For those whose homes are part of a homeowner’s association (HOA), how many and what types of animals may be owned is regulated under the homeowner’s association bylaws.  A homeowner’s association is a nonprofit organization, the members of which are comprised of the owners and renters within a certain development.  A HOA makes and enforces rules regulating all homes under its authority.  In addition to pets, the rules can dictate what amenities are allowed outside such as pools, how the outside of the homes look, and how many people can live in them.   Be sure to check your HOA bylaws. 






Only certain states have township governments.  Townships are administered by a group of elected officials called the board of trustees.   Townships can only regulate exotic animals through zoning codes.  Therefore, if a township has no zoning, they cannot regulate exotic animals.  Just like with county zoning codes, township zoning codes only apply to UNincorporated areas of the township and do not apply to incorporated cities.   



Cities are often administered by a group of elected officials called a city council.  Just like on the county level, animals can be regulated on the city level through an animal control ordinance, health code, or zoning code.  The difference is that the zoning code applies to all areas within city limits. 


HOMEowner's Association

On the county (called parishes in Louisiana and boroughs in Alaska) level, the legislative and executive bodies are combined into a single group of elected officials known as either the Board of County Commissioners or Board of Supervisors.  Therefore, they are responsible for both adopting legislation and enacting it.  The powers of a county government are granted by the state.  Their programs are funded by property taxes, local sales taxes, and federal and state grants. 

County animal laws can be found in three different ordinances:

  • Animal Control Ordinance – The most common way to regulate animals on the county level is the animal control ordinance.  These ordinances govern general animal control.     

  • Health Codes – County health codes are often adopted by a county Board of Health and address health and safety issues such as diseases, animal bites, animals per household limits, and animal related nuisances such as animals running at large or unsanitary conditions.     

  • Zoning Codes - County zoning codes can dictate what animals you can have in each district or how far they must be from adjacent property lines. Counties ban exotic animals by either prohibiting them in all districts or in certain districts such as residential.  However, it is important to note that zoning codes only apply to the UNincorporated areas of the county.  They have no authority over townships with their own zoning codes and incorporated cities, but these townships and cities may choose to adopt all or part of the county zoning code.