Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control

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ANIMAL LAWS & ORDINANCES

The County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control enforces Los Angeles County Code Title 10 within the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

City residents should check with their local city officials or County animal care center regarding applicable laws for their area as some cities within Los Angeles County may enforce all or only certain sections of Title 10 (depending on what the City adopted). 

Below are some important laws and ordinances:

Animal Abandonment:  Anyone who willfully abandons an animal is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $1000 and up to 6 months in jail. (CA Penal Code Section 597s.)

Barking Dogs:  Any pet owner or custodian who allows a dog to bark continuously or for an extended period of time in a manner that annoys the neighbors and disturbs the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood may be guilty of allowing a public nuisance and punishable by a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1000 and/or six months in jail. (California Penal Code 373A and Los Angeles County Code Sec. 10.40.065)

Dangerous Dogs: Dogs that pose a danger to public safety may have restrictions placed on their continued ownership in the interest of public safety.  In extreme circumstances, a dog determined to be vicious may be ordered destroyed.  The Department may file a petition as either an administrative hearing or in Superior Court to determine the disposition of an animal considered to be potentially dangerous or vicious.  The owner of such an animal may be fined, have restrictions on ownership imposed, or the dog could be ordered to be destroyed.  (Los Angeles County Code Sec. 10.37, et seq.)

Defecation – Anyone walking a dog on any property other than their own must carry a suitable bag or container for the purposes of removing feces and to immediately remove any feces once deposited by their dog.  (Los Angeles County Code Sec. 10.40.060)

Dogs in Open Vehicles:  It is a misdemeanor to transport a dog in or on the bed of an open truck or other open vehicle on any county road, street, highway, lane, or alley unless the bed is covered or properly enclosed.  (Los Angeles County Code Sec. 10.80.010 and 10.80.020)

Exercise – Working animals shall be given adequate rest periods.  Confined or restrained animals shall be given exercise appropriate for the individual animals under particular conditions.  [Los Angeles County Code Sec. 10.40.010(R)]

Food and Water – Animals shall be provided with wholesome food and have potable water that is free from debris and readily accessible [Los Angeles County Code Sec. 10.40.010(B)].  Anyone who fails to provide adequate food and water to their animal is guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony and may be fined up to $20,000 and/or imprisonment.  [CA Penal Code Section 597(b)]

Hobby Breeder -- Dog Breeding License Required: Hobby Breeder is any person, except for someone having a valid Animal Facility license who, for pay or other compensation, breeds a female dog.  A hobby breeder must obtain a Hobby Breeding license that authorizes the whelping of no more than one litter per female dog in any 12‑month period and no more than one litter per domestic household in any 12-month period.  Any breeding in excess of this amount requires a breeding facility license. (Los Angeles County Code Sec. 10.20.045 and 10.90.010).  For more information, contact our Facility License Division.

Inhumane Treatment:  State Penal Code Sec. 597 and Los Angeles County Code Sec. 10.12.160 prohibit the abuse, mistreatment, or torture of any animal or subjecting any animal to needless suffering.  These laws provide that no animal may be deprived of proper food, water, or shelter.  Violation of these laws can result in criminal charges, up to and including felony charges.  Please report any case of inhumane animal treatment by contacting our Communication Center/Dispatch or by completing our online Service Request form (for nonemergency situations). 

Leash Law:  It is not permissible to let your dog run at large on any streets, public places, or private property belonging to anyone other than you, day or night, with or without a license.  (Los Angeles County Code Sec. 10.32.010).

Yearly Licensing Requirements:   All dogs or cats over the age of 4 months, or within 10 days of entering the jurisdiction, must be licensed annually and a tag must be securely affixed to the collar of the animal.  (Los Angeles County Code Sec. 10.20.180 and 10.20.190) 

Limits – Up to three (3) licensed and altered dogs may be kept at any residence.  Up to five (5) licensed, altered, and indoor cats may be kept at any residence.  Keeping animals in excess of these amounts requires an animal facility license.  (Los Angeles County Code Sec. 10.20.038)

Microchips – All dogs over the age of four months must be implanted with a microchip and the number must be provided to the Department.  (Los Angeles County Code Sec. 10.20.185)

Providing Adequate Food and Water:  Animals shall be provided with wholesome food and have potable water that is free from debris and readily accessible [Los Angeles County Code Section 10.40.010(B)].  Anyone who fails to provide adequate food and water to their animal is guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony and may be fined up to $20,000 and/or imprisonment.  [CA Penal Code Section 597(b)]

Providing Proper Shelter:   Anyone who fails to provide proper shelter or protection from the weather for their animal is guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony and may be fined up to $20,000 or imprisoned.  [CA Penal Code Section 597(b)]

Public Nuisance – Any animal that harasses passerby or vehicles, attacks other animals, is repeatedly at large, continuously barks, or trespasses on school, public property, or private property will be considered a public nuisance.  It is a misdemeanor to continue to allow your animal to remain a public nuisance.  (Los Angeles County Code Sec. 10.40.065)

Spay/Neuter, Mandatory – Any dog over the age of four months within the jurisdiction is required to be spayed/neutered unless the dog cannot be altered without a high likelihood of suffering serious bodily harm as determined by a licensed veterinarian.  (Los Angeles County Code Sec. 10.20.350, et seq.)

Strays – Any person taking up any stray domestic animal found running at large must notify the Department within four hours that they have the animal in their possession, provide a description of the animal, provide the location where the animal is being kept, and surrender the animal to the Department on demand.  (Los Angeles County Code Sec. 10.36.020 and 10.36.040)

Tethering – No person shall tether, fasten, chain, tie, or restrain a dog to a dog house, tree, fence, or any other stationary object for more than three hours in a 24-hour period.  Violation is an infraction or misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine up to $1000 or six months in jail or both.  (CA Health and Safety Code Section 122335)

Unattended Animals – No animals shall be without attention for more than 12 consecutive hours. [Los Angeles County Code Sec. 10.40.010 (e)]

Vaccination Requirements:  Rabies vaccinations are required for all dogs and cats 4 months of age or older.  Failure to comply may result in a citation and a court appearance.  Vaccinations must be valid for the entire licensing period.  (Calif. Health and Safety Code Sec. 1920 and Los Angeles County Code Sec. 10.20.220)

Vehicles, Animals Inside – No person shall leave or confine an animal in an unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of the animal.  (CA Penal Code Section 597.7)

Veterinary Care – Anyone who fails to obtain prompt and necessary veterinary care for a sick or injured animal is guilty of a misdemeanor or felony punishably by up to $20,000 in fines and/or imprisonment.  (CA Penal Code Sections 597(b), 597(f), and 597.1)