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  • Whitney Rodriguez

Pet Parent’s Guide to Local Pet Ordinances

As pet owners, we all strive to maintain the best possible care for our furry family members. Aside from general daily care, it is also our responsibility to become familiar with and comply with local pet ordinances. These laws are put into place by the state to ensure safety for the public, the community and its pets! That said, pet owners must be aware of the local ordinances listed below, but make sure to check with your local offices for the most up-to-date rules and regulations in your community.

Dog Licensing and Tags

Dogs seven months and older are required to obtain a license from their local municipality. Licensing informs your city or town that your animal is vaccinated against rabies but also helps reunite your pet if they ever get lost! Municipal licensing fees are set by municipal ordinance and can range from $1.50 to $21.00 per dog. Fees from the licensing process aid in other initiatives to help local pets, such as low-cost clinics and public dog parks. You can check in with your town's Division of Environmental Health for more information on obtaining a license. It is also important to know the licenses must be renewed annually. Many places make it easy and even allow you to apply by mail!


Don’t Forget to Scoop the Poop!

For sanitation and disease prevention, pet owners must clean up after their animals and dispose of the waste appropriately. Failing to do so could result in some pretty hefty fines starting at $200. And if you need more reasons why you shouldn’t forget to scoop the poop, read our article here for some not-so-obvious but very important reasons.


Obey the Leash Law

For the safety and consideration of dogs and their owners, all dogs must be restrained on a leash no longer than six feet while in public spaces. Except for public dog runs, leashes are a requirement. Leashes protect your dog and others from unwanted interaction that could result in fights and/or severe injury (some dogs do not like other dogs!). We recommend a standard 4’ or 6’ flat leash rather than a retractable or “flexi-leashes,” which have been known to cause injuries as they create too much distance between you and the dog.


Report Abandonment

Aside from being cruel and unfair, abandoning any domesticated animal can result in a guilty charge of "disorderly persons offense" accompanied by fines of up to $1,000 and possible jail time. If you come across an abandoned animal, notify your local animal control immediately.


Found Animals Must be Reported

Any animal that is found must be reported to your local animal control. Municipal animal control facilities are typically a central hub for lost and found pet information, so this is the first place someone might go in search of their missing pet! It is a local animal shelter's responsibility to hold the animal for a certain period (often a week) before they can legally put the dog up for adoption or rescue replacement. If you cannot get in touch with your local animal control, you can bring the pet to a nearby animal shelter or vet clinic to scan for a microchip.


Animal Bites

Being bitten by an animal can result in the transmission of infectious and possibly dangerous diseases; for these reasons, all bites must be reported to the Department of Health. Animals who have bitten must undergo a mandatory quarantine to monitor for signs of rabies, regardless of if the animal has been previously vaccinated.


Avoid Indoor Dining with your Pets

To prevent animal waste from coming into contact with food, this law forbids animals in restaurants, grocery stores, and cafes (the only exception being service dogs). Want to enjoy Sunday Brunch with your pup? Call ahead to check in and see if any outdoor areas are accessible for your dog and dine al fresco!


Resources for More Guidance

Knowing the departments within your local government to go to when seeking help is important. Your local Division of Environmental Health will be able to provide you with information on how to get your dog licensed, and the Department of Health is who you should notify if bit by an animal. Contact your local animal control division when you find a missing pet, as they can help reunite with the owner. If you cannot get in contact with an animal control officer, you can contact your nearest veterinarian to see if they can help scan for a microchip. And if you haven't gotten your pet microchipped you can visit your vet or check out local animal shelters for microchipping!


We’re happy to bring informative content your way to ensure our pets are safe and healthy. Make sure to follow @BarkBuildings on Instagram for more tips! Or, if you live in a Bark Building, you can always reach out to your Pet Concierge for more guidance on pet ordinances in your local community.

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