What do I need to know as a dog owner?
By Saint Paul Ordinance, your civil and legal duties as a dog owner include the following:
- Your dog must be licensed. Dogs three months of age and older are required to be licensed. The metal license tag must be affixed to a collar or harness. There are a variety of license types depending on if your dog is spayed, neutered, and/or microchipped.
- Dogs are not allowed to run at large. Animals in an unfenced yard that are not on a tie-out or leashed are considered running-at-large.
- Dog owners are required to dispose of all dog droppings. When you take your pet out for a walk, you are responsible for disposal of your dog's droppings. You must also remove dog droppings from your yard to keep odors and flies down.
- Be considerate of your neighbors and do not allow your dog to bark excessively. Saint Paul City Ordinance 200.14, makes it unlawful for any person to "own, keep, have in possession, or harbor any dog which howls, yelps, or barks to the reasonable annoyance of any other person or persons."
- If a complaint about a barking dog has been filed against you, a written advisement will be issued by one of our officers. If second and subsequent complaints are filed and a written advisement is on file at the Animal Control Center, further action will be taken.
- Every dog (and cat and ferret) four months of age and older must be vaccinated against rabies. A metal or durable plastic rabies vaccination tag must be worn by the pet whenever outside. Rabies vaccinations must be kept current.
- If you have more than four dogs, cats or other animals over 16 weeks old, you must get a Keeping of Animals Permit Application here.
Click here to see the full text of Saint Paul's Animal Ordinances.
For detailed information about external structures used for animals, including dog houses, review the Keeping of Animals Permit Application here.
Fences and Restraints
If you have an adequately fenced yard, you can allow your pet to roam free in the yard. An adequate fence means one that surrounds the yard and is high enough to keep the dog from jumping, with no holes or unsecured gates that the dog could push through.
Keep the area clean by disposing of droppings regularly. It is never a good idea to leave the animal unattended for extended periods of time. Unattended dogs may bark excessively, become bored and dig under or jump over fences, and are at risk for theft and attack from other animals (especially small dogs that may be seen as prey for wild animals, like birds of prey or coyotes).
Not every dog owner has a yard. If you don't have a yard at all, you must exercise your dog on a leash or at an off-leash dog park. Saint Paul Parks and Recreation operates public dog parks, and some apartments or condo associations also may have private dog parks for use by their residents.
Some dog owners have a yard but may not have a fence. If that's the case, a tie-out or tree-to-tree or house-to-garage wire with pulley or glide may be a good option.
Pet supply or hardware stores sell supplies to make a run or set up a secure tie-out. This will allow your dog to use your yard for exercise or toileting without a leashed walk or visit to the dog park. Tie-outs may not reach sidewalks, alleys, or neighboring properties.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Electronic fences are not legal restraints and may not be substituted for a fence in Saint Paul.
- Chains, tethers, and pulley systems can be used to confine your dog to your property for a maximum of two hours at a time. Complete rules for these systems can be found here.
- If you use Saint Paul's Off Leash Dog Parks make sure your dog is licensed, and review the Dog Park Rules and Etiquette before going.