Know Your Dog Laws

If you live in the city and own a dog, you should know your dog laws if you want your dog to stay out of trouble.

When you fall in love with a dog and bring it home, a visit from the police or a trip to a lawyer’s office is probably the furthest thing from your mind. But like many things in life, owning a dog comes with legal responsibilities, and if you avoid those responsibilities, you could find yourself in hot water, facing unpleasant and an expensive outcome. You’ve heard the old expression ” Ignorance of the law is no defense”, and it applies to handling your dog as much as it does to handling your own life.

Here are some basic dog laws you must be aware of when owning a dog.

License your dog
Dog owners are required to license their dogs with the city or, in unincorporated areas, the county.

Vaccinate for rabies
This is a requirement in most states, and you will need to supply proof of vaccination to obtain a license for your dog.

3. Clean up after your dog
Most cities require owners to clean up their dog’s poop immediately. If you‘ve ever stepped in dog poop, you know it’s the right thing to do anyway.

4. Obey leash laws
Leash laws are on the books for a good purpose. Using a leash is safer for you and your dog. Unleashed dogs can get hit by a car, run away or bite a person or other animal. Check your city’s official web site or call them to find out your city’s leash laws.

Landlords and pets
Don’t sign a lease that prohibits you from having a dog if you already own one or plan to adopt one soon. It will not matter if the landlord or manager verbally assures you that it’s okay. You may end up being evicted and having to hastily start searching for a new apartment that allows pets. The worst scenario and the most heartbreaking of all would be having to take your dog to an animal shelter out of sheer desperation. Moving is the number one reason people abandon their pets, and about half of those animals end up being euthanized.

Dog bites
You are legally responsible for keeping your dog from hurting people or damaging property. If you don’t, you may have to pay for someone’s medical bills, lost wages, and possibly even for “pain and suffering”. You could also be subject to a fine.

Dog barking
Most cities have ordinances against dogs going on bark-a-thons, or at least general noise ordinances that include loud barking dogs. If your dog repeatedly barks long and loud and someone complains, you could end up having to pay a fine or even worse, be forced to get rid of your dog.

Owning a dog requires that you know your dog laws and obey them. A pet dog always brings increased responsibilities to your life. Be sure you know what those responsibilities are and be prepared to handle them. Being a responsible dog owner is as important to the well-being of your dog as it is to you.