (MD. CRIM. LAW CODE ANN. § 10-611)


  1. Where “adequate space” is not defined the state has not established a definition for the term.
  2. The definition of “animal” may actually be broadly written while the types of animals covered by the law (e.g., veterinary care, sanitation, food and water) may be more narrowly drafted.

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