Maryland State Service Dog Laws

Maryland law can be found here. Please expand the sections below to read the portions specifically related to service animals.

Important points:

Summary – Service Animal trainers have the right to be accompanied by a service dog in training in public places.

Detailed – Human Services § 7-701(h) “Service animal trainer” means a person who trains or raises service animals for individuals with disabilities, whether the person is a professional or volunteer.

Human Services § 7-704(a) Individuals with disabilities, the parents of a minor child with a disability, and service animal trainers who are accompanied by an animal being trained or raised as a service animal have the same right as individuals without disabilities to the full and free use of the roads, sidewalks, public buildings, public facilities, and other public places.

(b)(1) Individuals with disabilities, the parents of a minor child with a disability, and service animal trainers who are accompanied by an animal being trained or raised as a service animal are entitled to full and equal rights and privileges with respect to common carriers and other public conveyances or modes of transportation, places of public accommodations, and other places to which the general public is invited, subject only to any conditions and limitations of general application established by law.

(2) An individual with a disability, a parent of a minor child with a disability, or a service animal trainer who is accompanied by an animal being trained or raised as a service animal is entitled to the same access as other members of the general public to housing accommodations in the State, subject to any conditions and limitations of general application established by law.

(3) An individual with a disability, a parent of a minor child with a disability, or a service animal trainer who has, obtains, or may wish to obtain a service animal or an animal to be trained or raised as a service animal is entitled to full and equal access to housing accommodations.

(4) An individual with a disability, a parent of a minor child with a disability, or a service animal trainer who is accompanied by a service animal or an animal being trained or raised as a service animal may not be required to pay extra compensation for the service animal, but the individual may be liable for damages to the premises or facilities that the service animal causes.

a) In this subtitle the following words have the meanings indicated.

(b) “Blind” means:

(1) a visual acuity not exceeding 20/200 in the better eye with corrective lenses;  or

(2) a visual field of which the widest diameter subtends an angle of not more than 20 degrees.

(c) “Deaf” means a permanent hearing loss:

(1) that necessitates the use of amplification devices to hear oral communication;  or

(2) for which amplification devices are ineffective.

(d) “Disability” has the meaning stated in the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12102.

(e) “Housing accommodations” means real property, or a portion of real property, that is:

(1) offered for compensation;  and

(2) used or occupied, or intended to be used or occupied, as the residence or lodging of at least one individual.

(f) “Mobility impaired” means an inability to carry objects or to move or travel without the use of an assistive device or service animal.

(g) “Service animal” means a guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including:

(1) guiding individuals with impaired vision;

(2) alerting individuals with impaired hearing to an intruder or sounds;

(3) providing minimal protection or rescue work;

(4) pulling a wheelchair;

(5) fetching dropped items;  or

(6) detecting the onset of a seizure.

(h) “Service animal trainer” means a person who trains or raises service animals for individuals with disabilities, whether the person is a professional or volunteer.

(a) Individuals with disabilities, the parents of a minor child with a disability, and service animal trainers who are accompanied by an animal being trained or raised as a service animal have the same right as individuals without disabilities to the full and free use of the roads, sidewalks, public buildings, public facilities, and other public places.

(b)(1) Individuals with disabilities, the parents of a minor child with a disability, and service animal trainers who are accompanied by an animal being trained or raised as a service animal are entitled to full and equal rights and privileges with respect to common carriers and other public conveyances or modes of transportation, places of public accommodations, and other places to which the general public is invited, subject only to any conditions and limitations of general application established by law.

(2) The failure of a blind or visually impaired pedestrian to carry a cane predominantly white or metallic in color, with or without a red tip, or an individual with a disability or a parent of a minor child with a disability to use a service animal wearing an orange license tag or orange collar and on a leash, or to use a service animal in a place, accommodation, or conveyance listed in paragraph (1) of this subsection does not constitute contributory negligence per se.

(c)(1) This subsection does not apply to any accommodations or single family residence in which the occupants offer for compensation not more than one room.

(2) An individual with a disability, a parent of a minor child with a disability, or a service animal trainer who is accompanied by an animal being trained or raised as a service animal is entitled to the same access as other members of the general public to housing accommodations in the State, subject to any conditions and limitations of general application established by law.

(3) An individual with a disability, a parent of a minor child with a disability, or a service animal trainer who has, obtains, or may wish to obtain a service animal or an animal to be trained or raised as a service animal is entitled to full and equal access to housing accommodations.

(4) An individual with a disability, a parent of a minor child with a disability, or a service animal trainer who is accompanied by a service animal or an animal being trained or raised as a service animal may not be required to pay extra compensation for the service animal, but the individual may be liable for damages to the premises or facilities that the service animal causes.

(a) The following individuals have all the same rights and privileges conferred by law on other individuals:

(1) a blind or visually impaired pedestrian using a service animal and not carrying a cane predominantly white or metallic in color, with or without a red tip;

(2)  an individual with a disability and a parent of a minor child with a disability using a service animal not wearing an orange license tag or orange collar and on a leash;

(3)  an individual with a disability and a parent of a minor child with a disability using a service animal in a place, accommodation, or conveyance listed in § 7-704(b) of this subtitle;  and

(4) a service animal trainer who is accompanied by an animal that is being trained as a service animal.

(b) This section does not require a physical modification of any place or vehicle in order to admit an individual with a disability or any other individual authorized under this subtitle to use a service animal who is accompanied by a service animal.

(c)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a service animal trainer may be accompanied by an animal that is being trained as a service animal in any place where an individual with a disability or a parent of a minor child with a disability has the right to be accompanied by a service animal.

(2) An animal being trained as a service animal and accompanied by a service animal trainer may be excluded from a place described in paragraph (1) of this subsection if admitting the animal would create a clear danger of a disturbance or physical harm to an individual in the place.

(d)(1)  An individual with a disability or a parent of a minor child with a disability who is accompanied by a service animal specially trained for that purpose in a place, accommodation, or conveyance listed in § 7-704(b) of this subtitle may not be required to pay extra compensation for the service animal, but the individual may be liable for any damages to the premises or facilities caused by the service animal.

(2) A service animal trainer who is accompanied by an animal that is being trained as a service animal may not be required to pay extra compensation for the animal, but the service animal trainer organization that certifies the service animal may be liable for any personal injuries or damages to the premises or facilities caused by the service animal.

(e)(1)(i) A person may not deny or interfere with the admittance of a service animal that accompanies an individual with a disability or a parent of a minor child with a disability in violation of this section.

(ii) A person who violates subparagraph (i) of this paragraph is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $500 for each offense.

(2)(i) A person may not deny or interfere with the admittance of an animal being trained as a service animal that accompanies a service animal trainer.

(ii) Subject to subsection (c)(2) of this section, a person who violates subparagraph (i) of this paragraph is subject to a fine not exceeding $25 for each offense.

(a) In this section, “service dog” means a dog that is professionally trained to aid individuals who are:

(1) blind or visually impaired;

(2) deaf or hard of hearing;  or

(3) mobility impaired.

(b) If an application meets the requirements of subsection (c) of this section and the local licensing agency is satisfied that the dog for which a license is sought is a service dog and is actually in use as a service dog:

(1) the dog owner is not required to pay a fee for issuance of the license;  and

(2) the local licensing agency shall inscribe across the face of the license in red ink the words “service dog”.

(c)(1) An application for a license for a service dog shall be accompanied by an affidavit from the owner stating that:

(i) the dog for which the license is sought has been professionally trained as a service dog;  and

(ii) the owner is aware that the owner may be liable, under § 7-705 of the Human Services Article, for damages caused by the service dog to premises or facilities.

(2) The local licensing agency in each county shall make forms available for affidavits required under this subsection.

(d)(1) In addition to any tag issued under Part II of this subtitle, the local licensing agency shall issue a tag for a service dog.

(2) A service dog tag shall:

(i) be orange;

(ii) be labeled “service dog”;  and

(iii) indicate that it is issued by the State.

(3) In accordance with § 4-316 of the State Finance and Procurement Article, the Department of General Services shall purchase the service dog tags and make them available to the counties on reimbursement for the cost of the tags.

(a) The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to:

(1) A blind or partially blind pedestrian using a guide dog or carrying a cane predominantly white or metallic in color (with or without a red tip);

(2) A deaf or hearing impaired pedestrian accompanied by a guide dog;  or

(3) A mobility impaired individual crossing a roadway while using any of the following mobility-assisted devices:

(i) A manual or motorized wheelchair;

(ii) A motorized scooter;

(iii) Crutches;  or

(iv) A cane.

(b) A person who is not blind or partially blind may not use or carry a white cane, a cane that is white tipped with red, or a chrome, nickel, aluminum, or other reflecting or shining metal cane, in the manner described in subsection (a)(1) of this section.