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Pet Rules at Indiana State Parks

Help Your Pet Be A Good Guest

Hiking trails, picnic areas, boat ramps, and campgrounds can be busy, unfamiliar, and even sometimes overwhelming places for dogs and other pets. Please follow these basic property rules regarding pets.

The 6-foot leash rule applies to the entire property and to all pets. The only time your pet may be off the leash is inside your camper, tent, or vehicle. This includes pets traveling with mountain bikers and horse riders. If it's not possible to keep your pet on a 6-foot leash, the best and safest option is for your pet to stay at home. At reservoirs (Patoka, Brookville, Cagles Mill, Cecil M. Harden, Salamonie, Mississinewa, Monroe, Hardy) dogs may be permitted to be off leash when in lawful pursuit of wild animals or when authorized by a license for field trials or in a designated training area.

A pet "fence" cannot serve as a substitute for having your dog on a 6-foot leash. Per IAC 312 IAC 8-2-6 (a)(1) a person who possesses a pet or service animal on a DNR property must keep the animal caged or on a leash not more than six (6) feet long and must attend the animal at all times. A "cage" has a top, bottom, and sides, and is appropriately sized for the animal so that it can be clearly confined and other animals cannot enter the space where the pet is located. The “cage” should be made of durable material that will separate the pet from the immediate area surrounding it and may also be used to transport the pet safely. In addition, IAC 8-2-10(6)(A) indicates that, except as authorized by a license, a person must not place or maintain a structure within a DNR property. A temporary fence would be considered a structure and is therefore not permitted.

Your pet is a guest but the wildlife lives here. Please respect wildlife and plant life. Follow the 6-foot leash rule to protect wildlife, other people, and your pet.

Please pick up after your pet. Animal waste can contain parasites. The hiker behind you and the camper who follows you at the site do not want to step in pet waste. Buy waste bags at your pet store or bring plastic grocery bags. If you are hiking, pick up the waste and carry it out. When cleaning your campsite before leaving, remove all pet waste and place the bags in the campground dumpster. Double bagging is helpful.

Campground quiet hours (11 p.m. – 7 a.m.) apply to all guests, including pets. If your dog barks excessively at your campsite, particularly during quiet hours, we may ask that you take your pet home.

Parks are not the place for territorial pets. If your pet is highly dominant or aggressive, please leave your animal at home in familiar territory.

When you go exploring, please take your pet with you. Keep your pet with you at all times. Do not leave your pet tied up at a campsite or locked in a car.

Pets, excluding service animals, as designated by Indiana Code, are prohibited at:

  • swimming pools
  • beaches (unless specifically designated for pets)
  • rented recreation buildings
  • the Pioneer Village at Spring Mill State Park
  • public buildings

Be sure to carry fresh, clean water for your pet as you hike or visit other areas in the park.

Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date. This state law protects your pet from other pets (or wildlife) that may not be in perfect health.

A local kennel may provide a good compromise. If you want to experience the outdoors with your pet but your pet doesn’t handle the campground well, days in the park and nights in a kennel might be an option. Check the park office or campground gate for information.

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