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You are here: Information Center >> Pets and Animals >> Restrictions on Pet Ownership

Restrictions on Pet Ownership

Many regulations have arisen over the years restricting the ownership of pets in an effort to protect both humans and animals, and also to maintain some sense of peace in the community. For example, some states do not allow exotic animals to be kept as pets because the animal could either injure its owner or another, and also because the animal may not be properly cared for outside of its natural environment.

My neighbor has six dogs and seven cats! Is that against the law?

It depends on where you live. Many (but not all) towns and cities have enacted regulations regarding pet ownership, specifying how many animals a person can own and even regulating the types of pets that a person can have. If your city has enacted pet ownership regulations, then your neighbor might be violating a local ordinance.

TIP:Research the local ordinances in your city to find out whether there are any specific regulations regarding pet ownership. You can find a copy of your city’s ordinances in your local library, and possibly on the Internet.

My town council is proposing to ban pit bulls. Can it do that?

Yes. This is called a "breed ban" because it bans (or restricts) the ownership of a certain breed of dog, and it will probably be upheld. Municipalities in 44 states currently have breed bans in effect. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the enactment of breed bans because they target all dogs of a specific breed, even though not all dogs of a breed are dangerous. If you want to oppose the enactment of the ban, you can contact lawmakers in your area and voice your opinion.

TIP:For a current list of municipalities that have breed ban legislation, visit www.understand-a-bull.com/BSL/Locations/USLocations.htm.

Is it legal to have exotic animals in my home?

It depends on where you live. Most states and municipalities have laws regarding exotic — some place restrictions on the ownership of exotic animals (such as licensing requirements or setting standards for animal care), while others completely ban exotic pets, usually in an effort to protect the public from animal attacks and to protect the animals themselves.

TIP:Contact your local Humane Society for a list of animals that may not be kept as pets. For more information on the Humane Society, or to find one in your area, visit www.hsus.org.