Obeying the Law


Every dog owner knows that they must be a good citizen and abide by the local and state laws and ordinances. Wherever you live, it is a good idea to have a short list of requirements as soon as you decide to have a pet. You can then meet each obligation in stride.

In Utah, there are a range of duties requiring attention. They are probably similar in every state, so have a look and go on to your own state website. Often the legal terms are extensive, so I would opt for an interpreted roster for easy reading. In addition, you will want to know about local shelters for potential adoptions, dog parks, training schools, and general animal services.

Cities and counties require licenses dogs in public places for owners 18 years and older. They are to be renewed annually and are obtained within 30 days of possession of the animal. Application forms include name, address, and telephone number of owner, breed, color, rabies and sterilization information, and any identifying marks.

Spayed and neutered pets will have certification of the surgery by a licensed veterinarian.

There is no limit on the number of pets that can be owned provided they are all licensed. Laws prohibit abandonment in unsafe places without food, shelter, and water. They also prevent physical abuse and neglect.

Exotic animals that are prohibited are enumerated in laws and ordinances and include endangered species. Animals that present a danger to life, health, or property, include wild animals such as bears, alligators and crocodiles, raccoons, skunks, venous fish, weasels and snakes. (Your Corgi definitely will not want to share quarters with any of these!)

The Office of Animal Services controls the above laws, sets impounding laws, and is responsible for the maintenance of shelters. They issue tags to be attached to dog collars and commercial permits as well as take reports of animal attacks, bites, and motor vehicle accidents. If you are a responsible Corgi owner, you will want to hear no more about impounding rules! (There are, of course, fees, and daily boarding charges.)

Nuisance laws also come under the local jurisdiction. Simply do not allow your pet to do his or her business on others’ property; cause unsanitary conditions; bark, whine, or howl interminably; molest passerbys; attack other animals; roam freely more than 3 times per year; or generally pose any kind of threat to public health, safety, and welfare. Female dogs in heat create a scent that may incite domestic male dogs and must be confined during this time. A side note: designated dog parks do allow animals to run freely such as Jordan Park, Lindsay Gardens, and parts of Parley’s historic nature park. If you chain or tether a dog, it must not be able to go beyond your property line.

Statutes are extensive and only the basics are listed in this blog. There are also regions where dogs are prohibited such as watershed areas. Included on the list are Big Cottonwood Canyon, Parley’s Canyon, and Little Cottonwood Canyon. Check your county on line for any supplementary ordinances in your specific area.