District of Columbia

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Titlesort descending Summary
DC - Exotic Pets - § 8-1808. Prohibited conduct. This DC law outlines things an owner or custodian is prohibited from doing with regard to his or her animal. Among them is that an owner or custodian shall not allow his or her animal to go at large. An owner or custodian shall not leave his or her animal outdoors without human accompaniment or adequate shelter for more than 15 minutes during periods of extreme weather, unless the age, condition, and type of each animal allows the animal to withstand extreme weather (excluding cats). The law also states that a person shall not separate a puppy or a kitten from its mother until the puppy or kitten is at least 6 weeks of age. Certain animals are prohibited from being possessed or sold in the District, which are outlined in subsection (j).
DC - Horses - Chapter 20. Horse-Drawn Carriages.

This DC regulation makes it unlawful to operate a horse-drawn carriage trade without a license and an ID card. The regulations forbid certain types of bits and require that each horse wear a diaper. Horses may not be worked or driven for more than 8 hours a day. Horses must be rested, provided with food and water. A violation of the regulations may result in a fine of $300 (1st offense). A serious intentional injury to the horse by neglect or inhumane treatment shall be fined up to $2,500.

DC - Impoundment - § 8-1805. Impoundment Under this law, the Mayor shall make a prompt and reasonable attempt to locate and notify the owner of the impounded animal, including scanning the animal for a microchip. The Mayor shall deem abandoned any animal impounded and not redeemed by its owner within 7 days of impoundment if such animal is wearing identification. Any animal impounded not wearing identification shall be deemed abandoned if not redeemed by its owner within 5 days of impoundment. An animal deemed abandoned shall become the property of the District of Columbia and may be adopted or disposed of in a humane manner.
DC - Municipalities - § 1-303.41. Regulations for the keeping, leashing, and running at large of dogs.

The following District of Columbia statute allows the council to make and the mayor to enforce regulations regarding leashing dogs in DC.

DC - Restaurant - Subchapter VII. Dining with Dogs. These laws from 2018 allow food establishments in D.C. to permit dogs in outdoor dining areas of food establishments or unenclosed sidewalk cafés. These establishments must post signage outside that states dogs are permitted along with any restrictions on dogs based on size or temperament. They must also provide an entrance that does not require dogs to enter an indoor dining area or an area in which food is being stored or prepared to access the outdoor dining area and provide patrons with waste bags and a means of proper disposal. Patrons must keep their dog in a carrier or on a leash at all times and never leave the dogs unattended.
DC - Trust for care of animal - Chapter 13. Uniform Trust Code.

This statute represents the District of Columbia's pet trust law.  The law provides that a trust may be created to provide for the care of an animal alive during the settlor's lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal or, if the trust was created to provide for the care of more than one animal alive during the settlor's lifetime, upon the death of the last surviving animal.

DC - Veterinary Issues - Title 3: District of Columbia Boards and Commissions (Chapter 5: Board of Veterinarian Examiners)


The purpose of these District of Columbia ordinances are to regulate the practice of veterinary medicine in the district, to protect the public from the practice of veterinary medicine by unqualified persons, and to protect the public from unprofessional conduct by persons licensed to practice veterinary medicine. To accomplish this purpose, these ordinances require a veterinarian to obtain a license to practice veterinary science from the mayor of the district, as well as obtain a license to operate an animal facility; these ordinances also allow the mayor the discretion to require certification for veterinarian technicians. Additionally, these ordinances also provide penalties for those who practice without a license, license denial and revocations provisions, hearing and appeal procedures, the establishment of a board of veterinary examiners, and permitted practices without a license.

DC - Wildlife Control - Chapter 22 Wildlife Protection

The following D.C. statutes provide the legal requirements for wildlife control service providers, which are defined as operators of businesses which involve the charging of a fee for services in wildlife control. Specifically, these statutes provide provisions about capturing target animals and non-target animals, as well as indicating how often a wildlife control service providers must check their traps.

Detailed Discussion of D.C. Great Ape Laws Washington D.C. does not have any statutes or regulations that specifically address Great Apes. Instead, the District has a blanket ban on all animals that are not specifically exempt by statute. Because they are not exempt from the ban, it is illegal to import, possess, and sell gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, and gibbons within the municipality. The following discussion begins with a general overview of the various state statutes and regulations affecting Great Apes. It then analyzes the applicability of those laws to the possession and use of apes for specific purposes, including their possession as pets, for scientific research, for commercial purposes, and in sanctuaries.
Humane Society of the United States v. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service The Humane Society submitted two Freedom of Information Act requests to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. One was for site-inspection reports and the other was for inspection records for specific animal dealers and exhibitors. The Service released nine pages of inspection records in full but redacted information from the other 127 pages citing FOIA exemptions 6 and 7 that deal with privacy concerns. The Humane Society alleged that the redactions were improper and both parties filed Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment. The Court found that the bulk of the Service’s redactions were improper under exemption 6 because the information did not implicate a licensee’s personal privacy interests. Exemption 6 was meant to protect individuals from public disclosure of intimate details of their lives. Details about a business’ compliance with regulations and statutes does not relate to intimate personal details. It only relates to business activities. Information about business judgments and relationships do not qualify for redaction. However, a substantial privacy interest is anything greater than a de minimus privacy interest and the licensees and third-parties had more than a de minimus privacy interest in their names, addresses, and contact information. The licensees were also homestead businesses meaning that the location of their business also served as their residence. The Court weighed the privacy interest in non-disclosure against the public interest in the release of the records and ultimately found that although the licensees and third parties had a substantial privacy interest in their names, addresses, and contact information, they only had a de minimus privacy interest in the other information that they withheld from the reports. If no significant privacy interest is implicated, FOIA demands disclosure. The service was required to disclose all reasonably segregable portions of the records that do not include identifying information. The Court found the Humane Society’s argument unpersuasive that releasing the addresses of the licensees would serve the public interest. The Service properly withheld the licensees’ addresses and names of third-party veterinarians. Exemption 7 allows for agencies to withhold information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of those law enforcement records could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. The Humane Society argued that inspection reports are not compiled for law enforcement purposes because the existence of such a report does not, on its face, reveal that there is any particular enforcement or investigatory action occurring. The Court found that the inspection records relate to the Service’s responsibility to enforce the AWA and ensure that licensees are in compliance, therefore, there was a nexus between the reports and the Service’s law enforcement duties. The Court also conducted the same balancing test that they did with exemption 6 and held that the Service releasing information other than the licensees’ addresses and third parties’ names could not reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. The Service properly withheld the licensees’ addresses and contact information and despite the Service’s improper withholding of dates, inspection narratives, animal inventories, etc., the Court found that they had otherwise met their burden of releasing all reasonably segregable information. Both the Plaintiff’s and Defendant’s Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment were granted in part and denied in part.

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