Cities and Counties Are Expanding Laws on Which Types of Pets Are Legal

PetMD Editorial
Published: October 23, 2018
Share this:

Image via

When it comes to types of pets, for many people, what comes to mind are dogs and cats. In many states, there are laws on the local, county and state levels that limit which animals are considered legal types of pets. 

In recent years, however, the laws regarding which types of pets are legal have been continually challenged and are now evolving to become more accommodating.

In Lompoc, California, the City Council recently voted on an ordinance that will amend the current municipal code to allow households to keep chickens as pets. KEYT 3 reports that the amendment will expand the definition of legal types of pets to include birds, ducks and rabbits.

One woman in Stillwater, Oklahoma, is currently fighting city codes to allow for chickens to be considered a legal type of pet. The current ordinances ban backyard poultry, but she is in discussion with the city to be able to keep her chickens.

And according to Stillwater News Press, “After reaching out to the City Attorney’s office to ask for a stay while the matter gets sorted and reaching out to the city manager and members of the City Council to plead her case, Wood said she was relieved to receive an email from McNickle saying she would not need to get rid of her chickens and would not face a fine for keeping them while the Council considers a course of action.”

These changes regarding laws on pets are happening all over the country. reports that in Holland, Michigan, the City Council has given the okay for smaller pigs—pigs that will not grow to weigh more than 120 pounds—to be considered legal pets. explains, “Each household is allowed to keep no more than two mini pigs, and no more than five total dogs, cats and mini pigs. Residents do not need a permit or license for their mini pigs.”

Farm animals are not the only species being advocated for. In Fairfax County, Virginia, there has been a shift in attitudes towards commonly accepted pets, which has resulted in a public hearing to discuss the issue.

According to, currently the accepted and legal types of pets in Fairfax county include “rabbits, hamsters, ferrets, gerbils, guinea pigs, mice, rats, turtles, fish, dogs, cats, birds like canaries, parakeets, doves and parrots, worm or ant farms, non-poisonous spiders, chameleons and similar lizards and non-poisonous snakes.” reports, “The revised rules would allow hedgehogs, chinchillas and hermit crabs. The rules also would change the definition of prohibited spiders and snakes to ban only those spiders and snakes that are venomous to people.”

These evolving attitudes toward what can be called a “pet” reinforces that more exotic animals and farm animals are no longer considered possessions, but living creatures with rights and needs. It is no surprise that people are advocating for their rights to care for animals that offer the same companionship that a traditional pet can.

For more interesting new stories, check out these articles: 


The World's Oldest Known Flesh-Eating Fish Discovered


US Steals World Record From Scotland for Most Golden Retrievers in One Place


Eco-Friendly Building in Austria Protects Wild Hamsters


Snapchat Has Announced Face Filters for Cats


Endangered Aye-Aye Born at the Denver Zoo


Frogs and Toads Are Falling on Heads Amidst a Population Boom in North Carolina