Full Title Name:  How to Search for Your Municipality's Animal-Related Ordinances

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Rebecca F. Wisch Place of Publication:  Michigan State University College of Law Publish Year:  2005 Primary Citation:  Animal Legal & Historical Center

This document briefly explains how one may search for electronic versions of his or her municipality's animal control ordinances over the Interent.

 The advent of the Internet has made it possible for more people to quickly and easily learn about their local municipal codes.  Many cities, township, counties, and towns now post their municipal ordinances on their own websites or subscribe to an indexing company that develops and electronic version of the municipal code.  All citizens should keep abreast of provisions contained in their local codes, especially as they concern companion animals, for it is often said that, "ignorance is no defense under the law."  Sadly, ignorance may lead to impoundment of a beloved animal companion or much worse.

Perhaps the easiest place to begin the search for your municipality's animal control ordinances is to go its website directly.  From there, look for a chapter or title (a section of the municipal code devoted to a topic) entitled "Animals" or even "Dogs and Cats."  If your code does not contain such an obvious starting point to look for animal-related ordinances, look under the portions of the code entitled "Health and Safety" or "General Welfare Provisions."  If that fails to yield a result, try any search options that may accompany the code and enter the term "animal" or "dog."

If your municipality does not have a website, you may try the website listed below.  This site contains most states, but only a few of the codes within each state (usually larger municipalities):


Finally, if all else fails, try calling your city, township, or county office to see if they could provide you with a link to an electronic version or even mail a hard copy of the provisions.  A little research may save a lot of future heartache and frustration!


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