Town Talk: You ask – we answer: Pet laws and regulations

Editor’s Note: The City of New Ulm presents a weekly column highlighting activities in different departments in the city government. Once a month the city will answer questions from readers. Questions on New Ulm city issues can be sent to comments@ci.new-ulm.mn.us.

New Ulm Animal Control Officers get several questions in reference to laws concerning pets and animals. The following are just a few of the questions we get asked frequently.

How often do I have to feed and water my pet? Minnesota State Statute does not require that your pet have food or water 24/7; however, it does require that the pet be fed and watered on a daily basis.

How much food and water do I have to give them? State Law requires that the pet be fed a quantity and quality to maintain a proper body weight. It also requires that they are given enough fresh water to satisfy their needs. It should be noted that ice and snow do not constitute water, so if your pet is outside, please be sure to give them fresh water regularly and get a heated water bowl. We also suggest that during the summer months your pet be provided with plenty of fresh water.

Do I have to provide shelter for my pet if it is only outside occasionally? The answer is yes. State law states that anytime your pet is outside, it is required to have access to shelter.

What is a shelter according to state law? The following is the state statute outlining what is required for a proper shelter:

The shelter shall include a moistureproof and windproof structure of suitable size to accommodate the dog and allow retention of body heat. It shall be made of durable material with a solid, moistureproof floor or a floor raised at least two inches from the ground. Between November 1 and March 31 the structure must have a windbreak at the entrance. The structure shall be provided with a sufficient quantity of suitable bedding material consisting of hay, straw, cedar shavings, blankets, or the equivalent, to provide insulation and protection against cold and dampness and promote retention of body heat.

We do suggest that during times of extreme heat or cold that if possible, bring your pet inside. This will protect your pet from the elements and also gives you a chance to further bond with your pet.

Can you explain when a leash is required? The city ordinance enacted last spring does require all dogs and cats to be on a leash anytime it is on public property with the exception of the dog park. The pet does not need to be on a leash if it is on private property but please remember, your pet is not allowed to leave your property unless it is on a leash and accompanied by the owner or responsible family member. Bottom line is if your pet is outside, you need to be outside with it unless it is tied up or contained by a fence or kennel.

Is the sidewalk in front of my residence public or private property? The sidewalk is public property and therefore, if your pet is on the sidewalk it would need to be on a leash.

As always, we encourage you to contact animal control with any questions or concerns.