Animal Control Laws- Click on a Question to Reveal the Answer

Is there a leash law in Columbus?

The technical answer is NO. A leash law requires that all pets be on a leash or lead or within a secure enclosure at all times. In theory, that is great. Is it enforceable, or realistic? No. This would mean if you were outside playing frisbee with your dog - it would have to be on a leash. Or, if your grandmother was working in her garden and her poodle was sleeping under a tree, the animal control department could fine her for not having her pet on a leash.

It is always the responsible thing to do to have your pet leashed when you cannnot devote your total attention to them, or when exercising your pet in a populated area or when approaching strangers. The community recognizes that most pet owners are responsible. Those pet owners that have their pets properly trained and can keep control of their pets (keeping them close to them and off another person's property) should not necessarily have to keep them on a leash. But, those who can not, or will not, control their pets can be required by the Animal Control Department to keep their pets under physical restraint at all times (the leash law).

Do I have to license my pet?

There is no city ordinance requiring that pets be licensed. However, there is an ordinance that requires pets to have up-to-date indentification on them. This could be accomplished by a variety of means, including microchip, rabies tag, store-bought ID tag, or an ID plate on a collar. Some of these are more reliable than others. A combination of two or more is best to ensure your pet can be returned to you if it were to go missing.

What can be done about barking dogs?

Often times just speaking with your neighbor will solve the problem. But if you do not feel comfortable with that, or you have tried and there has not been any relief - you can contact our office (812.376.2505) and register a complaint. This first complaint can be anonymous, but we need the specific address of the problem. Our officers will go out and make contact with the owner of the pet. They will try to discuss what the owner can do to alleviate the problem, explain the owner's responsibility in the matter and the possible legal action which could result should the problem persist. Any further complaints concerning this matter require the submission of a signed complaint by a witness.

Our officers will then issue citations for the infraction. The ordinances stipulate that the barking must be continuous for more than a twenty minute period to be considered an actionable nuisance. The witness must be willing to appear in court to testify should the owner deny that their pet causes a nuisance. Fines for nuisance violations increase for each offense and a compaintant may sign complaints for each seperate incident.

A neighbor's dog seems very aggressive but has not gotten loose yet. Is there anything that can be done?

If a dog is not leaving its owner's property, then no ordinances are being broken and there is nothing that an Animal Control Officer can do. Make sure to take special care to keep people and other pets off of this property to avoid any potential problems. If the dog leaves its property and is aggressive to people or other animals, then a 'dangerous animal' complaint can be filed.

What can be done about my neighbor's cat "doing its business" in my flowerbeds?

Cats, just like dogs, are to be under the owner's control at all times. If a cat owner allows their pet to come on to your property and "do its business" two separate violations have occured. You can contact us anytime to file a complaint (812.376.2505). You do not need to leave your name or sign an affidavit, but we must see a violation take place before we can take any action involving fines or impoundment of the pet. You may not take any action upon yourself that would injure the cat.

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