Laws and Regulations


  • The Animal Shelters Standards Act of 2016 (Sections 2-1701 through 2-1705 of the Agricultural Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland) applies to all county animal shelters, all organizations that contract with a county or a municipality for animal control, or any organization that shelters animals and has received funds from the Maryland Spay and Neuter Grants Program since 2015.  This law requires animal shelters to develop a written veterinary care protocol for dogs and cats that is consistent with the guidelines set forth by the most recent Association of Shelter Veterinary Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters. The law also requires the plan be made available to the public upon request.  A copy of the plan should also be provided to the Maryland State Inspectors with the shelter certification and to the Spay and Neuter Grants Program upon receipt of any funding. In addition, the law requires that shelters post (either on their website or a conspicuous location) a written protocol for reclaiming animals and an annual summary of intake and disposition data. A facility’s Standards of Care Plan and the posting of the written protocol for reclaiming animals and annual intake/disposition data must be completed on or before January 1, 2017.


Regulations are adopted by the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (SBVME) to set standards for the practice of veterinary medicine in the State of Maryland by licensed and registered veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary hospital owners.  To view current regulations​, click on the applicable chapter below. Chapters listed below with a * indicate those with recently revised language. To determine effective date, scroll to the end of the chapter and view Administrative History.