Standards of Enforcement

Minimum standards for enforcement of anti-cruelty law (Adopted by Prince George’s County AMD and by PGSPCA)


  • Food shall be wholesome, palatable and free from contamination.
  • Food shall be of sufficient quantity and nutritive value to maintain all animals in good health.
  • The diet shall be prepared with consideration for the age, species, condition, size and type of animal.
  • Animals shall be fed at least once a day except as dictated by hibernation, veterinary advice or other professionally accepted practices for the safety and well being of the animal.
  • All food receptacles shall be kept clean and sanitary.
  • If more than one animal is fed at one time or in one place, it shall be the responsibility of the owner/custodian to ensure each animal receives enough.


  • Proper drink shall mean clean, potable water available at all times.
  • Exceptions shall be determined by a veterinarian.
  • All water receptacles shall be kept clean and sanitary.


  • Holding areas shall be constructed to allow the free flow of fresh air.


  • All animals must be able to stand to their full height, stretch out, turn around, lie and make normal postural and social adjustments comfortably and with adequate freedom of movement to maintain physical condition.
  • Unless animals are allowed to exercise freely twice a day for periods of at least one hour, the square footage of the area of confinement must equal the length of the animal multiplied by six (6). The area must be of sufficient height to allow the animal to stretch to its full height.
  • If an animal is confined by a chain or tether, the length of the chain or tether shall be fifteen (15) feet, and shall be arranged so that it cannot become entangled.
  • The above space standards may not be sufficient for certain animals. Inadequate space may be indicated by evidence of poor physical condition and stress or abnormal behavior patterns such as pacing or circling within the area of confinement.


  • All animals must have five (5) hours of light every day, except as dictated by hibernation, veterinary advice or professionally accepted practices for the safety and well being of the animal.
  • Lighting of primary enclosures shall be designed to protect the animals from excessive illumination. The duration of illumination shall be appropriate for the species involved.

Indoor Shelter

  • Facilities shall be sufficiently regulated by heating or cooling, if necessary, to protect animals from extremes of temperature and to provide for their health and comfort.
  • The ambient temperature shall not be allowed to fall below or rise above temperatures compatible with the health and comfort of the animal.
  • Facilities shall be adequately ventilated by natural or mechanical means to provide for the health of and to prevent the discomfort of the animal at all times. Such facilities shall be provided with fresh air either by means of windows, doors, vents, fans or air conditioning and shall be ventilated so as to minimize drafts, odors and moisture condensation.

Outdoor Shelter (General)

  • All animals must have access to shade from the sun.
  • All animals kept outdoors must have access to a weatherproof shelter. Between November 1 and March 30 and in inclement weather, the term ?weatherproof? shall mean a structure of no less than three sides, a roof and floor, except for ungulates (hooved animals) whose shelter may be floorless.
  • Structures shall be windproof and moisture proof.
  • In cases where there is no artificial heat source, structures must be small enough, if appropriate, to allow the animal to maintain its body heat and to warm the interior of the structure.
  • Only shelters used by ungulates (hooved animals) may have metal roofs. No other structures shall have any interior metal surfaces.


  • The shelter for a dog shall have a solid floor raised at least two (2) inches from the ground. The entrance shall be covered by a flexible, windproof material or a self-closing door. Between November 1 and March 30, bedding such as cedar chips, hay or straw shall be provided for insulation against the cold and damp. Bedding must be kept dry.


  • Cats maintained outside must be confined on their owner?s property and provided with proper food, water, and shelter. (SPCA/HS supports the county cat leash law. A supervised animal ensures conscientious neighbors and responsible owners, which reduces the incidence for abuse.)


  • The shelter for ungulates shall face away from prevailing winds.

Veterinary Care—Emergency Treatment

An animal shall be afforded immediate veterinary care if it is known or suspected to have suffered an accident or has been struck by a vehicle, person or heavy object with force or frequency sufficient to cause internal or external injury, and exhibits signs of such injury such as vomiting, diarrhea, shock, temperature fluctuation, tremors, swelling, broken bones, open wounds, inability to eat, blistering, irregular or abnormal breathing, partial or total paralysis, irrational behavior, orificial discharge or bleeding, or other such sign.
Animals exhibiting symptoms of bloat shall receive immediate veterinary care.

Veterinary Care—Treatment Within 48 Hours

An animal shall be afforded veterinary care if it has exhibited any sign of illness, severe parasitic infestation or disease such as infection, orificial bleeding or discharge, failure to void, loss of appetite, moaning, weight loss, abnormal skin condition or hair loss, tremors, temperature fluctuation, crying, vomiting, diarrhea or any other such sign over a period of forty-eight hours or more.

Veterinary Care—Incidental

If an animal has an abnormal growth of a size or weight or in such a position as to impede the animal in any way, such condition shall be brought to the attention of a veterinarian


Both indoor and outdoor enclosures shall receive cleanings as necessary to remove excreta, dirt and debris so as to minimize disease hazards, odor and danger to the animal.


Animals with coats requiring grooming to prevent severe matting, filth accumulation and/or skin diseases shall be groomed in accord with normal and accepted grooming practices.

Animals on Balconies

Dogs and cats are not allowed to be maintained on a balcony or to be on a balcony unless accompanied by a human adult.