Every Dog's Legal Guide: A Must-Have Book for Your Owner


Dog owners must abide by a lot of laws, which control everything from how many dogs you can have to what vaccinations they must have to when you can let them off the leash. Whether you own a dog or just live near one, you need to know ...

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Every Dog's Legal Guide: A Must-Have Book for Your Owner

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Dog owners must abide by a lot of laws, which control everything from how many dogs you can have to what vaccinations they must have to when you can let them off the leash. Whether you own a dog or just live near one, you need to know your legal rights and responsibilities.

Every Dog’s Legal Guide
clearly explains the common legal issues that affect dog owners and their neighbors, including:

  • Dog owners’ liability for injuries
  • Dogs that bite or create a nuisance
  • Animal cruelty
  • Landlords, tenants and dogs
  • Traveling with dogs
  • Providing for pets at death
  • Dealing with veterinarians
  • Your rights when buying or selling a dog
  • Restrictions on dangerous dogs
  • Vaccinations licenses and other local laws
  • Guide, signal, and service dogs

The 7th edition has been completely updated to reflect the newest state and federal laws affecting dogs, their owners, and their neighbors.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"…stresses ways to resolve conflicts without lawyers and the courts." The Wall Street Journal

"Designed for people who either own dogs or live near dogs, which is just about everybody." Orlando Sentinel

"A creative, informative, legal analysis of dog do’s and don’ts…well researched and helpful."Los Angeles Times

The Wall Street Journal
Stresses ways to resolve conflicts without lawyers and the courts.
The Philadelphia Inquirer
An interesting look at how the law affects dog owners and their relations with the community.
Pet Advisor
Gathers a wealth of information in a coherent, easy-to-follow format, answers many common questions, and offers numerous practical tips and suggestions.
Dog World
If you encounter any sort of canine legal concerns, this book can give you a great starting point for identifying your best course of action.
Los Angeles Times
A creative, informative, legal analysis of dog do's and don'ts... well researched and helpful.
Orlando Sentinel
Designed for people who either own dogs or live near dogs, which is just about everybody.
Pet Advisor
Gathers a wealth of information in a coherent, easy-to-follow format, answers many common questions, and offers numerous practical tips and suggestions.
Pet Product News International
Contains information on laws affecting dogs and their people, and a section on the laws affecting assistance dogs.
San Francisco Examiner
Addresses practically every legal predicament a pup (or pup owner) can get entangled in.
The Orange County Register
Every Dog's Legal Guide... will help you keep you and your dog legal.
The Philadelphia Inquirer
An interesting look at how the law affects dog owners and their relations with the community.
The Wall Street Journal
Stresses ways to resolve conflicts without lawyers and the courts.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781413318210
  • Publisher: NOLO
  • Publication date: 12/28/2012
  • Edition description: Seventh Edition
  • Edition number: 7
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 841,411
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Randolph earned her law degree from the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of The Executor's Guide: Settling Your Loved One's Estate or Trust8 Ways to Avoid Probate, Every Dog's Legal Guide: A Must-Have Book for Your Owner, and Deeds for California Real Estate. She is also a coauthor of the legal manual for Quicken WillMaker Plus. She has been a guest on The Today Show and has been interviewed by many publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and more.

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Read an Excerpt

First as scavengers, later as companions, servants, and protectors, dogs have been with us a long, long time. But the fate of dogs in the crowded modern world is uncertain. Dogs fit easily into past human societies based on hunting and gathering, and later on agriculture, but less room is left for them in today's cities. Forty percent of U.S. households have at least one dog, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. But dogs are now outnumbered by cats. Writer Cullen Murphy summed up, only half-facetiously, the broader implications of this shift:

Consider an America congenial to the dog: it was a place of nuclear or extended families, of someone always home, of children (or pets) looked after during the day by a parent (or owner), of open spaces and family farms, of sticks and leftovers, of expansiveness and looking outward and being outside....Consider an America conducive to the cat: it is a place of working men and women with not much time, of crowded cities, of apartment buildings with restrictive clauses, of day-care and take-out food, of self-absorption and modest horizons.

Increasing intolerance for dogs is shown in more and more laws, which regulate when dogs must be confined, where their owners may take them, and even how many may live in a house. But before getting into the legal rules, here's a brief look back at the shared history of people and dogs, and how they've come to play such a ubiquitous role in our society.A Little History
Only two animals have entered the human household otherwise than as prisoners and become domesticated by other means than those of enforced servitude: the dog andthe cat.
-- Konrad Lorenz, Man Meets Dog

Most people think they know how dogs came to be part of the human family: someone living in a cave took in an orphaned wolf puppy and tamed it. Or wild dogs hung around human encampments looking for scraps and gradually got tame. Or wolves started hunting in cooperation with humans and were rewarded with a share of the kill. Probably none of these theories is accurate. But luckily for all of us who like to speculate, we may never know for sure.

Experts differ on just when dogs were domesticated. Some say the evidence indicates domestication as far back as 14,000 years ago. Almost all agree that the dog was the first -- by as much as several thousand years -- domesticated animal.

What wild animal metamorphosed into the modern dog -- an animal we now know so well that its Latin name is Canis familiaris? With the advent of DNA sequencing, there is no longer much doubt that the gray wolf (Canis lupus) is the ancestor of the modern dog. Some biologists even consider them the same species, and dogs have almost certainly been cross-bred to wolves since domestication.

Dogs are biologically suited to domestication, says one writer, because of their tendencies toward curiosity, a willingness to move, and the ability to learn throughout life. These traits (which are shared by humans, by the way) allowed them to approach human settlements and enter into a symbiotic relationship with people.

After agriculture replaced hunting and gathering, and permanent settlements replaced the nomadic way of life, selective breeding of domestic animals began in earnest. It is that breeding -- the human tinkering with canine evolution -- that eventually led to today's astonishing variety of domestic dogs. People bred dogs to emphasize certain desired characteristics and, over the years, developed breeds with the traits they needed. Thus the coursing hounds -- salukis, greyhounds, and others -- got the long legs, good eyesight, and slender build they needed to chase prey long distances over open terrain. (Believe it or not, the original idea was not to have them chase mechanical rabbits around a track.) Other hounds -- bassets, beagles, and bloodhounds, for example -- got their extraordinarily keen noses, which enable them to trail prey. Herding dogs such as collies and sheepdogs were bred for intelligence and the herding instinct. Toy poodles, Chihuahuas, and other tiny dogs are scaled-down versions of full-sized ancestors. The list goes on.

But Don't Bring Your Dog
The Dog Museum, in St. Louis, Missouri, contains more than 1,500 paintings, photographs, sculptures, and prints of dogs. Browse all you want -- but your dog will have to wait outside.

The museum is located in Queeny Park, at 1721 South Mason Road, St. Louis.

The Dog's Place Today
Dogs still herd sheep, sniff out drugs, help their disabled owners, and guard buildings. But the main contribution of most dogs these days is companionship. Dogs make people smile and laugh, give them uncomplicated and unconditional love, and stick with them when others have gone.

Dogs as Companions

Dachshunds are ideal dogs for small children, as they are already stretched and pulled to such a length that the child cannot do much harm one way or the other.
-- Robert Benchley

Studies and surveys of dog owners consistently reach a simple but important conclusion: Pets make their owners happy. For example, take a 1984 Psychology Today magazine survey. Thirteen thousand readers replied, including enough non-pet-owners (12%), the magazine concluded, to allow some conclusions to be drawn about differences between the two groups. Pet owners were more satisfied with their lives, both past and present. (That result may be partially explained by demographics: the owners were as a group more affluent, though less well educated, than the nonowners; also, more of them were married.) Fifty-seven percent of pet owners, if stranded on a desert island, would prefer to be with their pet than another person, according to the American Animal Hospital Association.

Hurry Up, Boy, or We'll Be Late for Work
Almost 20% of American companies let employees bring their pets to work, says the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. Looking for one of those companies? Try SimplyHired.com/DogFriendly.

Many parents get a dog "for the children," because they believe that growing up with a dog gives a child companionship and teaches responsibility, gentleness, and compassion. They're right, according to several studies. For example, a group of preschoolers allowed to care for a puppy at their school became more cooperative and sharing, according to the researchers who studied them. "They have to put themselves in the pet's position and try to feel how the pet feels," explained one researcher. "And that transfers to how other kids feel."

On a standardized personality test (the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory), graduate students who had owned dogs as children showed significantly higher self-esteem ("ego strength") than those who had not had pets. The researcher theorizes that having a dog lets a child form attachments without fear, because of the unconditional acceptance the dog gives the child. The dog's trust helps the child trust himself.

And perhaps children should consider getting a dog "for the parents." According to one study of 454 new parents, men who are attached to their pet dogs also make better fathers. The dog-owning dads consistently scored higher on tests geared to measure their perceptions of happiness about their relationship with their babies, their marriages, and their role as fathers.

Those Brits and Their Dogs
The French may take their dogs to restaurants, but no people love their dogs more than the British. (Witness all those photos of Queen Elizabeth with her corgis.) The tens of thousands of pet owners who responded to an unscientific survey by the BBC in 2004 reported that:

  • 65% of pet owners buy birthday presents for their pets

  • 59% of dog owners let pets sleep in their bedroom, and

  • 59% of pet owners miss their pets most when they go away, compared to 27% for partners, 11% for children, and 3% for friends.

Dogs as Therapists

A psychotherapist would have much to learn from watching the way a dog listens.
-- Dr. Victor Bloom

Four out of five people who responded to the Psychology Today survey said that when they were lonely or upset, pets were often their closest companions. One woman in a difficult family situation wrote that without her dog, she "could not tolerate life."

This finding explains why the most striking benefits of an animal's companionship are reaped by people who lack close human relationships: neglected or disturbed children, lonely older people, or prison inmates. For example, a study of fifth-graders found that for children who were emotionally neglected, pets served as confidants and friends -- in essence, substitute parents.

Therapists and administrators now routinely use animals to treat or manage such patients. But for the most part, animals entered into the world of psychological therapy serendipitously. One psychiatrist, for example, happened to have his dog in his office when a young patient came early for an appointment; the dog became an integral part of the child's therapy. In the 1970s, an entire course of research was triggered when troubled adolescents in an Ohio State University hospital -- many of whom had refused to communicate with the staff -- asked to play with dogs used for behavioral research, which they had heard barking in a nearby kennel. Even the most withdrawn patients improved after contact with the dogs.

Get Involved
More and more groups are looking for volunteers to take animals to visit hospitals, nursing homes, adult day care centers, and special children's treatment centers.

For more information, contact a local humane society or Therapy Dogs International at tdi-dog.org, or check out dog-play.com/therapy.html.
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Table of Contents


  1. Dogs and People
  2. State and Local Regulation
  3. Buying and Selling Dogs
  4. Landlords and Dogs
  5. Veterinarians
  6. Traveling With Your Dog
  7. Barking Dogs
  8. Assistance Dogs
  9. If a Dog Is Injured or Killed
  10. Providing for Pets
  11. Dog Bites
  12. Dangerous Dogs
  13. Cruelty

     1.  Legal Research
     2.  State Statutes

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