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Travel with Pets: Animal Laws You Should Be Aware Of

There is no question about it, traveling with a pet is a great thing. However, there are a number of laws you should be aware of. Study up on these laws, but of course, realize that the benefits far outweigh the potential drawbacks to traveling with your animal. First of all, the dog provides emotional support to a lot of different people. Individuals who suffer from such things as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, attention deficit disorder, and many other mental disorders. However, pet owners need to be aware of any ordinances in the place where they are traveling to and to understand that traveling with your animal free of any fines will remain a responsibility on your part.


Travel with Pets

Here are some of the typical animal ordinances you might come across.


All animals must have rabies vaccinations.


Nine times out of ten, any municipality you are traveling to (or through) will require that your pet has a current rabies vaccination. For example, the state of Illinois will require that all dogs 4 months of age or older must receive this rabies vaccination at least annually. State law also requires that these vaccinations be administered by a veterinarian who is fully licensed by the state.



Most municipalities have pet waste laws.



Across the country, there are many ordinances that prompt pet owners to clean up after their pets. Many local cities, towns, and municipalities do not want any type of pet waste to accumulate. This is because pet waste can spread disease not only to other dogs but to humans as well. It is for this reason that many areas have gotten very strict about the proper disposal of pet waste. For example, Seattle has some very direct environmental laws regarding this issue. If you are staying for a certain period of time and you allow pet waste to accumulate, it could be a civil infraction of $109.


If you do not remove that waste from someone else’s property this could be a civil infraction of $54. Seattle also will fine you if they believe you are keeping an animal in an unsanitary condition, and this could fall under their animal cruelty statute which would incur a maximum $1,000 fine. Going to the park? Please be aware that in Seattle it is also a $54 fine if you do not clean up after your pet. Of course, this is only one example. Some municipalities do not even have any laws on the books at all regarding this. However, it is simply being a responsible pet owner to be considerate of other people and clean up after your pet.



Be aware of the leash laws in many municipalities.



Leash laws have been established in almost every municipality in the United States. They are designated to maintain the safety of citizens and animals everywhere. Of course, in many areas of the country leash laws will vary, but almost all laws will maintain that dogs that are not on their owner’s personal property should be kept on a leash and under control in every circumstance. Of course, there are other leash laws that state dogs should be leashed only during certain times of the day. Moreover, there are variations that will allow for dog owners to have their dogs off the lease if they are completely under the owner’s control.


In these jurisdictions, failure to keep a dog leash will almost always result in a fine or a ticket. Fines will be established by any local government and they will need to be followed even if you are just visiting the area.



Many jurisdictions have dog bite statutes on the books.


Most often you will have pretty strict liability if your dog bites someone. However, you also need to be aware of when this comes into play. First of all, a dog bite statute usually only applies if the injured individual did not provoke the dog and if they were acting peacefully. Also, don’t bite statues do not necessarily stipulate a dog injuring someone else in this manner. They also can stipulate other types of injuries. For instance, there is such a thing as the “one-bite” dog rule, which stipulates that if the owner has reason to believe the dog might cause injuries to another individual, is up to them to go to reasonable measures to prevent it from happening.


Either way, the states that have strict liability dog bite statutes would include Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, California, Delaware, Connecticut, Illinois, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Nebraska. 


These are just a few of the laws you should be aware of when traveling with your pet. Of course, the laws are usually more strict when it comes to dogs. The best thing for you to be aware of is to fully research all of the stops you are going to take along the way while you are traveling. That way, you will not be hit unexpectedly by a fine should your dog misbehave within any particular area. Be careful and, as always, continue to enjoy the unconditional love you receive from your pet!


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Nia McKenna

Nia is an Associate Editor at The Fairytale Traveler and self diagnosed travel junkie. Having traveled to 5 of the 7 continents, her love of good food and culture is a force to be reckoned with. When she isn't off adventuring with her husband, which she writes about on her blog CircaWanderlust, she can be found with a good cup of tea cuddling her pups and taking pictures of her food. She loves black and white movies and could listen to Elvis on repeat.

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