Dogs are social animals that like to play with one another. Having multiple dogs in your family is a great way to build companionship between dogs and maintain a lively and active household.
However, specific states like Utah have limitations on the number of dogs a single family can keep.
In Utah, most areas legally allow a person to keep two dogs in one home. Certain cities, like Sandy, have recently allowed three dogs in a home.
Specialized permitting is required if an owner wants to keep more than two dogs.
Breeders, shelters, and rescues may apply for special permitting that allows up to five dogs in a single home. These permits require adequate housing and care for the animals.
Cats and ferrets are also subject to caps within the state, allowing for only two animals per household.
In total, no home is allowed more than four animals (or a combination of multiple species) without specialized permitting that has been approved by animal control.
Failure to follow these regulations can result in repeated fines, leading to misdemeanors.
How Many Dogs Are Legally Allowed In One Home in Utah?
Under state laws, only two dogs or two cats are permitted in a single household. The dogs must be well cared for, and the owner is responsible for keeping the dogs safe and healthy.
However, the Animal Control Division can issue owners a special permit allowing up to four dogs. These permits are different from special permits that require a separate application.
In no area of Utah are owners allowed to exceed four household pets in a single place without applying and approving a specially executed permit.
Can Owners Keep a Litter of Puppies?
For most dog breeds, having a litter of puppies would quickly exceed the dog limit allowed in Utah. Although you can only legally keep two dogs in one household in the state, there is an exception.
The rule mandating a two-dog limit only applies to dogs over four months. By four months, most puppies have been adopted into their forever families.
If you are a breeder and have multiple breeding dogs, you may apply for a special permit called a Fanciers Permit.
This permit is a special permit that makes an exception for breeding pairs of dogs. The dogs must be registered with a nationally recognized organization and dog registry to qualify for the permit.
Are There Recent Changes to Owning Two Dogs?
Parts of Utah are starting to change with recent regulations passing in certain cities and counties.
As recently as 2020, a new vote in Sandy, Utah, has now allowed residents to have up to three dogs in a single household.
A single person can legally keep three dogs in their home without needing a hobby license. Of course, keeping three dogs is only allowed if the dogs are sheltered and well cared for.
Owners are required to be responsible for the safety and well-being of their dogs.
What Happens If You Have More Than Three Dogs?
Although there are laws in place in Utah that regulate how many dogs you are allowed to have legally, the rules are not strongly enforced.
Unless there is a reason for Animal Control Officials to visit your home, there is no organized dog census in Utah that tracks the number of animals in your home.
If you are found keeping more than two dogs, you may have to pay a fee and get a special license covering your home situation.
What Is the Penalty For Having Too Many Dogs?
Residents found keeping more than two or three dogs in their county (whichever is allowed in your particular area) will be audited every 30 days to see if the situation has changed.
Every 30 days, it may be possible to receive a new citation for having too many animals without the proper permitting. Eventually, citations will add up to the point that the offense becomes a misdemeanor.
In Utah, misdemeanors are punishable with increasingly hefty fines and potential probation and jail time for repeat offenders.
How Can I Own More Dogs?
Strict regulation in Utah dictates the number of dogs allowed in a single household. However, owning up to five dogs may be possible with the proper license.
Residents who like to keep more than the usual amount of dogs should apply for a hobby license. This license type can also apply to owners who want to keep up to five cats or ferrets.
The hobby license is a special permit that requires an application, fee, and potential audit of your home. Dogs must have the right outside enclosure big enough to hold the number of dogs in the house.
The enclosure must be a specified distance from the property lines, must be covered, and must have the correct ventilation.
The Director of Animal Services will verify that your enclosure meets the required standards before issuing the special hobby permit.
What Other Permits are Available?
Owning more than two or three dogs in some regions of Utah requires a special permit.
While a hobby permit may be enough for some families, other, more specialized permits may be necessary to keep more dogs.
Some available permits include the following:
- Fanciers Permit – This specialized permit is designed for people with more than two dogs in their home who use them for shows or breeding purposes. To have this permit, your dog must be registered with a nationally recognized registry.
- Foster Permit – A foster permit is available for families or shelters that keep more than two dogs inside their homes. The foster pets have to be the property of the animal shelter or rescue organization and must be available for adoption. Each dog needs adequate room for its shelter with good ventilation.
- Guard Dog Permit – The guard dog permit is a specialized dog permit approved for a handler with dogs trained to warn, attack, and possibly kill. In addition to being approved for the permit, owners must have a warning sign posted visibly on their property warning visitors that there is a trained guard dog on the property. The dog must also be licensed and microchipped.
Is There a Limit to the Number of Cats Allowed in Utah?
To maintain consistency throughout the state, residents can only keep two cats in one dwelling. The state must license the cats.
Of course, obtaining a separate license for those who have more or breed or rescue cats is also possible.
Like dog permits, cat permits for a Fancier’s Permit or Foster Permit are available for those keeping more than two cats.
Do Other Animals In Utah Require Permitting?
Dogs and cats comprise the bulk of common household pets in the United States, so it makes sense that Utah will have limitations or specialized permitting on these animals.
It may surprise Utah residents to learn that the same rules also apply to ferrets. A person cannot legally own more than two ferrets in a single household without special permitting.
To earn a special permit, residents must provide adequate ferret housing.
The animals must be well-kept, healthy, and safe, and it is the owner’s responsibility to maintain a high quality of life for the ferrets.
How do I add a third dog to my family?
With the new order in place to allow the third dog in some cities and counties in Utah, many families are considering adopting a third dog.
If you are adding a puppy to your adult dog family, be sure to give your adult dogs some puppy-free time where they can escape to a quiet room.
Gradually provide each of your existing dogs one-on-one time with the new puppy until everyone has become acquainted. Always keep new animals under close supervision.
Do dogs require a license in Utah?
Many states and individual counties require dogs to be licensed.
Registering your dog with the county or state is a way for the county to keep track of the number of dogs living in the area and owned by each family.
All dogs, cats, and even ferrets must be licensed in Utah. A pet must apply for a license if it is five months or older and the animal has been living in the state for more than 30 days.
It is a state law in Utah to have your pet licensed.
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