Keep your dog safe by following City laws and instructions on collars, choke chains and tying dogs outside
We know you care about your pet!
Minneapolis Animal Care & Control handles a lot of cases where an owner gets a new puppy and keeps the animal outside. Either because the person doesn't interact frequently with the growing dog or because of common neglect, the collar becomes too tight and begins to cut into the dog's neck. Each year, MACC officers must remove animals from homes when a dog's collar has become embedded in its neck and must be surgically removed. Not only is the dog taken away, but the owner is subject to an investigation and criminal charges of neglect.
Please test your pet's collar periodically and prevent this form of abuse. You should be able to slip two fingers easily under the collar of the dog. Some pet owners have pets with thick necks and keep the collar snug so it doesn’t slip off. If this is the case, a harness should be used instead of a collar. A harness secures your dog’s body instead of its head, so a thick neck isn't an issue.
Choke chains vs. collars
Some people keep their pet in a choke chain instead of a collar. Choke chains and other training aids are only to be used when you are actively training the animal.
A pet that is left alone wearing a choke chain is in real danger of choking to death. If a dog becomes entangled or catches the collar on something, its overriding instinct is to pull away. This will tighten a choke chain and can make the dog choke itself. In some cases, the dog will lose consciousness and stop pulling, allowing the chain to relax and the dog to catch its breath and survive. Unfortunately, we often see dogs that have died from jumping over an obstacle or catching the choke chain or pinch collar. These animals struggle until they suffocate and die.
Use a collar or a harness instead when leaving the dog tied up outside. Only use a choke chain or a training collar when you are holding on to the end of the leash. (Even when you are training a dog, consider a pull collar such as a "Gentle Leader." These collars are extremely effective and they are humane.)
Leaving Your Dog Outside
Remember that a dog is a pack animal and needs companionship. Using ropes, chains or any form of a tether and leaving a dog alone outside can make for an unsociable or destructive dog.
If you need to put your dog outside, please make sure you understand the ordinance section below and other laws such as State Statute 343.40 Doghouses, which specifies the requirements for a doghouse and 343.29 Exposure of Animals, which requires protection for an animal from weather that could threaten its health.
Please contact Minneapolis Animal Care & Control at 311 or (612) 673-3000 if you need any help or guidance in clarifying the rules and regulations about pets.
Last updated May 17, 2013