Animal Laws and Ordinances


It is the responsibility of every animal owner to be aware of and know Federal and State laws as well as local ordinances as they pertain to animals under their care.

Please consult the appropriate Federal, State, County and City web sites for current animal laws and ordinances. Questions pertaining to specific statues should be directed to the agencies having authority of a particular law or ordinance.

Information contained on this web site is intended to provide general guidelines.

• Animal Abandonment
Anyone who willfully abandons an animal is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $1000 and up to 6 months in jail. (CA Penal Code Section 597s.)

• Barking Dogs
Any pet owner or custodian who allows a dog to bark continuously or for an extended period of time in a manner that annoys the neighbors and disturbs the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood may be guilty of allowing a public nuisance and punishable by a misdemeanor.

• Dangerous Dogs
Dogs that pose a danger to public safety may have restrictions placed on their continued ownership in the interest of public safety. In extreme circumstances, a dog determined to be vicious may be ordered destroyed.

• Defecation
Anyone walking a dog on any property other than their own must carry a suitable bag or container for the purposes of removing feces and to immediately remove any feces once deposited by their dog.

• Dogs in Open Vehicles
California requires any animal transported in the back of a vehicle “in a space intended for any load” on the highways to be either (1) cross tethered to the vehicle or (2) protected by a secured container or cage, to prevent the animal from falling, jumping, or being thrown from the vehicle (Cal. Vehicle Code § 23117). The animal does not have to be restrained if it is in an enclosed space in the vehicle or in a vehicle that has side and tail racks at least 46 inches high. The law does not apply to livestock or a dog that is transported for a ranching or farming purpose. A violation is punishable by a fine for the first offense and higher fines for a subsequent offense if it occurs within one year of the prior infraction (Cal. Vehicle Code § 42001.4).

• Exercise
Working animals shall be given adequate rest periods.  Confined or restrained animals shall be given exercise appropriate for the individual animals under particular conditions.

• Food and Water
Animals shall be provided with wholesome food and have potable water that is free from debris and readily accessible. Anyone who fails to provide adequate food and water to their animal is guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony and may be fined.

• Inhumane Treatment
Penal Code Sec. 597 prohibits the abuse, mistreatment, or torture of any animal or subjecting any animal to needless suffering.  These laws provide that no animal may be deprived of proper food, water, or shelter.  Violation of these laws can result in criminal charges, up to and including felony charges.  Please report any case of inhumane animal treatment.

• Leash Laws
It is not permissible to let your dog run at large on any streets, public places, or private property belonging to anyone other than you, day or night, with or without a license.

• Yearly Liscensing Requirement
All dogs or cats over the age of 4 months, or within 10 days of entering the jurisdiction, must be licensed annually and a tag must be securely affixed to the collar of the animal.

• Animal Limits
Some cities have limits on the number of specific animals that may be kept within the city limits.

• Microchips
A microchip is a small, electronic chip enclosed in a glass cylinder that's about the size as a grain of rice. The microchip itself does not have a battery, it's activated by a scanner that's passed over the area. The chip transmits the identification number to the scanner, which displays the number on the screen. Microchips help reunite pets with their owners.

• Providing Adequate Food and Water
Animals shall be provided with wholesome food and have potable water that is free from debris and readily accessible. Anyone who fails to provide adequate food and water to their animal is guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony and may be fined.

• Providing Proper Shelter
Anyone who fails to provide proper shelter or protection from the weather for their animal is guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony and may be fined.

• Public Nuisance
Any animal that harasses passerby or vehicles, attacks other animals, is repeatedly at large, continuously barks, or trespasses on school, public property, or private property will be considered a public nuisance.  It is a misdemeanor to continue to allow your animal to remain a public nuisance.

• Spay/Neuter
There is no law that requires spaying and neutering. However, it is a great and cost effective way to keep your pet healthy. Solano County SPCA offers a low cost spay/neuter clinic. You can contact them at 707-448-7722 or visit their website at www.solanospca.com.

• Strays
Any person taking up any stray domestic animal found running at large must notify the Department within four hours that they have the animal in their possession, provide a description of the animal, provide the location where the animal is being kept, and surrender the animal if demanded by the appropriate agency.

• Tethering
No person shall tether, fasten, chain, tie, or restrain a dog to a dog house, tree, fence, or any other stationary object for more than three hours in a 24-hour period.  Violation is an infraction or misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine or six months in jail or both.

• Vaccination Requirements
Rabies vaccinations are required for all dogs and cats 4 months of age or older. Failure to comply may result in a citation and a court appearance.  Vaccinations must be valid for the entire licensing period.

• Vehicles, Animals Inside
No person shall leave or confine an animal in an unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of the animal.

• Veterinary Care
Anyone who fails to obtain prompt and necessary veterinary care for a sick or injured animal is guilty of a misdemeanor or felony punishable by fines and/or imprisonment.