6 Legal Tips For Pet Owners

legal pet tipsFor many people, a pet is as much a part of the family as a sibling, parent, or child.  It only makes sense then, that a pet can bring legal issues to your family as much as any family member can. There’s nothing we can do about the stains on your rug, but we can offer several suggestions to keep your pets from creating legal issues.  With this beautiful summer weather, our pets have more interaction with friends and neighbors.

1. Keep your pet under control at all times. Most jurisdictions impose legal responsibility on pet owners for injuries caused by their pets, either to humans or other animals. If your pet has any history of aggressive behavior, biting, or attacking people or pets, it is important to keep your pet on a short leash (pun intended) and warn people of potential issues before approaching. If your pet has posed a danger to people or animals in the past and continues to cause problems, not only will you be paying for any damage or injuries, but the state could seek to have your pet put down.

2. Follow your state and local laws regarding pet ownership.

  • Does your locality have a leash law? Does your locality require a pet tag or license and various vaccinations? Complying with pet laws will help you avoid citations and court appearances.
  • Does your locality enforce pet “nuisance laws”? These may include ordinances prohibiting excessive barking and require cleaning up after your pets. Complying with these rules will also help you avoid fines and potential problems with neighbors.
  • Do you intend to breed your pet? Laws governing breeding vary greatly between localities and states. If you plan to breed your pet make sure you understand the laws or rules in your locality.
  •  If you are not clear about the regulations governing pet ownership in your local area, call your veterinarian or your state representative.

3. Stay calm and rational when involved in a disagreement over a pet. Whether you are the pet owner or have been injured by someone else’s pet, it is important to handle the situation in a civil manner. Pet disputes can escalate quickly and lead to prolonged and unnecessary legal actions.

4. If you rent a home or apartment review the terms of your lease in regards to pets. Violating the terms of the lease agreement can cause you to forfeit your deposit or force you to look for a new home. Many municipalities and homeowners associations have begun placing restrictions on the size and type of dog permitted. Some refuse to permit cats for fear of damage and odor caused by litter boxes.

5. Read all pet insurance terms and conditions before you sign up to determine if the policy covers areas that concern you most. Review the cost of the policy and talk to your vet about the typical treatments associated with the care of your animal.

6. It is generally not recommended to put instructions for the care of a family pet in your will. If you are concerned about planning for your pet’s care after your death, contact our office to discuss your options with an attorney who understands the laws in your state or province.

If you are faced with any of these issues involving your pet, please call our office and we can help.


Posted on December 9, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on 6 Legal Tips For Pet Owners.

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