©Scott Sheaffer, CDBC, CPDT-KA, USA Dog Behavior, LLC
Every large city has animal ordinances (regulations) regarding the care, treatment and control of dogs. Violating these regulations can result in a citation or even criminal prosecution.
I’ve worked with animal services in different cities and find that many of the local residents aren’t aware of some of the more obscure, but important, animal ordinances for their city.
Below I’ve selected and summarized 10 frequently overlooked, but significant, ordinances from the City of Dallas, Texas Code of Ordinances (Chapter 7, Animals). If you’d like to read the full text of these and other ordinances please see City of Dallas, Texas Code of Ordinances (Chapter 7, Animals).
These ordinances specifically apply to dog owners living in the city of Dallas, Texas. Animal ordinances found in other cities are normally similar to these.
1) SEC. 7-2.4. QUARANTINE OF ANIMALS.
Short Version: An owner has to quarantine his dog if it bites or scratches a human.
2) SEC. 7-2.5. IMPOUNDMENT OF ANIMALS.
Short Version: If a dog is off-leash and not fenced, the police can impound the dog.
3) SEC. 7-3.1. PROPER RESTRAINT.
Short Version: A dog cannot be on a tie-out or chained in a lawn for more than 3 hours in a 24-hour period.
4) SEC. 7-3.5. TRANSPORTING AN ANIMAL IN AN OPEN BED OF A MOTOR VEHICLE.
Short Version: A dog cannot be transported in the bed of a pickup truck.
5) SEC. 7-4.6. LIMITATION ON THE NUMBER OF DOGS AND CATS IN DWELLING UNITS.
Short Version: An owner can have a maximum of: 4 dogs in an apartment, 6 dogs in a house, and 8 dogs if the home has more than ½-acre of property. If the owner has any cats, they are subtracted from these numbers.
6) SEC. 7-4.8. DEFECATION OF DOGS ON PUBLIC AND PRIVATE PROPERTY; FAILURE TO CARRY MATERIALS AND IMPLEMENTS FOR THE REMOVAL AND DISPOSAL OF DOG EXCRETA.
Short Version: Owners have to pick up after their dogs or risk a citation.
7) SEC. 7-4.10. RESTRICTIONS ON UNSTERILIZED DOGS AND CATS.
Short Version: It is an offense if any dog is not neutered with the following exceptions: under 6 months old, health reasons, non-fertile, for sale, used in competition, service dog, owner has valid intact (i.e., not neutered or spayed) animal permit.
8) SEC. 7-7.2. SALE OF ANIMALS FROM PUBLIC PROPERTY.
Short Version: Dogs cannot be sold on public property unless the property has a valid certificate of occupancy allowing the sale of animals on the property. Animal adoption organizations are exempted from this ordinance.
9) SEC. 7-7.4. DISTURBANCE BY ANIMALS.
Short Version: If an owner’s dog barks more than 15 consecutive minutes, he is in violation of this ordinance and a complaint can be filed.
10) SEC. 7-8.3. PARENT’S ULTIMATE RESPONSIBILITY.
Short Version: If a minor owns a dog, the minor's parents or guardians are ultimately responsible for the dog and are liable for any violations by the minor.
In my opinion, most of these are just good common sense when it comes to the care and handling of dogs. But, sadly, some people don’t care for their dogs in responsible ways, forcing cities to create ordinances like these.