Woman with Dog
Photo by Bryan Mitchell/AP Images for The HSUS

A strong foundation of animal management policies is essential for creating and sustaining humane communities. These policies should balance public health and safety with animal welfare needs, enabling harmonious co-existence between people and pets. The following set of ordinances adhere to the principles described in our toolkit, Municipal Pet Policy Toolkit, which can be downloaded for free below. Please note that many ordinances contain a mix of good and not-so-good language. We note good language and recommend that communities review the parts that are helpful and tailor them to meet the unique needs of your community. Remember—there is no one-size-fits-all policy. 

The basics: pet keeping policies

Managing dogs

Cat-friendly communities (for cats, wildlife and people)


Animal shelters and rescue groups

  • Gas chambers—California: 597u
  • Spay/neuter prior to adoption—Maine: §3939-A


Municipal Pet Policy Toolkit
Municipal Pet Policy Toolkit