state and local regulations for moving pets

Moving With Pets: State and Local Regulations

State Laws
Nearly every state has laws applicable to the entry of dogs, cats, horses, psittacine birds (birds of the parrot family) and other pets. Tropical fish are the only exception. It is important to comply with the laws of the state to which you are moving; otherwise, you may be subject to prosecution. We suggest contacting the state veterinarian in the capital of your new home state well in advance of your move for specific laws concerning entry of your pet.

A few states have border inspections of all animals being imported; others have random inspection by department of agriculture officials or the state highway patrol; some check interstate health certificates; many depend on individual compliance with the law; and a number rely on a combination of these methods. Representatives of the state department of agriculture are usually present at airports to inspect any pets arriving by air.

Local Regulations
The majority of communities in the United States have enacted pet control and licensing ordinances. In many instances these relate only to dogs, but increasing numbers of cities are applying them to cats as well. Local laws may limit the number of dogs or cats permitted in one household.

Most communities prohibit the stabling of horses, ponies and other livestock within the city limits. Where permitted, minimum distance from your barn to neighboring houses may need to be specified, as well as size of pasture required. You may have to stable your animal(s) outside the city limits.

License fees and the length of time a new resident has in which to obtain a license for a pet vary from place to place. Contact the city clerk or town hall at the destination city for specific information.

Be sure to read the health and identification requirements for moving pets prior to your move. For more information about moving pets, return to the pet moving guide.