Cats and Dogs
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Are cats abused more than dogs?

Animal Care and Welfare

Concerns involving dogs, cats and other pets should be reported to local animal control and law enforcement agencies. BOAH does not have authority to investigate concerns related to dogs, cats, or other pets.

Concerns involving livestock, horses and poultry should be reported to local animal control and/or law enforcement agencies. Concerns may also be reported to BOAH.

Livestock, Horses and Poultry

In cases involving livestock (which includes horses) and poultry, BOAH does have jurisdiction to enforce the agency’s standards of care (345 IAC 14). In addition, BOAH may refer a case to local law enforcement on investigations with violations of the criminal code.

Suspected cases/complaints may be submitted to BOAH online at , by phone at (877) 747-3038, or via e-mail at . Complaints must include contact information for the submitter to allow appropriate follow-up to gather further information. Anonymous complaints are not accepted.

Complaints submitted to BOAH are reviewed by a staff member. BOAH may investigate, in cooperation with local animal control or law enforcement in that jurisdiction. Individuals submitting complaints will not be notified of the outcome of the investigation.

Dog, Cats and Other Small Animals

Enforcement of Indiana’s neglect and abuse law for small (companion) animals falls to the jurisdiction of local animal control or law enforcement agencies. The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) does not have the leading authority in these situations, except for licensed commercial dog breeding operations. BOAH will assist local ACOR law enforcement in assessing animals and their living conditions when requested. BOAH will also evaluate the condition of the animals when requested by the court with jurisdiction if charges are filed under the animal cruelty law (IC 35-46-3).

To report suspected abuse and/or neglect, contact your local animal control agency, if your city/county has one (many do not). Often, animal control is a part of the sheriff’s department.

If that is unsuccessful, you should contact your local police/sheriff department. This is not always successful, as law enforcement agencies are tasked with many duties and must set priorities. You may need to contact a local, elected city/county official for assistance or guidance.

Pet Shops, Rescues and Shelters

Currently, pet shops, boarding kennels and similar businesses are not licensed/regulated specifically by the state of Indiana. Some local communities/counties may have regulations that apply. Your best bet is to contact your local government (city and/or county) clerk’s office for guidance. Many communities have zoning requirements or sanitation standards through the local health department.

Commercial Dog Breeders and Brokers

Since 2010, the Board of Animal Health has registered commercial dog breeders and brokers to ensure animal care and welfare standards are met. Information about Indiana’s commercial dog breeder and broker program is online:

Livestock Markets

In January 1998, the Board of Animal Health revised the rules regulating livestock dealers and markets. A new section in the rule addresses the care and handling of livestock at markets in Indiana.

Care and Handling of Livestock

Every person licensed to operate a market facility (including livestock auction markets, stockyards and concentration points) in Indiana must maintain a minimum standard of care for animals in that facility. Livestock housed at a market for more than 24 hours must have access to feed and water.

Use of implements, such as electric prods, canes, whips, paddles or canvas straps, to drive animals must be limited only to the extent reasonably necessary to handle or drive livestock.

Non-Ambulatory Animals

Occasionally, because of illness or injury, individual animals arrive at a market conscious, but unable to walk or stand without assistance.

State law prohibits markets from accepting delivery of these nonambulatory (or «downed») livestock. However, market facilities in Indiana may euthanize the animal.

Markets must have written policies, procedures and equipment in place to handle animals that become nonambulatory after delivery to the facility.

By law, livestock that becomes nonambulatory after arriving at a market facility must be disposed of within 24 hours of discovery or receiving of notice of the animal’s condition. Click here for dead animal disposal requirements .

More information about handling techniques for nonambulatory animals and a livestock handling guide can be obtained from the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, 13570 Meadowgrass Drive, Suite 201, Colorado Springs, CO 80921, or online at .

The Indiana BOAH recognizes the American Veterinary Medical Association’s guidelines for euthanasia of animals. The guidelines are available in PDF format for viewing.

Massachusetts law about animals

330 CMR Mass. Dept. of Agricultural Resources
Includes regulations about domestic animals in Massachusetts. Does not include hunting or wild or exotic animals.

Farm animals
  • 330 CMR 35 Regulations implementing the Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals
    «. applies only to the production and sale of veal meat, pork meat, shell eggs, and egg products in Massachusetts as defined in St. 2021, c.108.»
Domestic animals
  • 321 CMR 9.02 List of domestic animals
    Includes dogs and cats.
Exotic pets
  • 321 CMR 2.12 Artificial propagation of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians
  • 321 CMR 9.01 Exotic pets exemption list
    Lists «species which are exempt from the licensing provisions of MGL c.131, § 23. This list includes wild (i.e., non-domesticated) vertebrate animals which may be imported, sold or possessed without a permit.»
Kittens and puppies
  • 330 CMR 12.05(3)(b) Restrictions on sale. Limits the sale of certain pets by licensed businesses. Does not appear to apply to if you are selling your own animal (MGL c.129 § 39A).

No licensee shall . acquire, display, offer for sale, sell or give away any dog or cat which is younger than 8 weeks old

Lemon Law
  • 330 CMR 12.05(5) Massachusetts pet «lemon law.»
    Provides, in part: “Each Class A Licensee shall provide a full refund of the purchase price of a dog or cat, or if the Licensee and the customer both consent, a substitution Animal, to any customer who: (a) Within 14 calendar days of the Sale, has the dog or cat examined by a Veterinarian of the customer’s choice, and the examination indicates the dog or cat is diseased or has a congenital disorder; and (b) Presents the dog or cat to the Licensee within three days of the date of the examination, with a Veterinarian’s written statement that the dog or cat is diseased or has a congenital disorder, and proof of Sale.”

Court rules

Uniform Magistrate Rules: Rule 5: Petitions for review of dog orders, Mass. Trial Court.

Selected cases

More Massachusetts case law
Chart of more Massachusetts case law compiled by Michigan State University College.

Web sources

Animal imports and livestock markets, MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources.
Summarizes import requirements for a wide variety of animals.

Animal laws and regulations in Massachusetts, Mass. Animal Fund, Mass. Dept. of Agricultural Resources, Division of Animal Health, 2022.
«Massachusetts has a variety of laws that are in place to ensure proper regulation of companion animals. Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) Chapter 140, Sections 136A — 174E, cover the majority of authorities and responsibilities associated with the performance of the animal control officer (ACO) position.»

Buying a dog in Massachusetts, MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources.
Provides basic information on what you should know before buying a dog.

Buying pets,
What to look for, and what to know about sellers’ promises and buyers’ responsibilities.

Dog bites and other injuries,
Lists commonsense steps to take to keep your dog from biting, and to avoid trouble if he does.

Flying with pets and service animals: the not-so-friendly skies,
Discusses problems, options, steps to take in preparing your pet for travel, regulations governing pet travel , and rules on emotional support animals .

Frequently asked questions (FAQs), Animal Legal & Historical Center, Michigan State University College of Law, 2022.
Provides answers to questions on animals and pets.

Helping your clients provide for pets in estate plans , Mass. Bar Association, 2006.
Detailed information on things to consider, appropriate documents, and a sample will provision.

Importing and exporting livestock, MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources.
Summarizes import requirements for cattle, swine, sheep, goats, horses, and lamas and other domesticated livestock.

Importing and exporting pets , MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources.
Summarizes import requirements for dogs, cat, rabbits and birds.

Orders concerning domesticated animals in conjunction with restraining orders, Memo from Chief Justice of the Trial Court and Court Administrator, October 31, 2012.
Includes explanation of the law and procedures, with forms.

Pet custody, Trial Court Law Libraries, February 2016.
«When two people, either married or unmarried, break up, who gets to keep the pet(s)? Can the court order joint custody of the dog or cat, as it would a child? Can one party get visitation rights? Is a pet treated in a legal sense in the same way as a child, or simply as property?»

Rabies protocols and regulations, MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources.
Discusses Rabies vaccination and quarantine protocols and regulations for animal bites.

Table of state laws concerning minimum age for sale of puppies, Animal Legal & Historical Center, Michigan State University College of Law, 2020.

Print sources

Animal law, Jonathan S. Rankin, et al., MCLE, 2009

Animal law in a nutshell , 3rd ed., West Academic Publishing, 2021.

Blair, Keshia L. “Criminal law—must love dogs: Zach and Kenji’s escape from confinement and the broader context of animal cruelty— Commonwealth v. Trefry, 51 N.E.3d 502 (Mass. App. Ct. 2016) ” (89 Mass. App. Ct. 568 (2016)) v. 22 Suffolk Journal of Trial & Appellate Advocacy 402 (2016-2017).

Harris, Susan. «Woof, woof, we’re getting a divorce» : pet custody and the law. v. 30 Issue 3 Massachusetts family law journal 30 (May/June 2012)

Massachusetts Practice:

  • vol. 2A (Family law and practice : with forms) 4th ed. Thomson Reuters, 2013 with supplement. Section 56:25 Pets.
  • vol. 10A (Procedural forms annotated) 6th ed. West, 2009 with supplement. Sections 42:13-42:19 Complaints-Animals.
  • vol. 12 (Motor vehicle law and practice : with forms) 5th ed. Thomson Reuters, 2021. Section 17.99 Offenses involving animals and motor vehicles.
  • vol. 14-14E (Summary of basic law) 5th ed. Thomson Reuters, 2014 with supplement. Section 8:288 Abuse Prevention Act-Pets owned by people; Section 12:56.50 Execution-Inspection of property for presence of abandoned animals; Section 14:185 Inspection for abandoned animals; Section 16:203 Wild animals-Generally; Section 16:204 Limitations on liability; Section 16:205 Domestic animals-Generally; 16:206 Massachusetts dog-injury statute-Strict liability; 16:207 —Exception to liability; 16:208 — Damages.
  • vol. 17A-17B (Prima facie case : proof and defense ) 5th ed. West Pub., 2005 with supplement. Chapter 45 — Damage or injury caused by animals ; Section 53.18.50 Animal cruelty; Section 59.159 Dog bite-Child under seven.
  • vol. 18A (Municipal law and practice) 5th ed. Thomson/West, 2006 with supplement . Section 16.11 Animals.
  • vol. 22 (Probate law and practice : with forms) 3rd ed. Thomson Reuters, 2019 with supplement . Section 37:15 Trusts for the care of animals.
  • vol. 32 (Criminal law) 3rd ed. West Group, 2001 with supplement. Section 531 Crimes against animals.

Motor vehicle Massachusetts police manual 2022 : the Massachusetts police reference for motor vehicle law, John Sofis Scheft, Law Enforcement Dimensions, 2022. Chapter 22 Animal protection & safe transport. Overview of animal laws.

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