Pet Laws

Pet Laws

There are many laws out there and most of us may not realize how many pertain to our pets.  Indiana’s laws are relatively lenient, considering some state even ban ownership of pets such as ferrets.  Indiana has no laws regulating ownership of common exotic animals, such as pet birds, domestic rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets and rodents.  Indiana also doesn’t not have a statewide dog leash statute.  But you should check with your local cities and towns to see if they have leash laws in the city limits.

Today will we just be discussing Indiana and Hamilton County Pet laws.  There are too many towns and cities to list all of those too.


Criminal Offenses Relating to Animals IC (Indiana Code) 35-46-3

  1. Harboring a non-immunized dog IC 35-46-3-1
  1. A person who knowingly or intentionally  harbors a dog that is over 6 months old and not immunized against Rabies commits harboring a non-immunized  dog law, a Class C infraction.  However, the offense is a Class B misdemeanor if the dog causes bodily injury by biting a person.
  2. Abandonment or Neglect of Vertebrate Animals IC 35-46-3-7
    1. Recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally abandons or neglects the animal; commits cruelty to an animal, which is a Class A Misdemeanor.
  3. Purchase or Possession of Animals for Fighting Contests IC 35-46-3-8
    1. A person who knowingly or intentionally purchases or possesses an animal for the purpose of using the animal in an animal fighting contest commits a Level 6 Felony.
  4. Promotion, Use of Animals, or Attendance with Animal at Animal Fighting Contest IC 35-46-3-9
    1. Same as number 3, a Level 6 Felony.
  5. Dog Bite Liability  IC15-20-1-3
    1. If a dog bites a person without provocation, the owner of the dog is liable for all damages suffered.
  6. Dog Bite Liability—Criminal Offense
    1. This can be a Class C Misdemeanor if the owner fails to restrain the dog intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly.  It can be raised to an A or B misdemeanor depending on the owner’s previous criminal record.
  7. Liability of Owner when a Dog Attacks Livestock
    1. If a dog kills or injures any livestock, the owner is liable for all damages sustained including reasonable attorney and court fees.  A person who observes a dog in the act of injuring or killing livestock may kill the dog if they have the consent of the owner of the property.

HAMILTON COUNTY LAWS:  Taken from the website 

Hamilton County Ordinance Title 15 pertaining to Hamilton County Animal Laws. 

These apply to dogs, cats, ferrets, etc.

  1. HCC 15-2.1-1-5  Vaccine for Dogs, Cats and Ferrets
  • Maximum Penalty  $500/Occurence  C Infraction
  • All dogs and cats three months of age and older must be vaccinated against rabies and it should be maintained.
  1. HCC 15-2.1-1-6  Cruelty/Abuse/Abandonment/Neglect
  • Maximum Penalty  $1000/Occurence, Removal of the Animal, B Infraction
  • Every act whereby unnecessary or unjustifiable pain, suffering or death is caused, permitted, or allowed to continue where there is reasonable remedy or relief…clean and sanitary condition and free from extreme and unreasonable objectionable odor all structures, pens, yards, and areas adjacent.
  1. HCC 15-2.1-1-9  Feral Cats
  • Maximum Penalty:  $500/Occurrence C Infraction
  • Caregivers of feral cat colony shall implement proper management and sterilization practices…sterilize adults…vaccinate all…remove kittens before 8 weeks to domesticate them…remove sick or injured…feed 365 days/year…ear tip…maintain records…register feral cat colony with Humane Society.
  1. HCC 15-2.1-1-10  Vicious Animals
  • B Infraction, $1000/occurrence; removal of the animal.
  • …unlawful for any person to cause, permit, accompany or be responsible for the presence of any vicious dog, cat or other animal on the streets or public places of the county or allow the animal to run on the premises of another at any time, unless, in addition to the other requirements of this chapter, such as dog, cat or other animal shall be securely muzzled.
  1. HCC 15-2.1-1-12a  Restraint of Animals
  • C Infraction  $500 per occurrence 
  • …unlawful for dog or cat  to run at large, whether wearing collar and tag or not, within incorporated or unincorporated areas…all such dogs found running at large…shall be immediately impounded by animal control unit or any police officer…may pursue animal onto private property to capture.

6.    HCC 15-2.1-1-12g  Restraint of Animal

  • C Infraction, $500 per occurrence
  • …chaining of dogs…reach fresh water/food 24 hours/day…chain at least 12 ft long…not of a weight heavy enough to cause damage to dogs neck or body…attached so it cannot wrap around vertical items such as barrel, pole, or tree…able to move freely in all directions…must have shelter from weather…free from entangled with the chain…access to shelter 24 hours/day…shelter clean/sanitary/in good repair so not injure itself on nails/wood pieces/metal etc.  A shelter provided during all seasons of the year.

7.    HCC 15-2.1-1-13   Public Nuisance Animal

  • B infraction, $1000 per occurrence, removal of animal
  • …repeatedly at large/or…damages property/or…is vicious…attacks without provocation/or…excessively makes disturbing noises…continued/repeated howl, bark, whine, or other causing unreasonable disturbance to neighbors or others close by/or…creates unsanitary conditions or offensive…odors in enclosures or surroundings and creates unreasonable disturbance/discomfort to neighbors/others in close proximity…

8.     HCC 15-2.1-1-16  Confine female dogs and cats in heat

  • C Infraction, $500 per occurrence
  • …confine the animal within a secure enclosure and in such a manner as to prevent it from becoming a nuisance and in such a manner so as to prevent it from becoming a nuisance and in such a manner as to prevent so  as to prevent conception except during planned breeding.

9.     HCC 15-2.1-1-18  Animal Waste

  • C Infraction, $500 per occurrence
  • …owner of every animal shall be responsible for the removal of any feces deposited by his animal on public property, public walks, public parks, beaches, recreation areas or private property of others…

10.   HCC 15-2.1-1-21  Animals in Vehicles

  • C Infraction, $500 per Occurrence
  • no animal…left unattended in a vehicle when conditions in vehicle would constitute a health hazard…(extreme heat or cold).  No animal transported in open vehicle unless confined in appropriate manner to prevent from jumping from vehicle or being thrown from vehicle in an accident/rapid stop/other use of vehicle which could cause injury to the pet.  No animal shall be transported in the trunk of any vehicle.

11.   HCC 15-2.1-1-23  Sterilization of Dogs and Cats Required

  • C Infraction, $100 to $500 per Occurrence
  • …dog and cat over age of 6 months…in the county shall have been sterilized…unless a veterinarian has certified in writing that it would not be in the animal’s best medical interest until 9 months…unless owner does have a current and valid intact breeder’s permit…from division of animal control…

I know this has been a large post and a ton of information. The goal is not to scare you, but to educate you that having a pet is not just a fun thing. They require love, health, discipline and respect. Just like a child, you as the owner are responsible for what your pet does.

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