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Denver Animal Ordinances

Sec. 8-134. - Abandonment (PDF)

Abandoning an animal is a crime. After leaving notices, Denver Animal Shelter has the authority to impound any animal that appears to be abandoned.

Sec. 8-46. - Barking dog nuisance (PDF)

Barking Dog Mediation - Why Mediation Works!

Community Mediation Concepts (CMC) - 303.651.6534 or
Barking Dog Mediation is a free service offered by the City & County of Denver

For the Complainant:

  • Timely, Facilitated, Safe and Successful
  • Opportunity to speak directly about how the barking is affecting your quality of life
  • Identify specific steps which may be taken to resolve the situation


For the Dog Owner

  • Face-to-Face opportunity to talk with the person affected
  • Ownership of their part in the conversation and situation
  • Direct involvement in reaching an agreement which takes into consideration your pet and your quality of life


Here is How the Mediation Process Works

If you're filing a complaint:

  • You may call 303-651-6534 or email
  • CMC's program coordinator will call you within the next several days to talk about how mediation can help resolve the barking dog problem.
  • Your contact information will be kept confidential! Only if you agree to mediation, will your name be shared and mediation scheduled.
  • While it is convenient to file an anonymous complaint, it is not effective. Being willing to take responsibility to sit down with your neighbors and reach a mediated solution is much better.


If you're the dog owner:

  • Mediation is a voluntary process. CMC will make every effort to contact the complainant and explain the benefits of mediation.
  • However, we cannot compel someone to mediate. We will let you know the outcome of our discussion within a few days.


If you have received a citation for Barking dog nuisance you are required to appear to answer the charges at:

Denver County Court
520 W. Colfax Ave., Courtroom 4A
Denver, CO 80204

Sec. 8-141. Declawing of cats prohibited.

a. Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, it shall be unlawful for any person to declaw a cat.

b. Notwithstanding the restrictions set forth in subsection (a) of this section, a person may declaw a cat only if:

  1. The person performing the procedure is a licensed veterinarian;
  2. Anesthesia is administered to the cat during the procedure; and
  3. The procedure is medically necessary.

c. As used in this section:

  1. Declaw means to surgically remove or alter the claw or claws of a cat by a surgical procedure such as onychectomy or tendonectomy, in order to prevent their normal functioning.
  2. Medically necessary means that a procedure is necessary to treat or relieve physical illness, infection, disease, or injury, or to correct a congenital abnormality that is causing or will cause the cat physical harm or pain. Medical necessity does not include cosmetic or aesthetic reasons or reasons of convenience in keeping or handling the cat.

Sec. 8-131. - Cruelty to animals prohibited (PDF)

It shall be unlawful for any person to needlessly beat, inflict violence upon or kill, overwork, torture or mutilate, or to otherwise treat in a cruel, dangerous or inhumane manner, any animal, or to cause any such acts.

It is unlawful to leave an animal in an unattended vehicle either without adequate ventilation or in any manner which subjects the animal to extreme temperatures that are dangerous or detrimental to the animal’s health or welfare.

Sec. 8-131. - Cruelty to animals prohibited (PDF)

It is unlawful to leave an animal in an unattended vehicle either without adequate ventilation or in any manner which subjects the animal to extreme temperatures that are dangerous or detrimental to the animal’s health or welfare.

Sec. 8-47. - Disposition of excrement (PDF)

It is unlawful to leave animal excrement on any street, sidewalk, play area, park, thoroughfare, or private property (without owner/tenant permission). Waste should be immediately removed, contained in a closed plastic bag or other closed, air-tight receptacle, and placed in proper trash receptacles. Waste should not be placed in storm sewers.

Sec. 8-48. - Damaging property (PDF)

It is unlawful for any owner, possessor or person who keeps any dog, cat or other animal to permit such animal, whether or not running at large, to destroy, damage or injure any shrubbery, plants, flowers, grass, lawn, fence or anything whatsoever upon any public premises or upon any private premises owned or occupied by a person other than the owner, possessor or keeper of such animal, and the same is hereby declared to be a public nuisance and prohibited.

Sec. 8-91 (b) (PDF) 

A Food Producing Animal (Restricted Livestock or Fowl) Permit is required for the keeping of up to eight (8) ducks and or chickens combined, and up to two (2) dwarf goats (dwarf goats shall mean Nigerian Dwarf or African Pygmy breeds of goats). Keeping more than eight (8) ducks and/or chickens combined requires a Livestock Permit. Such license shall allow the keeping of the animals by the licensee on a specific property and shall be personal to the licensee and nontransferable. The license shall be valid indefinitely.

The following requirements must be met:

(1) No intact male goats older than 6 weeks, roosters or drakes may be kept.

(2) There must be at least sixteen (16) square feet of permeable land area available for each duck or chicken plus adequate enclosed shelter space for all ducks and chickens;

(3) There must be at least one hundred and thirty (130) square feet of permeable land area available for each dwarf goat, plus adequate shelter space for each dwarf goat;

(4) Adequate shelter must be provided to protect the ducks, chickens or dwarf goats from the elements and to prevent wildlife or other predators from gaining entry;

(5) Adequate fencing shall be provided to prevent the ducks, chickens or dwarf goats from escaping when not in their shelters.

How do I obtain a permit to keep food producing animals on my property?

Food Producing Animal (Restricted Livestock or Fowl) Permits are issued in-person by Denver Animal Protection at 1241 West Bayaud Avenue, Denver, CO.

License Fee: $25

Additional Information about Food Producing Animals

For information about housing livestock or fowl not listed above, see the "Livestock and Fowl Permit Required" tab.

Zoning Code 11.8.5 Keeping of Household Animals *Page 2

The Denver Zoning Code regulates how many household pets can be part of a home residence. Violations occur when the number of household pets exceeds 3 dogs, 5 cats, 2 rabbits, 25 pigeons or 2 domestic honey bee hives. 

Combination of dogs and cats: Zoning Code states that no more than 5 dogs and cats combined are allowed within a household, provided there are no more than 3 dogs as part of the total.

Sec. 8-2. Keeping wild or dangerous animals prohibited(PDF)

Section 8-2 of the Denver Municipal Code identifies animal species deemed to be wild or dangerous. The owning, possessing, keeping, maintaining, harboring, transporting, or selling of any animal deemed to be wild or dangerous within the City and County of Denver is unlawful and prohibited.

Section 8-2-b-7 identifies all specifies of nonhuman mammals that are legal to own within the City and County of Denver.

Sec. 8-16. - Leash law (PDF)

Dogs are required to be on a leash and under control of their owner, at all times.

Denver's leash laws are intended to protect the health and safety of both the people and pets who enjoy visiting Denver's many parks and open areas. Pet owners who violate this ordinance are subject to a fine.
To report a loose dog, please call 3-1-1
(720-913-1311 outside Denver limits).

The exception to this rule is Denver’s designated “off leash” dog parks. Visit Parks and Recreation to see which dog park is closest to you.

It is important that all Denver citizens feel safe, so Denver Animal Protection asks that dog owners respect their fellow citizens and leash their dogs within the City & County of Denver.

Cats are not required to be on a leash.
If you or your neighborhood are overwhelmed with feral or domestic cats, City and County of Denver residents are allowed to rent heart-to-heart traps. Denver Animal Shelter does not provide these traps for rental. A City & County of Denver resident may bring in an occupied trap to the Denver Animal Shelter. The Denver Animal Shelter only accepts cats lost or found in Denver County.

Sec. 8-91(a)

A Livestock or Fowl Permit allows an individual to keep livestock or fowl such as, but not limited to, horses, mules, donkeys, burros, cattle, sheep, goats, swine, chickens, geese, ducks, or turkeys on their property.

How do I obtain a permit to keep livestock or fowl on my property?

In order to obtain a Livestock or Fowl Permit you must first send a (pre-approval) letter to the Director of Denver Animal Protection at 1241 W Bayaud Ave, Denver, CO  80223, with the following information:

  • Your name, address, phone number.
  • The number of each type of livestock or fowlyou are attempting to house on your property
  • Size of area where animal(s) will be held.
  • Vets name, address and phone number.
  • Indicate if the animal is spayed or neutered.
  • Indicate where they dispose of excrement.
  • List of vaccinations animal has received
  1. If the request is approved, a pre-approval letter will be issued to the owner. 
  2. The owner must contact zoning to finalize request (720) 865-3000.

If Zoning approves the request, the owner will need to send a copy of the zoning approval letter to the Director of Denver Animal Protection. 

The owner then must purchase the permit from the following location:

Denver Animal Shelter
1241 W Bayaud Ave
Denver, CO  80223
720- 913-1311 

Annual Permit Fee: (Animal Code Section 8-91)

  • Livestock $100.00
  • Fowl $50.00

*Keeping eight (8) or less ducks and/or chickens combined requires only a Food Producing Animal License. A Livestock Permit is required when keeping more than eight (8) ducks and/or chickens combined.  

For information about Food Producing Animals (ducks, chicks, and dwarf goats) please see the "Food Producing Animals" tab.

Sec. 8-132. - Neglect of animals prohibited (PDF)

The Denver Animal Shelter has authority to impound any animal that shows signs of neglect (ex. malnourishment).

Sec. 8-136. - Poisoning (PDF)

It shall be unlawful for any person to poison any domestic animal in any manner whatsoever with the intent or for the purpose of poisoning such animal.

Sec. 8-121. - Quarantine (PDF)

(a) Whenever the owner or possessor of an animal has been notified by any person, whether or not an agent of the manager, or has other cause to believe that the owner's or possessor's animal has bitten or in any other way injured a person so as to cause an abrasion of the skin, the owner or possessor shall immediately notify the manager of the incident and shall immediately restrain the suspected animal within the owner's or possessor's property for observation by the manager. It shall be unlawful for the owner or possessor to fail to give the required notification, to conceal, hide or remove the suspected animal or in any other way prevent or hinder investigation and observation of the animal by the manager.

(b) Whenever an owner or possessor of an animal has received an order from the manager to closely confine any animal for observation, it shall be unlawful to cause or permit the animal ordered under observation to be removed from its place of confinement for any purpose whatsoever without first obtaining written approval of the manager.

Sec. 8-32. - Rabies vaccination required (PDF)

It shall be unlawful for any person who owns or harbors any dog or cat in the city to fail to have such dog or cat vaccinated for rabies by a licensed Colorado veterinarian, unless such person presents to the manager a written statement from a licensed Colorado veterinarian that vaccination for rabies would be detrimental to the health of the specific dog or cat. Such vaccination shall be performed on or before the appropriate anniversary date of the initial vaccination. Any person who acquires within the city a dog or cat has a duty to have it vaccinated within thirty (30) days of such acquisition unless the dog or cat has not yet reached an age at which it is safe to vaccinate the animal; provided, however, that in any case the dog or cat must be vaccinated before reaching the age of six (6) months.

Sec. 8-70. - Spaying and neutering (PDF)

Spay/neuter is required for dogs and cats living in the City and County of Denver.

For more information, visit the Spay & Neuter page.

What if I do not want my pet spayed or neutered?

You may apply for an intact permit which may allow you to keep your pet intact, providing that your pet has not had numerous violations. Download the Intact Permit Application. The application will take about one week to process.
The intact permit fee is $150.00 per year.


Animal Related Business Licenses

Find information about obtaining a business license for an animal shelter, pet grooming shop, kennel, pet shop, or pet hospital. These business licenses are issued by the City & County of Denver - Department of Excise and Licenses. 


News and Announcements

Contact Us

1241 W. Bayaud Ave.
Denver, CO  80223
3-1-1 or 720-913-1311


Adoption visits end one hour before closing (all adoptions must have a visit prior to paperwork being started).

Adoption lobby is closed to visitors 30 minutes before closing. 

Owner redemption paperwork must be started by 30 minutes before closing.

Full Services

Mon – Fri | 10:30 a.m – 6:30 p.m.
Sat & Sun | 11:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m.

Vaccination Clinic Services

Sat | 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Sun | 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. 

Clinic Cancellations or Schedule Changes

Occasionally we have to cancel or change the schedule for our vaccination clinic. When this occurs, cancellations will be posted in our events calendar located on the Home Page and Events Page.

Closed Holidays