Animal Control, Rules & Regulations
Please contact Animal Control at 303-441-3333 to report a problem or file a complaint.
Boulder Animal Control is a division of the Boulder Police Department that enforces all city ordinances related to animals and state laws related to domestic animals. Animal Control responds to animal-related complaints and promotes responsible pet ownership through enforcement, mediation, and education. Officers investigate and respond to:
Animal Rules and Regulations
The City of Boulder's animal laws were developed to ensure the health and safety of residents and their pets. To view a complete list of all City of Boulder animal laws, review Chapter 6-1: Animals from the Boulder Revised Code.
All dogs in the City of Boulder must be kept on leashes at all times unless they are confined to their owner's property. Dogs that roam loose present a danger to the community and may be hit by a car or attacked by other animals. An exception for your dog to run free is to utilize one of the designated off-leash dog parks.
If you have obtained an Open Space & Mountain Parks Voice and Sight Tag for your dog, you must utilize the designated opens space areas that are participating in that program.
City of Boulder law requires all dogs and cats over the age of four months to be vaccinated against rabies. After the initial vaccination, animals must be kept current on rabies vaccinations using either a one-year or three-year vaccination. All vaccinations must be provided by a Colorado-licensed veterinarian.
City of Boulder dog license
A City of Boulder dog license is required for all dogs over the age of four months living within the city limits. The license serves as identification to enable officers to contact you if your dog is lost or injured, and to ensure that your dog is currently vaccinated against rabies. The license must be obtained within 30 days of acquiring the dog or within 30 days of moving to Boulder. In order to purchase a city dog license, a guardian must provide proof of a current rabies vaccination.
All dogs are required to wear their City of Boulder dog license tag on their collar or harness at all times. Keep in mind that the Open Space & Mountain Parks Voice and Sight Tag is not a substitute for a city dog license.
No person shall own or keep any aggressive animal. An aggressive animal is one that approaches a person in a vicious or terrorizing attitude of attack. An animal that bites, claws, or attempts to bite or claw any person, or bites or injures another animal, will be considered a vicious animal. Be sure to keep your pets under control at all times to prevent an incident such as an attack or bite.
Animal cruelty or neglect
All animals in Boulder are legally protected from being abandoned, beaten, tortured, injured, transported in an unsafe manner, or killed. Failure to provide adequate food, water, shelter, veterinary care, grooming, opportunity for exercise, or sanitary conditions is a violation of city ordinance. Violators will be strictly prosecuted for these infractions.
Barking dog nuisance
Boulder's animal noise ordinance states that it is unlawful for an owner to allow an animal to disturb the peace with loud and habitual barking, howling, whining, or baying. If you notice that your dog barks unnecessarily, it is your responsibility to identify the problem and resolve it immediately to prevent a disturbance to your neighborhood.
Clean up after your animal
Picking up your pet's waste is required by city ordinance. It is an important way to help preserve our environment and prevent the spread of disease. Please be courteous to other Boulder community members by cleaning up after your pet.
While not subject to leash and licensing laws, cats must be vaccinated against rabies beginning at four months of age. Cats must also be restrained from creating a nuisance by leaving feces or damaging the property of another. If a cat is causing a nuisance by defecating or destroying property, a property owner has the legal right to remove the cat from their property and bring it to the local animal shelter. The guardian may also be charged with owning a nuisance cat. Impound and board fees apply to impounded cats.
Boulder animal laws are strict liability laws. Therefore, an animal's guardian is liable even when there is no proof of negligence or intent. The guardian is responsible for their animal's actions, regardless of the circumstances, accidental or otherwise. If an animal injures, kills, or damages any person, other animal, or property, the strict liability law holds the guardian or keeper of the animal legally responsible, and includes all costs and damages incurred.
In addition to impoundment fees, guardians are subject to a court summons for violations of the city animal ordinances. The maximum penalty for each violation is $1,000 and/or 90 days in jail. Fines are subject to increase for subsequent violations.
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