·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

News & Politics

Pet Health Law Regulations in the US

— October 30, 2020

When you are on a dog walk remember to obey local ordinances like license, leash, and noise control. Be sure to pick up the pile before leaving.

Owning a pet in the US is by no means a walk in the park, aside from your personal care, you have to be aware of federal and state laws. 

The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and the Health Research Extension Act (HREA) are some laws that look after the welfare of animals.

A happy pet parent will not be intimidated by the laws and regulations. Especially if he wakes up in the morning looking at a happy face with tongue out, a pair of big eyes smiling, and a wet nose beside his bed.

Caring for Animals to Keep Your Pet Healthy

Being a pet owner comes with lots of responsibilities; you have to invest time, lots of patience, effort, and money to keep Fido in good shape and vigorous. You will be rewarded with a loyal companion, happiness, and some health benefits.

Regular visits to the vet are important to keep your pet healthy as well as care for any ailments. If Fido shows some difficulty in physical movements, consult a canine rehabilitation therapist. They are animal health professionals who develop and carry out therapy plans to improve your dog’s mobility and decrease pain.

Watch your pooch’s weight by following your vet’s dietary advice. This will meet your dog’s nutritional requirements based on size, age, and breed. Health treats are good rewards and provide fresh water.

Two dogs running down a dirt road; image by Alvan Nee, via
Two dogs running down a dirt road; image by Alvan Nee, via

Involve your dog in physical activities to keep in shape and burn those excess calories. Both of you will profit from the exercise with some health benefits and enjoying each other’s company.

When you are on a dog walk remember to obey local ordinances like license, leash, and noise control. Be sure to pick up the pile before leaving.

Laws to Protect Animals in the US

Laws in the United States protecting animals are legislated and imposed in every level of government. Most animal protection laws occur at the state level, and a few are passed by the federal government. And there are cities and counties that enact their own laws to protect animals.

Federal Animal Protection Laws

Here are some federal animal protection laws:

Animal Welfare Act (AWA)

Animal Welfare Act (AWA) covers animals caged at zoos, laboratory animals, and those bred for sales like dogs and cats. Dog and cock fighting are not allowed within US jurisdiction. Implementation of the law is performed by the Department of Agriculture, they see to it that the handling, upkeep, and treatment of these animals are within established benchmarks.

The 28 Hour Law

Some animals that are transported for butchery should have a break from travel every 28 hours for exercise, food, and water. Chickens and turkeys are not covered by federal law.

The Humane Slaughter Act

Animals for slaughter should be rendered unconscious to reduce pain. Birds, chicken, and turkey are excluded from this law.

The Endangered Species Act (ESA)

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) protects animals and plants that are considered endangered within and outside the U.S. ESA set out policies about the list of species to be followed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service. Violators can be slapped with civil and criminal penalties.

Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act 

People who perform outrageous cruel acts to animals commits a federal crime including

crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling, or sexual exploitation. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act prohibits the brutality in videos showing people torturing, crushing, and killing small animals for the gruesome pleasure of sadistic viewers.

State Laws

Laws vary where animals are concerned when crossing the border to another state. Some protect the welfare of animals while other state laws do not or they don’t have any.

Rhode Island and Illinois protect animals by slapping fines for offenses of negligence, desertion, fighting, cruelty, and sexual assault. Kentucky and Wyoming do not consider negligence, desertion, or sexual assault as felonies.

Most states require vets to report fighting or cruelty to animals while Kentucky forbids it.

There are 39 states with dangerous dog laws while Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming have none. Dogs are considered dangerous if they’ve attacked, caused harm, or slain a human being or animal.

Overview of the US Animal Welfare Act (AWA)

The AWA is a federal law that directs the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to disseminate standards to oversee the humane handling, care, treatment, and transportation of animals by dealers, research facilities, and exhibitors.

It protects animals that are sold or transported in commerce, exhibited in circuses, zoos, and about five or ten percent of laboratory animals. It does not include farm animals.

The licenses of dealers and exhibitors are provided by AWA for the breeding and raising of dogs and cats for sale to a dealer or research facility. Research facilities are not allowed to buy dogs and cats from unauthorized dealers or exhibitors.

Most commercial animal fighting is forbidden, with a limited restriction to bird fighting. Dealers and exhibitors are not allowed to dispose of any dog or cat within five business days after acquisition, exempted are operators of auction sales. Public and private pounds and shelter are required to hold and care any dog or cat they acquire for at least five days. Violators of the AWA face license suspension, civil penalties, and misdemeanor criminal penalties.

Join the conversation!