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MAIN Arrow to Home Life Home Life Arrow to Legal Advisor Home Legal Guide Arrow to Pets Pet & Animal Laws

labrador retrieversThere are a myriad of different laws governing both how pets and animals are treated, generally lumped into a category of law called animal welfare. Another set of laws has to do with public safety -- or protecting people from pets.

They regulate pet ownership, pet breeders, pet store owners, veterinarian practices, and cross over into public transportation and rental housing law.

Protecting pets from people

For a number of good reasons, illegal pet trade laws protects endangered species, or non-domesticated wildlife animals from being kept as pets worldwide.

In the US at the federal level, the Animal Welfare Act has been on the books since 1966. It regulates the use of animals in research, and governs how animals are transported, exhibited for sale, and treated by dealers.

Pet laws vary by state, although most of them govern many of the same issues ranging from animal cruelty laws to abandonment.

Due to recent outrage from dog lovers, laws that protect dogs in puppy mills along with pet lemon laws to protect unway consumers have also been enacted.

Protecting people from pets

Pets are our friends and affectionate companions. Dogs, especially, are thought of as protectors and members of the family. Cats demand to be treated like royalty, and often are, while they remain the darlings of viral YouTube videos worldwide.

Sometimes, however, trouble arises when pet owners are either uninformed or completely ignore local pet laws. For example, when they allow their untrained pets to run loose in the community (NOTE: our canine friends, ironically, are the No. 1 reason for lawsuits against pet owners and, not surprisingly, dog bites remain the top complaint.) Sometimes, tenants will simply ignore a landlord's "no pets" policy.

Finally, it doesn't take too much common sense to see why certain animals will always be on the "prohibited" list of pets that pose a threat to public safety. These include -- but certainly are not limited to -- poisonous snakes, tarantulas, snapping turtles, alligators, chimpanzees, lions, tigers, squirrels, skunks and raccoons.

Laws that apply to exotic pets also vary from state to state. These are animals not commonly thought of as house pets (although, today, most are legal to own in many areas, but check first) - such as ferrets, hedgehogs, pygmy goats, pot-belled pigs, some exotic cats, lizards, and pet snakes.

also see -> US Landlord Tenant Law

More about pet laws around the Web:

Elsewhere on the Web, find out more about pets and the law including facts, information and advice on local ordinances for keeping and licensing pets, related state and federal legislation, along with tips on what to do if faced with legal issues surrounding a pet belonging to you or a neighbor next door ....

Michigan State University College of Law: Animal Legal & Historical Web Center
- One-stop browsing for a host of related laws, ordinances and information pertaining to U.S. and U.K. including a map detailing the veterinary laws of all 50 states, pet sales & pet purchase protection laws, "no pets" landlord policies, the illegal pet trade, cat ownership and related topics.

Free Information on Pet, Dog, Cat and Horse Laws - Online library of articles including information on pet lemon laws, tenant & housing law, pet estate planning, exotic pets, and related health tips and advice.

Dog Owner's Guide - Canine Issues - An archive of informative articles on laws, regulations, and ordinances governing dog ownership including pit bull ownership, how to report an illegal puppy mill, related information on animal rights, and suggested reading.


The information provided on these pages is intended as reference
only and does not constitute professional legal advice.


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