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Living in a small town, animal ownership and care is often not a big deal or something to worry about. Laramie, however, does have some very specific animal ownership laws, which if disobeyed could lead to some serious fines or the impoundment of your most loyal friend.
First, every dog, cat or ferret that lives within the city and is over 120 days of age MUST be licensed with the city and the owner must pay a fee. The license is good for one year and an owner must get a new license every year thereafter. A license, even the first license issued by the City to a puppy or kitten that has attained the age of 120 days, cannot be issued until a current certificate of rabies vaccination signed by a veterinarian is presented. Upon proof of vaccination and payment of the required fees, the city shall deliver to the pet's owner a license tag stamped with a number corresponding to the number the pet is licensed under. The tag must be placed on the pet's collar or harness and worn at all times when the dog, cat or ferret is off the owner's property. If the tag is ever lost, the owner can receive a duplicate tag for a fee. Also, if the pet switches its owner during the year the license is valid, the license can be transferred over to the new owner for a fee.
Under the City of Laramie's ordinances there are numerous categories of pets and animals. "Indoor pets" are defined as pets which are NOT raised for food, fur, or monetary gain and confined exclusively within a residence. Cats, dogs, potbellied pigs, fowl, and poultry are NOT "indoor pets". Cats, dogs, and potbellied pigs are permitted but an owner cannot keep more than a total of four of these kinds of animals over 120 days old where the owner lives (including animals that are kept in outside quarters).
Rabbits and fowl are allowed within the city limits if they meet the following requirements: the animals must belong to the owners or tenants of the property where they are kept, their enclosure must be at least 20 feet from all neighboring residences and it must be maintained in a manner that is clean and in good repair, the animals can only be kept for the purposes of education, science, companionship, exhibition, or personal consumption, the animals shall not be allowed to be a nuisance, and there shall be no more than 12 of these animals who are over 100 days old in any combination on the owner's premises.
Livestock, emus, and ostriches are permitted within the City limits if the following requirements are met: for each livestock animal over 7 months old there must be one-quarter acre of undeveloped land available, these animals must belong to the occupant of the property where they are kept, the enclosure where the animals are kept must be at least 20 feet from other residences, they must be confined, constrained or under the supervision of their owner at all times, their enclosure must be kept clean and in good repair, the animals can be kept only for the purposes of education, science, personal security, competition, exhibition, personal consumption, riding, or packing, and they must not become a nuisance. Under the ordinances, "livestock" is defined as a domestic hoofed animal and animals that are generally used for food or in the production of food or fiber, which are neither indoor pets, nor dogs, cats nor potbellied pigs. Any person within the City who owns a livestock animal must clearly mark its enclosure with an ID number that matches the number entered in a log kept by the City's animal control officer. The number in the officer's log will provide owner contact information in case the animal escapes its enclosure.
Wild or exotic animals are not permitted within the City limits.
It is illegal for a person to own or keep any animal within the City limits, which is deemed a nuisance or a vicious animal. Under the City ordinances, a "nuisance" animal is defined as any domestic animal which trespasses on public or private property; is at large, damages, soils, or defecates on private or public property; causes garbage which has previously been placed in a garbage or refuse container to be strewn or deposited on private or public property; habitually, constantly or frequently disturbs the sleep, rest, tranquility or peace of any neighborhood or person; chases pedestrians, bicyclists, or motor vehicles; attacks other domestic animals; any dog or cat in heat which is not confined; any animal which is tethered in such a way that either it or its tether obstructs any part of a public road, alley, or pedestrian walkway; or any animal which creates offensive odors disturbing to any neighbor or person.. A "vicious animal" is any animal that attacks, bites, or menaces people or other animals in any public or private place without just provocation. The testimony of an animal control officer or a police officer based upon his or her personal observation is competent evidence of whether or not an animal is vicious or has disturbed the peace of any neighborhood or person. In the interest of the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of the City of Laramie, the Municipal Court judge may order that an animal that has been determined to be vicious be surrendered to the City. If the owner will not surrender the animal, the City authorities may go onto the property of the owner to seize the animal.
It is illegal for an animal to be "at large" within the City limits. "At large" is defined as including any animal which is off the premises of the owner upon public or private property without the permission of the property owner. Dogs, cats, and potbellied pigs are not "at large" when they are under control by means of a leash held by a person capable of managing that animal. "At large" also includes any animal in the bed of a pickup truck if the animal is not physically restrained so that it is unable to reach the side of the bed, an animal that is in a parked vehicle if that animal can extend its muzzle outside the closed cabin compartment of the vehicle, and any animal on the property of the owner or keeper, which is unattended and not physically confined in such a way as to prevent the animal from leaving the property. A dog is not "at large" when it is within the confines of a dog park established by the City.
It is also illegal for the owner (or any person walking a dog) to allow the dog to poop on public or private property not owned by that person, unless the person has the necessary means to remove the dog feces.
Title 6 of the Laramie City ordinances has many more provisions in regard to animals in the City than just those mentioned above. For instance, there are sections of the ordinances dealing with animal cruelty and neglect, the impoundment of animals, procedures for adopting an animal, the authorized euthanasia of animals, and the procedure to report animal bites. To research the animal ordinances of the City of Laramie in their latest form (as of December 31, 2011), click on:
Spring 2012 SAP extern Emily Thomas, a University of Wyoming Law student, wrote this section while under the supervision of the Students' Attorney Program.