Tulsa Laws for Paws

posted January 15th, 2009 by
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Story by Lloyd Benedict

Pet owners should take time to read and understand Tulsa’s many strict Ordinances concerning their furry little friends since many of the laws carry some pretty lofty fines. This article will briefly examine a few of our more common animal laws. Tulsa’s Ordinances can be read in their entirety at www.cityoftulsa.org/ourcity/ordinances.

I have read and dealt with these laws for many years, yet every time I read them, I am again reminded of how many folks are not aware of them.  I am equally amazed to see how many pet owners are aware of these laws but choose to ignore them. For example, it is unlawful in Tulsa to own any dog or cat over 4 months old, unless such dog or cat has a current vaccination against rabies and is licensed.  A license for one year, which requires a one-year rabies vaccination, is $3.00.  Alternatively, Tulsa allows you to obtain a three-year license for $9.00 ($3.00 per year) as long as your pet receives a three-year rabies vaccination.  A violation of this Ordinance could cost you a$75.00 fine per each unlicensed dog or cat and another $75.00 fine for each that is unvaccinated. For further information concerning how to obtain a license for your dog or cat, contact Tulsa Animal Welfare at 669-6299.

Another law most pet owners are familiar with, but many choose to ignore, is Tulsa’s mandatory Leash Law. The law states that dog owners cannot allow any dog to run at large. What many people do not realize is that this law applies to cats too. An exception to this law is that a dog is allowed to be unleashed when it is obediently at heel.  I presume that if your cat can heel, then the same exception would apply. (Now that would be one talented cat.)  In any event, violators of the leash law may find themselves receiving a $200.00 fine and the risk of having their pet impounded.  Having your pet impounded will cost you more substantial fines and fees in order to redeem your pet, especially if he/she is is unlicensed and unvaccinated, and unspayed or unneutered.  Worse yet, impounded dogs and cats are only boarded for three days before they are euthanized if not claimed by the owners within that time. 

Tulsa also doesn’t take kind to dumping pets either.  In fact, in addition to dogs and cats, the law prohibits abandoning “any” domestic animal along any private or public roadway or in any other private or public place. Tulsa defines domestic animals to mean dogs and cats, as well as horses, donkeys, mules, burros, cattle, sheep, goats, swine, rabbits and fowl. 

Another law that Tulsa Police regularly enforce is the “Barking Dog Law” also known as the Animal Nuisance Ordinance. This law prohibits owning or possessing any animal which is a nuisance. A Nuisance is defined as any animal which habitually commits any one or a combination of the following acts:

  • a. Scratches or digs into any flower bed, garden, tilled soil, vines, shrubbery or 
    small plants and in so doing injures the same;
  • Overturns any garbage can or other vessel for waste products or scatters the
    contents of same;
  • Chases any person or domestic animal, or kills any domestic animal;
  • Barks, howls, brays or makes any other loud or offensive noise common to
    its species or peculiar to itself, so as to disturb the inhabitants of the community;
  • Runs at large.

It is probably safe to say that “habitually” means more than once and rather frequent. Violators of this offense could face imprisonment in the City Jail for 30 days or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.

Tulsa law requires every pet owner to attach a current license tag, for the animal, to collars or harnesses worn by their dogs or cats, unless the dog or cat is permanently and uniquely identified with a microchip implant or tattoo. Violators of this offense can be fined $200.00.  

Tulsa pet owners must keep every female dog or cat “in heat” confined in a building, veterinary hospital or boarding kennel in such a manner that another dog or cat cannot come into contact with it except for controlled breeding purposes. Violators of this law can also be fined $200.00.

You may wish to also take note it could cost a hefty $200.00 if you violate Tulsa’s Pooper Scooper law. No animal owner shall allow their animal to defecate (without the owner removing the excreta deposited) on public or private property other than that of the owner.  The law is not specific to dogs and cats, so I presume the fine would be the same regardless whether the perpetrator is your Yorkie or a pet horse, however I am almost certain your neighbor may not measure those results in the same manner.

If you were wondering how many pets you may own in Tulsa, it is unlawful to own, keep or possess in any one household more than a combined total of five dogs and cats over the age of four months; provided that no more than three of such animals shall be dogs over the age of four months. Violating this law can land you 30 days in jail or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.

One of the most important laws pet owners need to be aware of is that Tulsa requires every dog and cat over the age of six months to be spayed or neutered, unless the owner has secured a hobbyist exemption permit. The fine for this is also $200.00, which typically exceeds the cost for spaying or neutering at your local vet.  

As you can see, being aware of these offenses can save you substantial penalties or possibly give you the knowledge needed to report irresponsible neighbors. After all, these laws are not just to punish wrongdoers, they were also designed to protect our animals. 

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