15 Weird Dog Laws You Didn’t Know Existed in America
Your pup feels like part of the family, but alas, the law considers him “property,” which explains how any of these weird dog laws can possibly exist.
Pit bulls no, snakes yes
In Minot, North Dakota, it is illegal to own or otherwise harbor a pit bull, including pitbull hybrids, bull terriers, and Staffordshire Terriers, a breed the American Kennel Club (AKC) describes as “lovable.” If you get caught with a pit bull, you’ll be required to remove it from the city limits or risk its being killed. Just to be clear, this law unqualifiedly bans pit bulls, without regard to your particular pitbull’s disposition. In fact, there’s a separate Minot law banning dangerous/aggressive dogs. Oh, but Minot does allow pet snakes.
Other breed bans
Minot is far from the only place singling out certain breeds. According to this interactive map, a total of 354 municipalities ban pit bulls. Of those, 233 also ban Rottweilers, which is a pity for anyone who loves Rotties, which the AKC also describes as “loving.” And according to the ASPCA, other dogs that are banned (or regarded as “vicious”) in various municipalities across America include German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, and any dog that looks like any of those dogs.
Doggie crowding laws
County and municipal governments tend to have a say in how many dogs you can have in your house. Where the max is five, as it is in Currituck County, North Carolina, many people won’t come close to hitting that ceiling. But in places like Roeland Park, Kansas, where you aren’t allowed to keep more than two dogs of six months age or older, at least not without a special permit, you can easily run afoul of the law.
No playing “chase”
It’s not that you can’t play “chase” with your dog in the state of Pennsylvania. But if your dog is seen chasing you by someone who doesn’t quite understand the dynamic, that person can legally shoot your dog, according to Findlaw.com. Check out these other things you never knew were banned in America.
Doggie seatbelt laws
Some recent changes to New Jersey’s laws regarding the treatment of animals has dog-owning motorists concerned that the state will impose penalties on drivers with unrestrained dogs in the car. According to Lombardo Law Group, the fines range from $250 to $1,000 per offense. “If you have more than one animal loose in your car, just do the math,” police superintendent Col. Frank Rizzo said. He clarified that it’s really for everyone’s safety. “Dogs and cats become projectiles in a crash.” To prevent the worst, keep your dog in a crate or pick up a doggie seat belt.
You might have to do something really gruesome
In Crawford County, Georgia, a police officer forced a man to cut off his own dog’s head, under threat of arrest, Snopes.com confirms. A sheriff’s deputy arrived at Joe Nathan Goodwin’s house to investigate a report of the dog bitting a neighbor, and when the dog charged, the deputy fatally shot it. County law requires all dogs who bite to be tested for rabies, and testing can be done with only the animal’s head if it is deceased. What the law does not require, however, is the dog owner to decapitate his own pet, as a police investigator ordered Goodwin to do. But that doesn’t matter much after the fact, does it?
Smelly dogs must go
In an ordinance entitled “Noise, odor, and the like,” the local laws of Galesburg, Illinois, state that “no person shall keep or maintain any animal, poultry or fowl in such a manner to cause inconvenience or disturbance to other persons by reason of noise, odor, or other cause.” In other words, give your pooch a bath! Don’t miss the 53 mistakes almost every dog owner makes.
No annoying dogs
Some people claim that Hartford, Connecticut, specifically prohibits the education of dogs. We looked for such an ordinance but could find none. What we did find is that the capital of the Nutmeg State is sensitive to the problem of annoying dogs, which is to say that dogs with a habit of annoying people, cars, or other animals on city highways will not be tolerated under Section 22-362 of the municipal law. Any dog owner who allows their dog to be habitually annoying will be guilty of a misdemeanor.
No chasing deer
In Massachusetts, it’s illegal to allow your dog to chase a deer. We’d call that a good thing, as the deer is probably faster.
No dogs in elevators
Glendale, California’s animal control laws specifically prohibit dog owners from bringing their dogs into elevators in public buildings. Service dogs are exempt, and that may be the point of this law: to make it easier for service dogs, including emotional support dogs, to do their jobs. These are the 30 things your dog wishes you knew.