Be a smart dog owner this spring

As our long winter turns to spring, many people and their pooches will jump at the chance to stretch their legs in the warm weather. But before you hit the sidewalk with your pet, now is the time to brush up on the rules designed to make sure Minneapolis neighborhoods are safe, clean places for people and pets. Now is also the time to make sure your pet is a legal resident of Minneapolis by making sure it’s licensed.

April 11-17 is National Animal Control Appreciation Week across the country. You can help Minneapolis Animal Care & Control keep our city safe, and protect the environment, by following some simple rules this spring. Your neighbors will thank you, and you can avoid paying costly fines.

Use a leash!

Minneapolis requires dogs to be restrained anytime they’re outside, which means they need to be inside a fence or on a leash. A leash is important when walking any dog, even if you don’t think it’s an aggressive one. It doesn’t just protect the people in your neighborhood, but it also can help keep your dog safe from potential trouble with other dogs. If your dog isn’t leashed, you can be fined $75 for a first offense, and the fine doubles with each additional citation.

Clean up after your dog!

Picking up after your pet is the right thing to do, and it’s the law. Pet waste is more than smelly and unsightly – it’s a health risk to other pets and people (especially children) and it’s harmful to the environment. Pet waste left on trails, sidewalks, streets, and grassy areas can run off into storm sewers when it rains, and those lead directly to our lakes and river. And if you don’t pick up after your dog, you can be fined. The first offense costs $100, and it doubles with each additional citation.

Is your pet a legal resident?

Dogs and cats are required to be licensed in Minneapolis, so if your pet doesn’t have a license, it is now easier than ever to do so. You can now get a pet license online or over the phone by calling 311. A licensed pet is much more likely to be returned to its owner if it ever gets lost, and you could face fines if you don’t have the proper licenses for your pet. The fine for not licensing your pet is $100.

When you get a pet license, both you and your pet benefit. Animal Care & Control can trace a licensed pet any day of the week, and often it can be returned to you at no cost without ever going to the shelter. And did you know that pet license revenue helps pay for basic and emergency veterinary care for stray and lost animals, animal cruelty investigations, and efforts to find home for stray and abandoned animals?

What does Animal Care & Control do?

Minneapolis Animal Care & Control’s staff helps both animals and people throughout the city by rescuing injured animals, controlling stray animals, and working to reunite lost pets with their owners. Animal Care & Control officers are the people who respond to calls about neglected or lost animals, and are often the first people to provide comfort and compassion to animals in need. They also play an important public safety role by responding to animal-related incidents of many types. Officers also work with the community to educate about animal safety, neighborhood livability, and animal protection issues.

In 2009, Minneapolis Animal Care & Control…

Report aggressive dog incidents!

Warmer temperatures and longer days mean more people and pets are outside enjoying the weather. Unfortunately, some owners don’t take the appropriate precautions to control their pets, which can lead to aggressive animal incidents.

It’s important to report all dog bites or aggressive dog incidents. All reports are investigated, even ones involving animal-to-animal bites. These reports are used by Animal Care & Control to monitor canine activity and make potential dangerous animal declarations.

If a dog bites, chases, threatens or otherwise attacks your or your pet, report this incident immediately to Minneapolis Animal Care & Control. Call 311 or, for serious attacks resulting in significant bodily harm, contact 911 immediately.

Published Mar. 31, 2010