Conducting animal adoption and rescue, the Animal Shelter also licenses kennels and pet shops operating in the County. In addition, the Shelter administers rabies vaccines, spay and neutering, and issues private pet licenses required by the County Code.

Animal Control Officers are appointed by the Board of County Commissioners to enforce the County animal control ordinance. Duties of the officers include issuing notice to owners of petís status as vicious or public nuisance; revocation of kennel and pet shop licenses; and impounding animals (whose ownership is unknown), or any nuisance or vicious animals at large (Code Health-General Article, secs. 18-312 through 18-320; County Code, secs. 91.01 through 91.99).


The Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management oversees and coordinates emergency responders in the County. In addition, the Office maintains a staff of paramedics and emergency medical technicians.

In response to federal law, the Office develops emergency response plans that define support teams and functions for maintaining proper response capabilities by the County, coordination procedures to assist municipal agencies, and hazards most likely to occur. Plans also define command structures to be followed during emergencies requiring interagency response.

Through High School Emergency Services Clubs, the Office works with emergency responders, and local high schools to offer emergency response training to students. These Clubs offer students CPR certification, and training in other basic fire and medical response techniques.

The Director of the Office is appointed by the Governor on recommendation of the Board of County Commissioners (Code Public Safety Article, sec. 14-109).


For the Western Region of Maryland (Allegany, Garrett & Washington counties), the Deputy State Fire Marshal serves as an assistant to the State Fire Marshal, and investigates and enforces laws regarding arson, fire prevention, the installation and maintenance of fire detection and extinguisher equipment, the availability and adequacy of fire exits at public and commercial establishments, and the storage, sale, or use of explosives and combustibles (Code Public Safety Article, sec. 6-305).

The Deputy State Fire Marshal is appointed by the State Fire Marshal (Code Public Safety Article, sec. 6-303).

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