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Table of State and Federal Laws Concerning Dogs Chasing Wildlife

Joyce Tischler


Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF)
Publish Date:
2007
Place of Publication: Michigan State University College of Law
Printable Version

Table of State and Federal Laws Concerning Dogs Chasing Wildlife

State Name

Citation

What Happens

State Park Rules

Federal

50 CFR § 28.43

 

Dogs and cats running at large on a national wildlife refuge and observed by an authorized official in the act of killing, injuring, harassing or molesting humans or wildlife may be disposed of in the interest of public safety and protection of the wildlife.

 

Federal

36 CFR § 2.15 (Title 36 pertaining to Parks, Forests and Public Property)

(a) The following are prohibited: (1) Possessing a pet in a public building, public transportation vehicle, or location designated as a swimming beach, or any structure or area closed to the possession of pets by the superintendent. This subparagraph shall not apply to guide dogs accompanying visually impaired persons or hearing ear dogs accompanying hearing-impaired persons. (2) Failing to crate, cage, restrain on a leash which shall not exceed six feet in length, or otherwise physically confine a pet at all times. (3) Leaving a pet unattended and tied to an object, except in designated areas or under conditions which may be established by the superintendent. (4) Allowing a pet to make noise that is unreasonable considering location, time of day or night, impact on park users, and other relevant factors, or that frightens wildlife by barking, howling, or making other noise. (5) Failing to comply with pet excrement disposal conditions which may be established by the superintendent. (b) In park areas where hunting is allowed, dogs may be used in support of these activities in accordance with applicable Federal and State laws and in accordance with conditions which may be established by the superintendent. (c) Pets or feral animals that are running-at-large and observed by an authorized person in the act of killing, injuring or molesting humans, livestock, or wildlife may be destroyed if necessary for public safety or protection of wildlife, livestock, or other park resources. (d) Pets running-at-large may be impounded, and the owner may be charged reasonable fees for kennel or boarding costs, feed, veterinarian fees, transportation costs, and disposal. An impounded pet may be put up for adoption or otherwise disposed of after being held for 72 hours from the time the owner was notified of capture or 72 hours from the time of capture if the owner is unknown. (e) Pets may be kept by residents of park areas consistent with the provisions of this section and in accordance with conditions which may be established by the superintendent. Violation of these conditions is prohibited. (f) This section does not apply to dogs used by authorized Federal, State and local law enforcement officers in the performance of their official duties.

 

Federal

36 CFR § 1002.15 (pertaining specifically to Presidio Trust; wording virtually identical to above))

 

 

Alabama

AL ST §  9-11-305 and AL ST §  9-11-306

No dog shall be permitted except on leash within any wildlife management area except in accordance with the rules and regulations promulgated by the commissioner of conservation and natural resources, and whoever shall be the owner of any dog at large within any wildlife management area shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.  Dogs found in violation of this statute will be impounded until either redeemed by the owner or destroyed (in accordance with the provisions of 9-11-306).

 

 

Alaska

11 AAC 12.130 (administrative rule) and

AK ST § 03.55.030

 

A state park officer may seize a dog or other pet running at large in a state park and may destroy the dog or other pet if it is mad, vicious, or harassing wildlife.

 

 

 

Arizona

AZ ST § 17-309

 

 

It is a misdemeanor to take big game (except bear or mountain lion) with the aid of dogs.

 

Arkansas

AR ST § 15-41-302

 

Recreational hunting is good for wildlife management.  There was a statute that prohibited dogs from running at large to protect wildlife, but it was repealed in 1999.  Now, there is a statute that punishes (fines and fires) state employees who try to enforce the statute prohibiting dogs from running at large.

 

California

CA Fish and G. Code § 3960

 

It is unlawful to permit or allow any dog to pursue any big game mammal during the closed season on such mammal, to pursue any fully protected, rare, or endangered mammal at any time, or to pursue any mammal in a game refuge or ecological reserve if hunting within such refuge or ecological reserve is unlawful.  Any employee of the fish and game department may capture or dispatch a dog causing injury to wildlife without liability.

 

 

Colorado

CO ST § 33-3-106

 

 

The division may bring a civil action against the owner of any dog inflicting death or injury to any big game and to small game, birds, and mammals for the value of each game animal injured or killed.

 

 

Connecticut

CT ST § 26-107

 

No person shall allow his dog to enter a any state wildlife refuge or closed area.  Such person shall be fined not more than $100.

 

Delaware

DE ST T.7 § 736 

 

All state lands, except as otherwise provided, and state, county and municipal parks in Delaware shall be state game refuges and no person shall hunt upon said lands and parks or kill or injure any game therein at any time of the year.

Dogs are only allowed in certain areas, and in those areas must be on a leash of 6 feet or less.

Florida

Florida Admin. Code 68A-15.004 and 68A-19.005

 

No person shall knowingly or negligently allow any dog to pursue or molest any wildlife during any period in which the taking of such wildlife by the use of dogs is prohibited.  No person shall knowingly allow a dog under their care to enter or remain upon a critical wildlife area during any period in which public access is prohibited by the order establishing such area.

 

Georgia

No statutory citation

Owners are responsible for their dogs and any damage they may do to wildlife other than raccoon, fox, opossum or bobcat.  It is unlawful to hunt deer with dogs. 

 

Hawaii

HI ST § 183D-65

 

On any game management area, public hunting area, or forest reserve or other lands under the jurisdiction of the department, predators (dogs or cats) deemed harmful to wildlife by the department may be destroyed by any means deemed necessary by the department.  Signs shall be posted at the entrance to these areas alerting owners to such predator destruction programs.

 

Idaho

ID ST § 36-1101

 

No person may allow a dog to take, chase, pursue, or kill any big game animal.  Any dog found running at large and which is actively tracking, pursuing, harassing, attacking or killing deer or any other big game animal may be destroyed without criminal or civil liability by the director, or any peace officer, or other persons authorized to enforce the Idaho fish and game laws.

 

Illinois

520 ILCS 20/19

 

It is unlawful for a person to enter a Wildlife Habitat Management Area Refuge Safety Zone with a dog.

 

Indiana

IN ST § 14-22-11-1

 

An individual may not take or chase, with or without dogs, a wild animal without having a license except under certain conditions. 

 

Iowa

No statutory citation

It is unlawful to hunt, pursue, kill, trap or take any wild animal, bird or game on designated wildlife refuge areas.

http://www.iowadnr.com/wildlife/wmamaps/pubhunt.html

 

Kansas

No statutory citation

 

 

Kentucky

No statutory citation

 

Pets must be caged or leashed.   http://www.kdwp.state.ks.us/news/state_parks/park_regulations

 

 

Louisiana

LA RS § 56:124.1

 

Power is given to the local police juries (form of local government similar to county government) to regulate or prohibit dogs from running in the woods in order to protect wildlife. 

 

 

 

Maine

ME ST T.12 § 12707

 

A person shall not trap, hunt, or possess any animal taken from a wildlife sanctuary.  Doing so is a civil violation punishable by a fine (first offense).

 

Maryland

MD NAT. RES. § 10-413 and § 10-807

Natural Resources police officer may kill dog destroying game birds or mammals. A Natural Resources police officer or any law enforcement officer shall and any other person may destroy any cat found hunting any game bird or mammal or protected bird or mammal. 

§ 10-807. Entry into refuge

(a) A person may not enter in any manner on any State wildlife refuge without the consent of the Department or person in charge of the area of land or water.

(b)(1) A person may not allow any dog, domestic stock, or poultry to enter in any manner on any State-owned wildlife refuge.

(2) The Department may grant a special written permit, subject to revocation at any time, to any person regularly residing on lands included within any wildlife refuge to have any trap, dog, or gun on the refuge. However, the trap, dog, or gun may not be used in hunting wildlife unless done under special permit from the Department for propagating purposes.

(3) Where any portion of a State wildlife refuge is used for a State park, entry by any person within the refuge area for recreational pursuits may not be restricted on the portion used as a State park as long as the person does not carry any firearm or trap nor permit any dog to disturb or chase wildlife.

(c) The Department by written permission may grant to any responsible person the right to hunt for vermin and use any dog and gun in connection with hunting on State wildlife refuges. The Department also may grant permission to hunt wildlife to be used for propagation purposes.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 1973, 1st Sp. Sess., c. 4, § 1; Acts 1990, c. 6, § 2.

 

 

Massachusetts

MA ST 131 § 21A  and MA ST 131 § 82

 

It shall be unlawful to pursue or hunt bear or bobcat with the aid of a dog.  Dogs may not run at large chasing deer. 

 

Michigan

MI ST § 324.40106

 

A person shall not take, release, transport, sell, buy, or have in his or her possession game or any protected animal, whether living or dead, or parts of any game or protected animal, from this state or from outside of this state. "Take" includes chasing, pursuing, or harassing with dogs.

 

Minnesota

MN ST § 97A.321

 

The owner of a dog that kills or pursues a big game animal is guilty of a petty misdemeanor and is subject to a civil penalty of up to $ 500 for each violation.

 

Mississippi

No statutory citation

No wildlife shall be pursued, taken, killed, possessed or disposed of except in the manner, to the extent and at the time or times permitted by such rules and regulations; and any pursuit, taking, killing, possession or disposition thereof, except as permitted by such rules and regulations, are hereby prohibited. Any person violating this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor except that any person violating any of the rules and regulations pertaining to record keeping requirements imposed on licensed fur buyers and fur dealers shall be guilty of an infraction and shall be fined not less than ten dollars nor more than one hundred dollars.  At least one case has held this statute to be applicable to dogs chasing deer.

 

Missouri

MO ST § 252.040

 

No wildlife shall be pursued, taken, killed, possessed or disposed of except in the manner, to the extent and at the time or times permitted by such rules and regulations; and any pursuit, taking, killing, possession or disposition thereof, except as permitted by such rules and regulations, are hereby prohibited. Any person violating this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor except that any person violating any of the rules and regulations pertaining to record keeping requirements imposed on licensed fur buyers and fur dealers shall be guilty of an infraction and shall be fined not less than ten dollars nor more than one hundred dollars.  At least one case has held this statute to be applicable to dogs chasing deer.

 

Montana

MT ST § 87-3-124

 

Except when using dogs to chase stock-killing predators, a person may not chase with a dog any of the game or fur-bearing animals as defined by the fish and game laws of this state.  Anyone authorized to enforce Montana game laws may kill such a dog.  The owner may be guilty of a misdemeanor.

 

Nebraska

NE ST § 37-307 

 

Any person who brings or permits to run at large his or her pets on any area where the game commission has not permitted them to run at large shall be guilty of a Class V misdemeanor.

 

Nevada

NV ST § 503.636

 

It is unlawful for the owner of any dog to permit such dog to run at large if such dog is actively tracking, pursuing, harassing, attacking or killing any wildlife in a state-owned wildlife management area.  A peace officer may kill the dog without any liability.

 

 

New Hampshire

NH ST § 466:35

 

If any dog, at any time, shall maim, injure or destroy any wild animal protected by law, the owner thereof shall be fined the same amount which the statutes impose upon persons for killing the same animal contrary to law.

 

New Jersey

NJ ST § 23:4-25

 

A dog owner may be fined $20 each time he lets his dog run at large in woods or fields.  Entering a wildlife management area during daylight hours to train or exercise a dog may require the training or exercise to take place in certain restricted areas.

 

New Mexico

No statutory citation

 

 

New York

McKinney's ECL § 11-0529

Cats:  Any person over the age of twenty-one years possessing a hunting license may, and environmental conservation officers and peace officers, acting pursuant to their special duties, or police officers shall humanely destroy cats at large found hunting or killing any protected wild bird or with a dead bird of any protected species in its possession.  Dogs:  Any person may kill a dog pursuing or killing game in protected areas (no action may be taken against the person).

Varies from park to park, generally pets must either be caged, on a short leash, or are not allowed.  http://nysparks.state.ny.us/parks/.

 

North Carolina

NC ST § 67-4.4 and NC ST § 113-291.5

The owner of a dangerous dog shall be strictly liable in civil damages for any injuries or property damage the dog inflicts upon a person, his property, or another animal.  On game lands, wildlife refuges, and public hunting grounds the Wildlife Resources Commission may regulate the possession and use of dogs and may impound dogs found running at large without supervision or, if unsupervised, without means of identification.

 

North Dakota

ND ST § 20.1-05-02.1 

 

 Any district game warden may kill any unattended dog harassing or killing big game. No action for damages may be maintained against the person for the killing

Animals must be leashed.  http://www.ndparks.com/Parks/rules.htm.

Ohio

OH ST § 1531.07 

 

No person shall disturb, injure, or destroy a tree, plant, lawn, embankment, decoration, or other property or kill, injure, or disturb a waterfowl, water animal, bird, or game or fur-bearing animal, kept as a semidomestic pet upon an island or within the boundary lines of Buckeye Lake, Indian Lake, The Portage Lakes, Lake St. Marys, Guilford Lake, and Lake Loramie, or any other territory over which the state has jurisdiction or an embankment or state land adjacent thereto. No person shall take or disturb fish in any lagoon or any other portion of any of the waters over which the state has jurisdiction and which have been set aside by the chief for the propagation of fish.

Pets must be leashed.  Proof of rabies vaccination must be produced upon request.  http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/parks/faq.htm.

Oklahoma

OK ST T.2 9 § 7-304

 

Except as otherwise provided by law, no person may enter upon any state or federal wildlife refuge or Wildlife Management Area with dog, gun or bow.

Pets must be leashed.  http://www.oklahomaparks.com/faq.asp#31.

Oregon

OR ST § 501.015 and § 498.102 

 

No person shall hunt or trap on a wildlife refuge.  A dog found unlawfully hunting or tracking any game mammal or bird (subject to specific enumerated hunting provisions) may be killed if not licensed and wearing a collar or if while wearing a collar, the owner is notified and the dog continues to hunt or track the game animal.

Pets must be leashed.  In Wildlife Habitat Areas, pets must be kept under control and on a 6 foot leash.  http://www.oregon.gov/OPRD/PARKS/faq.shtml#Can_I_bring_pets_to_a_park__What_about_horses_pack_animals_.

Pennsylvania

PA ST 34 Pa.C.S.A. § 2381

 

It is unlawful for any person controlling or harboring a dog to permit the dog to chase, pursue, follow upon the track of, injure or kill any game or wildlife at any time.

Pets must be leashed and may not behave in a manner that threatens "resources."  http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findinfo/newrulesregs.pdf.

Rhode Island

RI ST § 20-18-2

A person may not in any manner molest or destroy any wild animal in a state protected wildlife management area.

Pets must be leashed.  http://www.dem.ri.gov/pubs/regs/regs/fishwild/parkmgmt.pdf.

 

South Carolina

SC ST § 50-11-2200

 

There are a number of designated wildlife refuges, each with their own set of regulations.  Generally speaking, pets are not allowed.  Pets are not allowed at "wildlife management areas" - owners who bring pets to one of these areas may be convicted of a misdemeanor.

Pets must be on a leash or other physical restraint at all times.  Owners will be asked to remove noisy or dangerous pets or pets that threaten or harass wildlife.  http://www.southcarolinaparks.com/park-finder/parksfaq.aspx#Question6.

South Dakota

SD ST § 41-8-15 and SD ST § 41-15-14

(Also see SD ST § 40-34-11

Dogs may not be used to hunt big game and may be charged with a misdemeanor (1st offense) or a felony (2nd offense) for doing so.  The Department of Game, Fish, and Parks can seize and dispose of all dogs unlawfully used to take, pursue, or kill protected game.

 

Leashed pets are allowed in state parks.  http://www.sdgfp.info/Parks/General/Regulations.htm.

 

Tennessee

TN ST § 70-4-118 and § 70-5-101

A person may not use a dog to hunt or trail deer.  A person may not take, injure, or kill protected wildlife.  Unlawfully killing or injuring protected wildlife is a misdemeanor.

Leashed pets are allowed in state parks.  http://www.state.tn.us/environment/parks/policies.shtml#pets.

Texas

TX PARKS & WILD § 62.0065, § 61.021, § 12.301, §12.306 and § 68.015

 

A person may not use a dog to hunt or trail deer.  A person may not take, injure, or kill protected wildlife.  Anyone unlawfully kills or injures protected wildlife is liable to the state for the value of the animal and may also be criminally prosecuted. 

Leashed pets are allowed in state parks, however there are strict exceptions to this rule.  http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/parkinfo/rules_and_regulations/.

Utah

UT ST § 23-20-3 and § 23-20-4.5

It is a misdemeanor to allow a dog to take any protected wildlife or any nest or egg of protected wildlife.  There is a schedule of fines describing the minimum restitution value of each protected animal.

 

Leashed pets are allowed in Utah state parks.  http://www.stateparks.utah.gov/index.php.

Vermont

VT ST T.10 § 4502 and VT ST. T.10 § 4748

Vermont has a point system for hunting licenses similar to that used for driver's licenses.  Certain enumerated violations, including taking bear or deer with dogs, earn points which can result in the suspension or revocation of a hunting license.   A game warden may shoot a dog who is pursuing a deer or moose close enough to endanger its life, or a fine may be issued.

Pets are allowed in designated areas, must have proof of rabies vaccination, and must be leashed.  http://www.vtstateparks.com/htm/2006Rules.pdf.

Virginia

VA ST § 29.1-554

It is a misdemeanor to allow a dog to enter a game refuge. 

Most state parks are pet friendly, however, most pets are not allowed in Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.  http://www.dcr.state.va.us/parks/pets.htm.

Washington

WA ST § 77.15.240§ 77.12.315, and § 77.15.440 

The unlawful use of a dog, preventing the dog from chasing or hunting deer, elk, or any endangered animal, is a misdemeanor and could result in the dog being declared a public nuisance, which allows fish and wildlife officers to destroy the dog without warrant or process.   Negligently allowing a dog on a game reserve is a misdemeanor.

Pets are allowed in most state parks but must be under physical control at all times on a leash no more than eight feet long. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets. Pets are not permitted on designated swimming beaches.  http://www.parks.wa.gov/regs.asp.

West Virginia

WV ST § 20-2-16

Dogs may not hunt or chase deer.  The dog might be held by a conservation officer for ten days until the owner picks him up or he might be put to death.  There are also a few hunting regulations prohibiting dogs from hunting wild game between May and mid-August. 

Park and Forest staff reserves the right to terminate a stay without refund of any guest whose pet(s) are considered a nuisance. Violation of this policy or damage to the facility may prevent further participation in the pet program at West Virginia State Parks and Forests.

 http://www.wvstateparks.com/petpolicy.htm.

Wisconsin

WI ST § 29.921

 

A game warden may kill a dog found running, injuring, or killing any deer, elk, or game bird (eggs and nests) if immediate action is necessary to protect the animal.

Pets must be under control at all times. Pet owners are not allowed to let their pets interfere in any manner with the enjoyment of the park by others. Pet owners who fail to properly control a pet or whose pet creates a public nuisance or other disturbance may be asked to leave the park or may be issued citations. Leaving your pet unattended for periods of time is inconsiderate to other park users and exposes you to potential problems.  In addition, loose pets may be seized Loose pets may be seized and are subject to local laws pertaining to stray animals. Owners of loose pets may be ticketed. If your pet is lost, inform a park ranger and immediately call the local authorities to find the location of the nearest stray-holding facility.  http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/parks/pets/.

Wyoming

WY ST § 23-3-109

 

Hunting, running, or harassing any of the named classes of animals may result in the dog being put to death or the owner being charged with a misdemeanor.  There is an exception if the dog is protecting livestock.

(c) Dogs, cats or other pets running at large may be impounded by the Superintendent. Any such animal that kills or seriously injures human beings or wildlife may be impounded by the Superintendent in the interest of public safety and the protection of wildlife, subject to disposition after a reasonable public notice and hearing. Animals running at large may be disposed of by a peace officer in accordance to W.S. ' 11-31-301 (d).  http://wyoparks.state.wy.us/rulesandregsfinal.pdf.

 

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