Rabbit ownership laws in the US
WabbitWiki make no claims as to the accuracy and completeness of the scope of these laws at any point in time. Please check for yourself to see if the following laws may have been repealed or new laws have been added.
In Huntsville, Alabama,
Sec. 5-105. - Distance of corrals, pens or stables from dwellings.
It shall be unlawful for any owner or person in charge to keep any animal or fowl in the city in any corral, stable or pen any part of which is within 150 feet of a dwelling occupied by a person other than the owner or person in charge of the animal or fowl or if such dwelling is not occupied, owned by a person other than the owner or person in charge of the animal or fowl; however, this section shall not apply to enclosures in which animals or fowl have been continuously kept before May 10, 1979;...
Sec. 5-107. - Minimum area of pens.
It shall be unlawful for any person to keep any animals, including fowl, in any pen in the city unless such pen has a minimum area of 15 square feet of space for each animal or fowl to which space each animal or fowl shall have access.
Sec. 5-110. - Farm animals, exotic animals or reptiles running at large.
(a) It shall be unlawful for the owner or person in charge of any farm animal, exotic animal or reptile to cause, permit or allow any such farm animal, exotic animal or reptile to run or to be at large. It shall be the special duty of the owner or person in charge of all premises where any farm animal, exotic animal or reptile is kept to see that no farm animal, exotic animal or reptile kept upon the premises is permitted or allowed to be in violation of this article. The fact that a particular farm animal, exotic animal or reptile has been kept on a particular premises, together with its subsequent appearance at large, shall raise a prima facie presumption that the owner or person in charge of the premises committed or authorized the violation, and the burden of proof shall be upon the owner or person in charge to prove otherwise. Any owner or person in charge in violation of this subsection shall be fined a minimum of $25.00 for the first offense and for the second offense within 12 months shall be fined a minimum of $50.00. Any owner or person in charge violating this section more than twice within 12 months shall be considered a habitual offender and shall be cited as set forth in subsection (b) of this section.
From Eureka Springs Code of Ordinances,
6.04.06 Running at large
C. It shall be unlawful to permit any cattle, horse, mule, sheep, goat, rabbit or poultry to run at large in the city. Any such animal running at large in any public place shall be impounded in the manner provided in this chapter. It shall further be unlawful to picket or tie any such animal in any of the streets for the purpose of grazing or feeding.
6.08.02 Number of animals
It shall be unlawful to keep, harbor and have custody of more than two (2) rabbits or two (2) chickens, geese, ducks or other domestic fowl provided they are confined at all times in a suitable enclosure. This section shall not apply to the keeping of small caged birds solely as pets.
From the San Francisco Health Code,
SEC. 37. KEEPING AND FEEDING OF SMALL ANIMALS, POULTRY AND GAME BIRDS.
(a) Number of animals. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to keep or feed, or cause to be kept or fed, or permit to be kept or fed, on any premises over which any such person, firm or corporation may have control within residential districts, (1) more than three dogs of age six months or older without obtaining a proper permit and license to operate a dog kennel as defined in Section 220 of the San Francisco Business and Tax Regulations Code, and (2) more than a total of four of the following in any combination: dogs of age six months or older unless part of a dog kennel, hares, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, gerbils, chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, doves, pigeons, game birds of any species, or cats. Nothing in this section, however, shall prohibit the feeding of any wild bird not specifically prohibited by this section unless such feeding creates a public health nuisance.
(b) Enclosures. Any person, firm or corporation, keeping, feeding, or causing to be kept or fed, or permitting to be kept or fed, on premises over which such person, firm or corporation may have control, four or less hares, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, gerbils, chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, doves, pigeons, parrots of any species, game birds of any species or wild animals of any species except those animals prohibited by Section 50 of this Code, shall keep same in coops or enclosures that are approved by the Director of Public Health. Where the coops or enclosures are located on the outside of or on top of any buildings, premises or structures, the coops or enclosures shall be not less than 20 feet from any door or window of any building used for human habitation.
(c) Prohibition. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to engage in the business of keeping, feeding, or breeding any hares, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, gerbils, chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, doves, pigeons, parrots of any species, game birds of any species, dogs, cats, for commercial purposes, within the residential districts.
(d) Commercial Purposes. It is hereby declared to be unlawful to conduct for commercial purposes any establishment in which dogs, cats, hares, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, gerbils, chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, doves, pigeons, parrots of any species, game birds of any species, are kept and maintained in the commercial or industrial districts without first obtaining from the Department of Public Health a permit so to do.
(f) Definition. For the purposes of this Section, the terms "residential district," "commercial district," and "industrial district" shall have the same meanings as those found in the San Francisco Planning Code.
From the Santa Clara County Municipal Code,
Small animals—Limited. Not to exceed a total of 12 of any of the following small animals: rabbits, guinea pigs, chicken and fowl, and similar species as approved by the Zoning Administrator. Roosters, peafowl, guinea fowl, geese or quacking ducks are not allowed.
From Aurora local ordinances,
Sec. 14-42. - Spay or neuter.
(a) Spay or neuter required. It shall be unlawful to own, possess or keep in the city any dog, rabbit or cat over the age of six months that has not been spayed or neutered, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.
(b) Exceptions. The following are exceptions to the spay or neuter requirements in subsection (a) of this section:
(1) Medical. A licensed veterinarian has determined that an animal is medically unsuited to undergo the surgical procedure. A signed statement from a licensed veterinarian is required and shall state specifically the medical grounds for the exemption.
(2) Temporary medical. When the animal's medical condition is temporary in nature, the licensed veterinarian shall sign a written statement as to the prognosis of when the surgery may be performed. The date given on that prognosis shall become the expiration date of the temporary medical exemption. After the period of the temporary medical exemption, spay or neuter shall be required unless a licensed veterinarian provides another temporary medical exemption and prognosis of when the surgery may be performed.
(3) Transitory status. An animal which is temporarily in the city. When an animal is temporarily in the city for breeding purposes, the owner of such animal is required to have and present, when requested, a certificate of health signed by a licensed veterinarian.
(4) Intact animal license. An owner obtains an annual intact animal license and is in compliance with the city annual licensing requirements contained in this chapter.
(d) Penalty. Any owner found guilty of violating this section and not classified within the exceptions shall be subject to both fine and imprisonment as provided by section 1-13 of this Code. Upon the first conviction, the court shall impose a fine of not less than $100.00. A portion of the minimum monetary fines and imprisonment may be suspended by the municipal court only if the owner of any animal in violation presents to the court proof of the spay or neuter of the animal. Upon a second conviction, in addition to any penalty provided by section 1-13, the owner shall be required to spay or neuter the animal; (unless the owner provides a written statement from a licensed veterinarian that the spay or neuter procedure would be harmful or dangerous to the health of the animal). Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as preventing the animal care officer from instituting a proceeding in the municipal court for violation of this section where there has been no impoundment.
Sec. 14-161. - Excessive number prohibited.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to keep or harbor more than three ferrets or two rabbits that are four months of age or older on any premises. Only one litter of offspring may be kept on the premises until the age of four months.
(1) Licensed kennels, pet shops and city shelters.
(2) Any person providing records of ownership for excessive number of rabbits with the Aurora Animal Care Division within 30 days of the effective date [December 28, 2002] of this section shall not be subject to enforcement of subsection (a) for any rabbits existing at the time of the registration.
District of Columbia
§ 8-1805. Impoundment.
(a) The Mayor shall impound any dogs, cats, rabbits, or ferrets, the combination of which exceeds 4 animals, or any dogs, cats, rabbits, or ferrets beyond the number authorized in an animal hobby permit issued pursuant to § 8-1809.
§ 8-1808. Prohibited conduct.
(a) No owner of an animal shall allow the animal to go at large.
§142-94 Destruction of unconfined rabbits and Belgian hares. Any police officer or other person may destroy any rabbit or Belgian hare found unconfined and no officer or other person destroying any rabbits or Belgian hares so found shall be liable for any damages for such destruction to any person claiming the ownership of the animals; provided that no officer or other person shall enter any inhabited enclosure for the purpose of taking or destroying any rabbits or Belgian hares without authority of law or under a warrant duly issued.
§142-95 Rabbits, Belgian hares, to be kept off ground; penalty. Any person who breeds, raises or keeps rabbits or Belgian hares shall keep them off the ground.
Any person who violates this section shall be fined not more than $100 or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.
From Massachusetts General Laws Annotated,
§ 80G. Experiments on vertebrates; vivisection, dissection of animals; care
Live animals used as class pets or for purposes not prohibited in paragraphs one and two hereof in such schools shall be housed or cared for in a safe and humane manner. Said animals shall not remain in school over periods when such schools are not in session, unless adequate care is provided at all times.
The provisions of the preceding three paragraphs shall also apply to any activity associated with or sponsored by the school.
Whoever violates the provisions of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars.
In Austin, Texas,
§ 3-1-1 - DEFINITIONS.
In this title:
(15) SMALL ANIMAL means a small animal kept domestically, including a rabbit, guinea pig, rat, mouse, hamster, or gerbil.
§ 3-2-11 - ENCLOSURE REQUIRED.
(A) A person may not keep an animal, fowl, bird, or reptile in an enclosure unless the enclosure is:
(1) securely built;
(2) adequately sized for the kind and number of animals, fowl, birds, or reptiles housed in the structure
(3) maintained in a sanitary condition that does not allow flies to breed or cause an odor offensive to an adjacent residence or business; and
(4) in compliance with the applicable requirements of this article.
(B) A person shall keep an animal, fowl, bird, or reptile in an enclosure that meets the requirements of Sections 3-2-12 (Enclosure for Small Animal), 3-2-13 (Enclosure for Dogs), 3-2-14 (Enclosure for Livestock), 3-2-15 (Enclosure for Miniature Livestock), 3-2-16 (Enclosure for Fowl), or 3-2-17 (Enclosure for Pigeon or Similar Bird).
§ 3-2-12 - ENCLOSURE FOR SMALL ANIMAL.
(A) An enclosure used to keep more than two but fewer than 10 small animals must be located at least 20 feet from an adjacent residence or business structure, excluding the residence or business of the owner or handler of the small animals.
(B) An enclosure used to keep ten or more small animals must be located at least 50 feet from an adjacent residence or business structure, excluding the residence or business structure of the owner or handler of the small animals.
(C) This section does not apply to an animal shelter, veterinary clinic, pet store, or institutional or education research facility.
In Fort Worth, Texas,
§ 6-61 UNLAWFUL ACTS ENUMERATED.
(j) (1) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection (j), it shall be unlawful for a person to confine an animal for a substantial portion of the day in an outdoor enclosure that provides less than 48 square feet of space for each animal that it contains that is at least six months old. It is presumed that an animal is being confined for a substantial portion of the day if a police officer, animal care and control officer, code enforcement officer or the person charged with enforcing this ordinance witnesses the animal in said enclosure at least twice on the same day at two separate times that are at least five hours apart.
(2) The prohibition in this subsection (j) shall not apply to:
a. Registered non-profit agencies that keep animals for purposes of rescue, rehabilitation or adoption so long as such animals are otherwise maintained in accordance with the requirements of this chapter; or
b. Situations in which animals are being boarded for a period of less than 30 days so long as such animals are otherwise maintained in accordance with the requirements of this chapter.
In Gainesville, Texas,
Sec. 3-16. - Restriction on number per household.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to keep or cause to be kept over four (4) dogs, cats, rabbits, or ferrets; or any combination thereof; per household on, at, or within the city limits of Gainesville, with the only exception being a female dog, cat, rabbit, or ferret which has given birth. Under such circumstances, the animal owner will have one hundred twenty (120) days from the animal's date of birth to reduce the required number of animals to the required number of four (4).
(b) There shall be no more than two (2) permanent outside dogs per household and the maximum number of dogs, cats, rabbits, and ferrets combined per household shall not exceed four (4).
(c) Any person who exceeds this established limit, but meets the limits established by the previous ordinance, has thirty (30) days to register the animals with the city-approved animal shelter. The registered animals are then grandfathered under the ordinance from which this chapter derives, but the person cannot possess any additional animals until they are under the limits established by this chapter.
(Ord. No. 1250-07-2010, § 3, 7-6-10)
In Houston, Texas,
Sec. 6-32. - Location restrictions for rabbits and guinea pigs.
(a) It is unlawful, except as provided in section 6-33, for any person to keep, possess or maintain in the city any rabbits or guinea pigs, or any pens, enclosures, hutches, cages or other structures in which any the rabbits or guinea pigs are kept, possessed or maintained, within 100 feet of any actual residence or habitation of human beings, or within 100 feet of any church, school or hospital, other than the residence of the possessor or owner of the rabbits or guinea pigs, the distance to be measured in a straight line from the nearest point of any pen, enclosure, hutch, cage or other such structure in which such rabbits or guinea pigs are kept to the nearest point of the actual residence or place of human habitation, or church, school or hospital.
(b) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under subsection (a) of this section that rabbits or guinea pigs are kept inside the residence of the owner at all times and that the conditions within the residence are not unsanitary to the extent that the conditions create a possible medium for the transmission of disease to the animals kept there or to human beings.
(c) Any enclosure or structure located outside of a residence that is used to contain rabbits or guinea pigs and satisfies the distance requirement set forth in subsection (a) of this section shall be constructed in accordance with any applicable standards and requirements set forth in the Building Code.
Sec. 6-33. - Keeping for commercial purposes.
It is unlawful for the owner of any geese, ducks, turkeys, chickens or other domestic fowl or rabbits or guinea pigs, where the fowl or animals are kept for sale or commercial purposes, to allow the fowl or animals to roam in open pens on the ground; but the owner may keep the fowl or animals for sale or commercial purposes, provided he keeps the fowl or animals in batteries or coops arranged inside of buildings in a sanitary condition, and he shall remove all droppings from the buildings, batteries or coops at least once each day, and disinfect and deodorize the buildings, batteries or coops at least once each day.
Sec. 6-34. - Keeping for public showing.
Notwithstanding anything in this article, it shall be lawful for any person to keep, possess and maintain chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, pea-fowls, guineas, rabbits and guinea pigs for the purpose of a legitimate showing of the fowl and animals for purely public exhibition, provided the conditions set forth in this article are observed.
Sec. 6-35. - Limitation on number to be kept.
Any person keeping, possessing, or maintaining chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, pea-fowls, rabbits, or guinea pigs in the city at least 100 feet from any actual residence or habitation of human beings, church, school or hospital, other than the residence of the possessor or owner of such animals, shall keep no more than 30 chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, pea-fowls, rabbits, or guinea pigs. Additionally, no more than 40 of any combination of chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, pea-fowls, rabbits and guinea pigs shall be kept upon any lot or enclosure of the size of 65 by 125 feet or less. In the event that the fowl or animals are kept in a larger enclosure, the number so kept and maintained may be increased only in the ratio that the above figures of 30 and 40 bear to the increase in the square footage of the larger enclosure.
Sec. 6-36. - Maintenance of premises where kept.
(a) Any person keeping pens, hutches, or houses or any enclosure in which fowl, rabbits or guinea pigs are kept must clean and disinfect the premises daily, lime the premises every two days and must keep the premises in a clean and sanitary condition at all times.
(b) Litter and droppings from such fowl, rabbits and guinea pigs must be collected daily and stored in a flytight container and hauled away at intervals not to exceed seven calendar days. Rabbit and guinea pig hutches must have traps or floors to keep droppings or urine from such animals off the ground.
In San Antonio, Texas,
Sec. 5-109. - Animal limits; excess animal permit.
(e) The total number of rabbits allowed at a residence is ten (10). An owner must comply with the following with regard to rabbits:
(1) The owner must have adequate facilities to house the rabbits and ensure adequate sanitation.
(2) The rabbits must be kept housed or confined in a manner that does not allow them to create a nuisance.
(3) Sanitation must be addressed in a manner that prevents the attraction of pests.
If an owner desires to exceed the maximum number of rabbits specified above (ten (10) rabbits), an owner must make an application for an excess animal permit with the department which shall be valid for one (1) year. The criteria for evaluating the application for an excess animal permit shall be those listed above in subsections (1), (2) and (3). The facilities shall be subject to inspection by the department. The maximum amount of rabbits allowed with an excess animal permit is twenty-five (25).
No person or household shall keep more than six (6) animals, the maximum number of dogs being three (3), maximum number of rabbits being two (2).
In the City of Neenah,
(d) Restriction on animals other than pet animals. Except as otherwise provided for in this chapter, no premises shall keep more than a total of ten (10) domestic animals which includes but is not limited to the following: rabbits (no more than three (3) rabbits of the ten (10) domestic animals), gerbils, hamsters, mice, rats, guinea pigs, reptiles, amphibians, or other similar pets. This limitation shall not apply to fish kept in an aquarium, or to birds kept indoors.
In the City of Wausau,
The city municipal code limits ownership to no more than three domestic animals which includes rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, rats or other similar pets in any one residence.
In Wisconsin Rapids,
(3) Rabbits. No more than two adult rabbits are to be kept or maintained at any residential property within the city. No person owning, in possession of, or in charge of the care of any rabbit shall permit the rabbit to be at large within the city. Rabbits shall be confined in adequate enclosures that are neat, clean and free of disturbing odors. (MC#986)
(4) Exceptions. The provisions of Section (2) and (3) above shall not apply to circuses, menageries and other temporary licensed exhibitions. Nor shall it apply to where creatures are in the care, custody or control of a veterinarian for treatment, agricultural fairs, shows or projects of the 4-H, a display for judging purposes, a state-licensed educational institutions, or zoo, if: (MC#986)
(a) Their location conforms to the provision of Chapter 11 - Zoning.
(b) All animals and animal quarters are kept in a clean and sanitary condition and so maintained as to eliminate objectionable odors.
(c) Animals are maintained in quarters so constructed as to prevent their escape.
(d) No person resides within 100 feet of the quarters in which the animals are kept. This restriction shall not apply to Section (3) above.
- Huntsville, AL. (n.d.). DIVISION 1. - GENERALLY. Retrieved 2 April 2016 from https://www.municode.com/library/al/huntsville/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=COOR_CH5AN_ARTIIIANOTDOCASP_DIV1GE
- Eureka Springs Code of Ordinances, TITLE 6 ANIMALS AND FOWL
- San Francisco Health Code. (n.d.). ARTICLE 1: ANIMALS. Retrieved 1 April 2016 from http://library.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/California/health/article1animals?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0
- County of Santa Clara. (n.d.). § 2.30.020. - Use regulations. Retrieved 19 Oct 2016 from https://www.municode.com/library/ca/santa_clara_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TITCCODELAUS_APXIZO_ART2BADI_CH2.30URREBADI_S2.30.020USRE
- Michigan State University College of Law. (2012). Chapter 14 - ANIMALS Retrieved 1 April 2016 from https://www.animallaw.info/local/co-aurora-chapter-14-animals
- Michigan State University College of Law. (2015). District of Columbia Official Code 2001 Edition. Division I. Government of District. Title 8. Environmental and Animal Control and Protection. Subtitle E. Animal Control and Protection. Chapter 18. Animal Control. Retrieved 1 April 2016 from https://www.animallaw.info/statute/dc-impoundment-chapter-18-animal-control
- Michigan State University College of Law. (2015). District of Columbia Official Code 2001 Edition. Division I. Government of District. Title 8. Environmental and Animal Control and Protection. Subtitle E. Animal Control and Protection. Chapter 18. Animal Control. Subchapter I. General. § 8-1808. Prohibited conduct. Retrieved 1 April 2016 from https://www.animallaw.info/statute/dc-exotic-pets-%C2%A7-8-1808-prohibited-conduct
- Hawaii State Legislature. (1890). §142-94 Destruction of unconfined rabbits and Belgian hares. Retrieved 1 April 2016 from http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol03_Ch0121-0200D/HRS0142/HRS_0142-0094.htm
- Hawaii State Legislature. (1957). §142-95 Rabbits, Belgian hares, to be kept off ground; penalty. Retrieved 1 April 2016 from http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/vol03_ch0121-0200d/hrs0142/hrs_0142-0095.htm
- Michigan State University College of Law. (2016). Massachusetts General Laws Annotated. Part IV. Crimes, Punishments and Proceedings in Criminal Cases (Ch. 263-280). Title I. Crimes and Punishments (Ch. 263-274). Chapter 272. Crimes Against Chastity, Morality, Decency and Good Order. Part I. Administration of the Government (Ch. 1-182). Title II. Executive and Administrative Officers of the Commonwealth (Ch. 6-28A). Chapter 22C. The Department of State Police Title I. Crimes and Punishments. Chapter 272. Crimes Against Chastity, Morality, Decency and Good Order. Retrieved 1 April 2016 from https://www.animallaw.info/statute/ma-cruelty-consolidated-cruelty-statutes
- austintexas.gov. (n.d.). CHAPTER 3-2. - RESTRICTIONS ON ANIMALS. Retrieved 1 April 2016 from https://www.municode.com/library/tx/austin/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT3ANRE_CH3-2REAN
- Fort Worth, TX Code of Ordinances. (n.d.). CHAPTER 6: ANIMALS AND FOWL. Retrieved 1 April 2016 from http://library.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Texas/ftworth_tx/cityoffortworthtexascodeofordinances/partiicitycode/chapter6animalsandfowl?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0
- Gainesville, TX. (n.d.). Sec. 3-16. - Restriction on number per household. Retrieved 2 April 2016 from https://www.municode.com/library/tx/gainesville/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICOOR_CH3ANCO_S3-16RENUPEHO
- The City of Houston. (n.d.). ARTICLE II. - KEEPING OF FOWL, RABBITS AND GUINEA PIGS. Retrieved 1 April 2016 from https://www.municode.com/library/tx/houston/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=COOR_CH6ANFO_ARTIIKEFORAGUPI
- San Antonio, TX. (n.d.). Sec. 5-109. - Animal limits; excess animal permit. Retrieved 1 April 2016 from https://www.municode.com/library/tx/san_antonio/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICO_CH5AN_ARTVANMIPE_S5-109ANLIEXANPE
- Appleton, WI, Animal Control
- City of Neenah, An Ordinance
- City of Wausau, Wisconsin, Pets in the City
- Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin Rapids Ordinance – Chapter 25, Offenses Against Public Welfare, Safety, Morals, and Peace (Animal Portion Only)