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(A) The Animal Control Officer shall have the right to enter upon any premises at all reasonable times for the purpose of discharging the duties imposed upon him or her by this chapter where there is reasonable belief that a violation of this chapter has been committed.
(B) The Animal Control Officer shall have the right to issue a citation to any owner/custodian found violating any provision of this chapter.
(C) The Animal Control Officer shall be authorized and empowered to enforce and administer this chapter by the Board of Garrett County Commissioners as stipulated in Md. Code, Art. 56, § 194, subtitle B shall issue a citation, trial, penalty.
(D) (1) The Animal Control Officer, the County Health Officer, his or her deputy or any law enforcement officer shall issue a civil citation if there is probable cause to believe that a person is committing or has committed a violation of this chapter. In issuing a civil citation, the issuer may accept and rely upon a written affidavit of an individual with personal knowledge of an alleged violation. A copy of the citation shall be retained by the issuer and shall bear a certification attesting to the truth of the matters set forth. The citation shall contain:
(a) The name and address of the person charged;
(b) The nature of the violation;
(c) The location and time that the violation occurred;
(d) The amount of the fine assessed;
(e) The manner, location and time in which the fine may be paid or a notice stating that prepayment of the fine is not permitted; and
(f) The person’s right to elect to stand trial for the violation.
(2) The following schedule of fines will be imposed for each violation of this chapter:
(a) First offense - $50.
(b) Second offense - $100.
(c) All other offenses - $250.
(3) A person who receives a citation may elect to stand trial for the offense by filing with the Animal Control Officer a notice of intention to stand trial. The notice shall be given at least 5 days before the date of payment as set forth in the citation. On receipt of the notice of intention to stand trial, animal control personnel shall forward to the District Court of Maryland for Garrett County a copy of the citation and the notice of intention to stand trial. On receipt of the citation, the District Court shall schedule the case for trial and notify the defendant of the trial date. All fines, penalties, or forfeitures collected by the District Court for animal control violations shall be remitted to the County Tax Collection Office.
(4) If a person who receives a citation for a violation fails to pay the fine by the date of payment set forth on the citation and fails to file a notice of intention to stand trial, animal control personnel may request adjudication of the case through the District Court. The District Court shall schedule the case for trial and summon the defendant to appear, and the person may be adjudged liable for an additional fine not to exceed twice the original fine.
(5) Adjudication of a violation under this division is not a criminal conviction, nor does it impose any of the civil disabilities ordinarily imposed by a criminal conviction.
(6) In a proceeding before the District Court, the violation shall be prosecuted in the same manner and to the same extent as set forth for municipal infractions in Md. Code, Art. 23A, § 3-B, 8 through 15. If a person is found by the District Court to have committed a civil violation, he or she shall be liable for the costs of proceedings in the District Court.
(Ord. —, passed 2-3-2004; Am. Ord. —, passed 6-3-2014)