Buying Your First Puppy? 3 Legal Responsibilities To Keep In Mind

New puppies are wonderful. They’re affectionate, energetic, and often hilarious. Being a pet owner isn’t always easy, though. Not only do you need to take care of the animal, but you also have to be aware of several legal responsibilities that now fall upon you as a pet owner. Below are three of those responsibilities.

Dog Attacks

Dog attacks are no laughing matters. Dog owners have a significant amount of responsibility when it comes to keeping others safe from their dogs. While not all dog attacks are considered the fault of the owner or the dog, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Make sure to socialize your puppy early and to pay attention to any aggressive tendencies. If your dog does bite someone else, don’t try to brush it off as a minor incident. It is very likely that you will need the help of a professional, like the Law Office of Daniel E Goodman, LLC, to figure out what to do next.

Local Ordinances

Of course, worst-case scenarios aren’t all you need to worry about. The average dog owner is far more likely to get in trouble for violating local ordinances concerning animals. Leash laws are common in most areas, as are laws requiring pet owners to pick up after their animals. You may also have to abide by certain laws that concern microchipping pets or keeping them confined to specific areas. An increasing number of locales also have ordinances against the ownership of certain breeds, so make sure you do your research before you bring your puppy home.

Animal Cruelty

You also owe a certain duty of care to your dog. You have to make sure that it receives adequate food, shelter, and water. This means not leaving the dog out during inclement weather without shelter, making sure that the dog doesn’t look malnourished, and generally providing a basic standard of care. If you fail to do this, losing the dog might be the least of your worries. Many areas aggressively prosecute those who are cruel to animals and you could look at fines and/or jail time if you choose to mistreat your animal.

Your responsibility to your new puppy isn’t just social—it’s legal. You need to keep others safe from your animal, follow the local laws, and take care of the animal. If you can follow the law, having a puppy can be a wonderful experience. Always remember that you are ultimately the person in charge of your animal the responsibility that comes with it.

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