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What to Know About Pet Laws in California

If you intend to adopt a pet dog or cat from a shelter in California, then know that the shelter must first spay or neuter the animal.
Pet Laws in California

Before you acquire a pet of any kind, it is well worth knowing the local laws for your jurisdiction. While many laws are standardized, even over state lines, some rules and regulations in the Golden State seem too absurd to be true. If you have a pet and live in California, read up to make sure that you aren’t unwittingly breaking the law.

Make sure your dog has its jabs

As a responsible pet owner, it is integral to ensure your pet is up to date with all of its vaccinations to ward off disease. However, in California, every dog over four months of age must be vaccinated for rabies and have the associated certificate. If you are unsure of your dog’s age or vaccination status, a vet can do an antibody check.

Adopting a dog or cat in California

If you intend to adopt a pet dog or cat from a shelter in California, then know that the shelter must first spay or neuter the animal.

If you intend to adopt a pet dog or cat from a shelter in California, then know that the shelter must first spay or neuter the animal. In addition, the shelter is required to show proof in the way of a vet certificate.

Get your tags

Every dog over four months of age must be licensed in California. Furthermore, since dogs should be vaccinated by four months, you’ll need to bring your rabies certificate to register your dog.

It’s illegal to purchase a pet in California

To be specific, it has been illegal to purchase a rabbit, dog, or cat from a pet store in California since 2018. The rationale is that this will discourage puppy mills from practicing unethical breeding and encourage more people to adopt from the numerous shelters throughout the state.

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However, suppose you have your mind set on a specific breed. In that case, it is still lawful to purchase a pet from a responsible breeder like one registered with the American Kennel Club or a special training facility. In addition, all dogs sold by breeders in California must be accompanied by:

  • A certificate of sale stating:
  • The breeder’s contact details
  • The breeder’s identification information
  • The date of birth of the dog
  • The sex of the dog
  • The dog’s coat color
  • The breed type
  • Veterinary recordsAn affidavit that the dog is in good health at the time of sale

You can file for custody of your pet

During divorce proceedings, pets are treated similarly to children in California. This means that either party can request for full or joint custody. We have heard of parties arguing over their pampered pooch and even small algae eaters in an elaborate aquarium. However, you won’t find couples fighting over a pet ferret since they are illegal to keep as pets in California. It is also unlawful to keep any of the following as a pet:

  • Monkeys
  • Squirrels
  • Gerbils
  • Hedgehogs

Don’t let your pet get frisky by a church

We aren’t certain how the law initially came to be, nor how it is enforced. Nevertheless, it is illegal in California for an animal to have personal relations within 500 yards of a school or church.

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We will leave you with one last arbitrary California pet law: if you lose your canary, be sure not to whistle for it before 7 am if you live in Berkeley. Someone must have driven a law-maker crazy enough to push through that specific law.