Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where can I find a list of Indiana state animal-related laws?
A: The following list of links is a starting point for accessing the animal-related laws in the state. (This does not include city and county ordinances or federal laws.) Contact an attorney for additional information and specific legal advice.
"IC" refers to the Indiana Code.
"IAC" refers to the Indiana Administrative Code.
SEARCH INSTRUCTIONS: Clicking on the link for the IC or IAC will take you to the PDF document or webpage that the rule is on. Enter the IC or IAC number in the search document window. This will take you to the specific rule you are looking for.
- Criminal laws relating to animals, IC 35-46-3
- Animal health laws, IC 15-17, 345 IAC
- Indiana veterinary practice law, IC 25-38.1-1, 888IAC
- Horse racing, IC 15-19-3
- Livestock killing dogs, IC 15-20-2
- Dog tax, IC 6-9-39
- Failure to restrain a dog, IC 15-20-1
- Failure to keep a wolf hybrid or coydog contained, IC 15-20-1-5
- Livestock brands, IC 15-19-6
- Pigeons, IC 15-19-4
- Livestock certification, IC 15-19-5
- Animal euthanization, IC 35-46-3
- Sale of dogs to laboratories, IC 15-20-3
- Milk and Cream Purchases, IC 15-18-2
- Fish and wildlife laws, Animal control, IC 36-8-2-6 and IC 36-8-3-18
- Blacksmith's Lien, IC 32-33-1
- Livestock Care and Feeding Lien, IC 32-33-8
- Fence laws, IC 32-26
If you know of others that should be added to this list, contact the webmaster with your suggestion at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dead Animal Disposal
Q: What are the legal options for disposing of dead livestock in Indiana?
A: Indiana law allows different options for legal disposal. View BOAH's dead animal disposal options at: Dead Animal Disposal.
Q: I noticed dead animal carcasses lying on someone's property. Is that against the law? Where do I report it?
A: Under state law, dead livestock must be disposed of promptly. Incidents involving livestock should be reported directly to the State Board of Animal Health.
Q: What are the requirements for burying/disposing dead dogs, other pets, and wildlife?
A: Pets and wildlife do not fall under Indiana's dead animal disposal law. Local governments (city/county) may have requirements for disposal of these species. Contact local law enforcement or health authorities.
Manure-handling and disposal issues are regulated by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
Number of Animals
Q: How many animals is a person allowed to own? How many animals can be kept on a property? How much land is needed for animals?
A: First, check local laws and ordinances to see if any apply. Home owners' associations (HOAs) or landlords may also have restrictions apart of legal requirements.
Dogs, cats and small animals (pets): In general, state law does not restrict the number that may be owned. One exception may apply: If more than 20 sexually unaltered female dogs older than 12 months of age are kept on one property, the site may need to be licensed under Indiana's commercial dog breeder law. More information: www.in.gov/boah/commercial-dog-breeder-and-broker/
Livestock and poultry species, including horses: The state also does not have per-acre minimums or requirements for large animals. In general, the state does not set limits or require registration on these sites unless a large number of animals are present on the property. The number varies by species. In these cases, the livestock operation may need to register with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). Learn more about IDEM requirements at: www.in.gov/idem/cfo/
Regardless of how many animals are present, any site where cattle, swine, goats, sheep, or cervids are housed must be registered with BOAH and must be assigned a premises identification number (or premID). More information: www.in.gov/boah/traceability-and-premise-id/
Care, Neglect and Abuse Issues
Q: What does Indiana law say about neglect and/or abuse of animals?
A: Neglect and abuse are illegal under Indiana law. For more information, click here.
Q: How do I report a suspected case of abuse and/or neglect of an animal?
A: Cases involving livestock and poultry, including horses, can be reported to BOAH by calling (877) 747-3038 or e-mailing email@example.com. Anonymous complaints cannot be accepted because appropriate follow-up may be needed. Livestock and poultry cases will be investigated in cooperation with the local law enforcement agency. To report suspected abuse and/or neglect affecting companion animals, such as dogs and cats, contact your local animal control agency. That may be the city police or county sheriff's department. The state does not have jurisdiction to be the leading authority on these cases, but we will follow up and assist the local officials when necessary.
Q: What are state laws regarding cleaning up pet waste, such as dog poop?
A: Check local laws and ordinances. The state of Indiana does not have any regulations pertaining to dog or pet waste removal or clean-up.
Q: Who is responsible for animal control in my area?
A: A local government-run animal control agency/organization is not mandated in Indiana. The level and organization of animal control varies widely from county to county. Only about half of Indiana's counties have an organized animal control agency. Some have contractual agreements with local, private organizations or neighboring counties to perform those tasks. Some larger metropolitan areas have city animal control agencies apart from county system.
Q: What is the minimum age to sell a puppy?
A: Puppies coming from or moving to another state must be 8 weeks old or older to travel without their dam. Puppies younger than 8 weeks old must be accompanied by the mother if being imported into or out of Indiana.
Indiana does not have a minimum age requirement for selling puppies within the state of Indiana.
Q: Whom do I contact if I am concerned about animals outside in cold weather?
A: First, contact local authorities (animal control, if available, or law enforcement).
Cases involving livestock and poultry, including horses, may be reported to BOAH by calling (877) 747-3038 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: I want to make and sell dog treats/open a dog bakery. Do I need a license?
A: Dog treats, bakery goods and other products for consumption are classified as animal feed. Contact the Feed Commissioner in the Office of the State Chemist. Visit their website at: http://www.oisc.purdue.edu/feed/index.html
Pet Shops and Kennels
Q: Who licenses and inspects pet shops, kennels and breeders in Indiana?
A: Currently, regulation of those establishments falls under local (city/county) law (if the locality has one; not all do). Some communities do not have specific animal-related ordinances. The responsible agency also varies widely from county to county. If the pet store sells certain exotic animals, the U.S. Department of Agriculture may have some jurisdiction.
Q: A pet I purchased from a pet shop/kennel has become ill/died. What rights do I have?
A: The State Board of Animal Health has no jurisdiction in these matters. You should contact the Indiana Attorney General's office of Consumer Protection at 800-382-5516 or visit their website at: www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/consumer-protection-division/
Q: I want to start a kennel or breeding operation. Do I need a license?
A: The State Board of Animal Health does not currently license kennel operations. Check with local officials. Some kennels need a U.S. Department of Agriculture license. Dog breeders who own more than 20 sexually-intact breeding females must register their operation with BOAH. More information is available on the Commercial Dog Breeder and Broker web page.
Veterinary Licensing, Complaints, Laws
Q: How do I file a complaint about a veterinarian?
A: Complaints should be submitted to the Veterinary Licensing Board of the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency; IGCS Room W041; Indianapolis, IN 46204. Or visit the PLA website.
Q: How can a veterinary clinic dispose of the used needles from the practice?
A: The Indiana State Department of Health has created a guidebook, Community Options for Safe Needle Disposal, to give Hoosiers information on disposing of used sharps, such as needles.
Service Dogs and Emotional Support Pets
The Indiana State Board of Animal Health does NOT regulate service animals or emotional support animals.
Q: What is a service dog and where are they allowed to go?
A: The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) defines a service dog as a dog that has been individually trained to perform tasks on cue that assist a person with a disability. The tasks performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability.
Service dogs are protected by the ADA, which allows them to be in public places where dogs are not allowed (i.e., grocery store, restaurant, etc.).
To learn more about service dogs in Indiana visit the Indiana Canine Assistance Network (ICAN) online: www.icandog.org/about-our-dogs/service-dog-laws
Q: Are service dogs and emotional support/comfort dogs considered the same under state laws?
A: No. Indiana state laws cover service dogs as defined by the ADA. Emotional support/comfort animals are not recognized under state laws.
Q: Is an emotional support pet protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
A: No. This term is used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person. Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.
Q: Are there any regulations on pet cemetery construction, maintenance, burial, etc.?
A: The Indiana State Board of Animal Health does not have any regulations for pet cemeteries. If the animals buried are considered livestock, then the guidelines for Dead Animal Disposal would have to be followed. It is recommended to check with the Department of Natural Resources. They regulate human cemeteries, and may have some guidelines or recommendations. Also, check with local/county ordinances because they may have rules on pet cemeteries. If any of the animals are to be cremated you will need to speak with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
Q: A bird/animal pest is in my home/garage/property and I want it removed. Who can do that for me?
A: Contact a local commercial pest control service (refer to the Yellow Pages) or for a referral, contact the Indiana Wildlife Conflict Hotline on their website.
Updated October 1, 2020