XV. Companion Animals


GHI members shall consider the size of their living space when choosing companion animals. GHI members are bound the Animal Control Ordinances of the City of Greenbelt and Prince George's County. State Law makes animal abuse a felony. Psychological, emotional, and physical abuse and neglect of animals violates State, County and City laws as well as our GHI regulations. GHI management may call upon the City or County for enforcement. Complaints to GHI Management concerning companion animals must be in writing and signed by the complainant whose identity will be kept confidential up to such time it is deemed irresolvable and is referred to the Member Complaints Panel in accordance with GHI Member Complaints Procedures. As citizens of Prince George's County, members also have the option of calling the city or county agencies direct to voice complaints. Any incident involving an animal bite should be reported directly to the Greenbelt Police.

Offices to call:
GHI Member Services-Mon-Fri - 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (301) 474-4161
City of Greenbelt, Animal Control Officer, Mon-Fri - 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m (301) 474-6124
Prince George's County Animal Management Division (301) 780-7200
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) (301) 262-5625

The City of Greenbelt maintains a dog park where guardians may exercise their dog off leash. For information on this facility call 301-345-5417.
Companion animal guardians are reminded that there are yard standards that must be maintained.
Members are reminded that wildlife should remain in the wild. Wildlife in need of rescue should be referred to the appropriate rescue agencies. Members are advised not to feed strays but to call Animal Control.

    1. Guardian: Member or occupant who keeps or has an animal(s) in his/her care.
    2. Custodian: Member or occupant who is responsible for care of an animal in the absence of a guardian.
    3. Companion Animal: Any domestic animal maintained in the GHI community.
    4. Control: A companion animal under the authority of a responsible person who can observe and take effective corrective action to prevent harm to people, animals or property or actions which create a nuisance.
    5. Nuisance: Any actions by companion animals that produce annoyance, inconvenience or discomfort to people and/or other companion animals and/or harm to property, e.g. prolonged barking.
    6. Vicious or Dangerous Companion Animal: Any companion animal that constitutes a physical threat to people or other animals by virtue of specific training or demonstrated behavior.
    7. Abuse/Neglect: Any activity which causes the animal harm, pain, suffering or death including failure to provide proper water, food or shelter, protection from the weather, air, light, space, grooming or veterinary care.
    8. Chaining or Tethering: The act of fastening a companion animal to an object. These terms do not include when companion animals are being walked on a leash.
    9. Pit Bulls: Pit bulls are defined as Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breed, American Staffordshire Terrier Breed, American Bull Terrier Breed.
    1. *No person residing in GHI shall own, harbor, or keep any dog, cat or ferret over the age of four (4) months unless the companion animal is licensed by the County and has a current rabies vaccination.
    2. *Members shall provide their companion animals with proper care and humane treatment including: fresh food, fresh water, shelter, protection from the weather, light, air, space, exercise, transportation, grooming, and veterinary care.
    3. Tethering and chaining of companion animals is prohibited within GHI.
    4. All companion animals within GHI must be sheltered inside the home when the guardian/custodian is not on the premises.
    5. *Members must be in control of their companion animals at all times. Members must not allow companion animals to be-at-large. When off the guardian's or custodian's property, companion animals must be on leash. This includes cats.
    6. *Members must not allow their companion animals to become or create a nuisance, including interfering with the freedom of movement of persons providing appointed services.
    7. Companion animal guardian's/custodians shall keep their unit and yard clean and sanitary and promptly remove and dispose of feces deposited by their companion animal(s) in both their own and other members yards and common areas, including on sidewalks.
    8. Members are prohibited from owning or harboring vicious or dangerous animals.
    9. *Animals must not be confined in a vehicle when such confinement endangers their health and welfare.
    10. *Anyone keeping or harboring five or more animals larger than a guinea pig and over the age of four months must first obtain a County animal hobby permit.
    11. Hunting, slaughtering, or field dressing (i.e. hanging animal carcasses, skinning, butchering, etc.) is prohibited within yard, common areas, and woodlands of GHI. No animal parts may be disposed of within yards, common areas, and woodlands of GHI.
    12. *Pit bulls are defined as Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breed, American Staffordshire Terrier Breed, and American Bull Terrier Breed.  Pit Bulls are illegal in Prince George's County.  No person residing in GHI shall own, harbor, or keep any pit bulls.
    13. No person shall own, keep or harbor an agricultural or farm animal within GHI, as defined by Prince George's County law.  This includes, but is not limited to, all livestock, poultry, horses, cattle, sheep and swine.
  3. * Indicates regulation in City or County requirement

    1. A complaint, in writing, is received from a member or other source, such as a postmaster or GHI personnel.
    2. Investigation is made by GHI. When appropriate the GHI Companion Animal Committee will conduct a follow up in order to educate the guardians regarding their responsibilities and to review their options.
    3. If the guardian is unresponsive to GHI's and/or the Companion Animal Committee's efforts, a letter is sent to the offending member advising of the results of the investigation and, based upon verification of compliant, a directive is sent that the problems must be taken care of, or the matter will be referred to the Member Complaints Panel. GHI Management has the option to also request the Animal Control Commission to write a letter to the guardian requesting the guardian to comply with the County's and City's regulations.
    4. If the complaint is based on problems other than biting, a letter is sent to complainants advising what action was taken and a request is made that if problems persist to advise GHI. This letter will alert members of other option vis-a-vis the City and County regulations.
    5. Complaints continue - At this time the Member Complaints Panel will hear both sides.
    6. Member Complaints Panel will take one of the following actions:
      1. Work towards a mutual agreement
      2. Recommend to the Board the termination of contract
      3. Write the Animal Control Commission requesting a hearing before that body seeking County penalties and sanctions to be used against the offending member.
    7. Problem continues - Offending member appears in an Executive Session of the GHI Board of Directors for informal or formal hearing, which may result in termination of Mutual Ownership Contract.