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Topical Explanations

Primary Legal Materials

Select by Subject

Select by Species

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World Law

Secondary Legal Materials

Great Apes and the Law

Great Apes and the Law

Maps of State Laws

Map of USA

Welcome to the Animal Legal & Historical Center!

Wondering where to go first?

Try the front page

The front page gives recent animal law news as well as recent cases we’ve added. Links are provided to the materials discussed.

Go to our FAQ section

You may also want to check out our Frequently Asked Questions page which also appears on the front page on the right-hand “Highlights” box.  This page has a specific set of questions and answers on dog law topics and more general legal topics related to animals.

Check out our in-depth Topic Areas

Another place to start is our topic areas.  Topic areas contain a collection of legal materials (cases, laws, and articles) for a specific topic with a short summary and detailed legal analysis. Topics range from dog issues (like dog bite laws, lost dogs, custody issues involving pets in divorce) to complex federal laws such as the U.S. Endangered Species Act or the Animal Welfare Act.  On the left-hand side, you’ll see a menu that allows you to navigate to these topic areas. Simply go to “Select by Topic” to find the category for your topic (for example “wildlife” for topics involving wild animals or “farm animals” for topics concerning animals kept for food or fiber). At the topic page, you will first see a summary of the issue with tabs above that can lead you to more in-depth information.

Look at a Map of Laws or Table of Laws

Readers can also find information on state laws by visiting our Map Page. By clicking on a state map topic, you will be taken to a U.S. map that links directly to those laws. Also, we recently developed tables of laws that show you “laws at a glance” for many topics such as minimum age to sell puppies, strict liability dog bites laws, and cat rabies vaccination laws and more. Go to our Tables Page to see what we have.

Review a case, law or municipal code

You can also find a specific law or legal case through the left-hand navigation area on the left-side of every page. The “Select by State” option can lead you to all the animal laws for every state. Once in this list for a certain state, you can look for general topics, such as a state’s consolidated cruelty laws or dog laws. Laws and cases are also presented based on subjects like anti-cruelty or dangerous dog as well as by species such as dogs, cattle, cats, whales, and more. See the “Select by Subject” or “Select by Species” to access materials this way. Also, we now have a growing number of local laws in our municipal ordinances collection. This includes nearly all municipalities that have adopted some sort of dog breed bans (known as “breed-specific legislation”).

This is just a sample of all that we have at the Animal Legal & Historical Center. If you would like an overview of some of the more complex aspects of our site such as journal articles and administrative regulations, see the "Researchers and Attorneys" button.

Thank you once again for visiting the site.