A. The Department may impose a civil penalty on a shelter that violates the requirements of this chapter or Agriculture Article, §2-1704, Annotated Code of Maryland, which requires shelters to adopt a written protocol for reclaiming animals, up to $500 for each violation.
B. Before imposing any civil penalty under this chapter, the Department shall consider the following:
(1) The nature and gravity of each violation;
(2) The willfulness of the violation and the extent to which the existence of the violation was known to the shelter but uncorrected by the shelter; and
(3) A history of prior violations, if any.
C. The Department shall issue a written notice of violation to the shelter owner upon finding that a violation has occurred or is ongoing. The written notice of violation shall include:
(1) A statement of the regulation violated by the shelter;
(2) A description of the evidence of a violation;
(3) A statement informing the shelter of the right to an informal meeting with the Department;
(4) The amount of the proposed civil penalty;
(5) A statement of the remedial action necessary to bring the shelter into compliance; and
(6) A reasonable amount of time, as determined by the Department, to correct a violation.
D. A shelter may petition the Department for a contested case hearing on a violation and penalty within 30 calendar days of the issuance of the notice of violation by the Department.
E. Unless a shelter requests a contested case hearing, the shelter shall promptly pay the penalty. Payment of a penalty is not a substitute for compliance. If the shelter continues to violate this chapter, the Department may impose additional civil penalties.