Dog Limit Per Household: How Many Dogs Can You Own

Part one of our series focused on our “magical” number of dogs and how crucial it is to maintain that number.

We need to bring the “law” into the picture now that we’ve analyzed the problem and perhaps determined what that number is.

All cities and counties have rules that govern your phone numbers. For example, if you live inside city borders, you may be required to pay a municipal dog license for each of your dogs, as well as a dog tag. The license may only be valid for a year, however other localities provide them for longer. Expect to pay a higher licensing fee if your dog is not spayed or neutered. This was the situation in every city I checked…an intact dog costs more.

If you reside in the city boundaries and have a complaint about your dogs from a neighbor or another party, there are repercussions for not having your dog registered. Whether there is a complaint, the first thing they will do is check to see if your dog is licensed. When it comes to cities, most have a certain number that you are “allowed” to acquire. I spoke with numerous city Town Halls, and the maximum number of pets permitted is either 4 or 5. Everyone I talked with believed the number is legally binding.

Years ago, I knew someone who exhibited Boston Terriers. She resided in a region where her phone number could not be more than five. As you may be aware, a privacy fence may give a little “peep” hole through which to observe how many dogs a person has run in and out during the day. If you walked down to her basement/grooming room, there was what I like to call a Boston Terrier bookshelf on the wall!! Custom-built crate stacks were affixed on the wall in a strange “throne-like” display of champions, veterans, and up-and-coming Bostons! They would enter the backyard in groups of four every couple of hours for recreation, leaving the neighbors in the dark. To the ordinary pet owner, Boston Terriers all look the same, therefore she had numbers in the high teens for years!!

This is an example of how individuals try to game the system; however, I would never want to be in that scenario, so when we were searching for land to build on years ago, we picked 4 acres that were classified “agricultural.” We have roughly eight homes in our area, and we are all designated the same way, so any of us may have as many animals as we want. Some have chosen horses, some pygmy goats (I believe he has 40 or 50 of them!) and myself…dogs! Despite the fact that we are classified as agricultural, I must get a “kennel permit” every year for $25.00. I have the choice between a small kennel for 15 or fewer pets and a big kennel for up to 50 dogs. I’ve always bought the small kennel license. They provide each dog with a dog tag and papers that may be framed and displayed in your kennel. Of course, this applies to my own pets. If someone wanted to board dogs and run a typical boarding kennel, they would need to go to the Area Plan Commission, where paperwork would be filled out and a hearing date would be scheduled. When applying for a kennel business permit, all residents within a certain radius would be informed of the hearing by certified letter. They might present if they want to object to the facility, and after the hearing, a decision on whether to award the kennel license is made.

This leads us to “county” ordinances. Perhaps you live in the county outside of the city lines, but your property is classified as residential rather than agricultural. In this instance, you should contact your county government’s treasurer’s office or, in certain counties, the clerk’s office to get acquainted with the ordinances. Many counties have websites where you may visit and study the regulations governing the number of animals permitted in your region. Each time I started investigating a city or town for this information, I found myself making at least four phone calls. Don’t give up; they will ultimately get you to the correct office.

All of these rules change for various towns and counties around the nation, therefore it is critical that you contact your local area office personally rather than relying on what someone else has informed you. What applies to your friends who live 10 miles away may not apply to you depending on your zone and whether you are within or outside the city boundaries.

The “noise” ordinance is a rising one that is currently on the books. If you have more than one dog, you should pay special attention to this one.

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