Topeka City Ordinances

Animal Ordinances

The Topeka Police Department Animal Control Unit is responsible for enforcing various city ordinances regarding animals, including:

Topeka Animal Cruelty Ordinance
It is unlawful for any person to intentionally kill, injure, maim, torture or mutilate any animal, abandon or leave any animal in any place without making provisions for its proper care, fail to provide food, water, exercise or other care as needed for the health or well-being of the animal, fail to provide necessary protection from the elements for the animal including sufficient shade from sunlight and sufficient protection from temperatures below 40 degrees. This is a brief overview of the current law. For more information on this ordinance, contact the Topeka Police Department Animal Control Office at 785.368.9484 or review the Topeka Municipal Code online here.

Topeka Tethering Ordinance
It is illegal for a dog, cat, or miniature pot-belly pig to be tethered or chained for more than 15 minutes without supervision in the city limits.

Tethering refers to any chain, leash, rope, cable, string, leather or nylon strap or any other material used to fasten a dog to a stationary object, pulley run line or a stake.

Whatever the reasons may be for the tethering of dogs, the City of Topeka has recognized its dangers, including the possible death of the animal.

The ordinance also prohibits:
1. Using any tether shorter than 10 feet in length.
2. Chains weighing more than 1/8 of the animal’s weight, or inhibiting the free movement  of the animal.
3. Tethering a dog on a choke chain.
4. Tethering a dog without access to proper protection from the elements.
5. Tethering a dog in an open area where it can be teased by people or in an area that does not provide protection from attack by other animals.
6. Tethering an animal where no steps have been taken to prevent the surface from becoming wet and muddy in the event of precipitation.

The Topeka Police Department suggests alternatives to tethering:
1. Install a fence if your property doesn’t have one
2. Install a large, chain-link dog run
3. Train your dog to be an indoor dog

Keeping your dog inside the fence:
If you have problems with your dog jumping over the fence, try installing a 45-degree inward extension to the top of existing fence. If your dog digs under the fence, bury chicken wire to a depth of one foot below where the fence meets the ground or place large rocks at the base of the fence.

Behavioral problems:
1. Spay or neuter your dog
2. Enroll your dog in obedience classes
3. Provide your dog with proper toys, exercise, “people time” and positive reinforcement

The fines for non-compliance with the new ordinance range from $50 – $100 for the first offense, $150 – $200 for the second offense, and a minimum of $499 and 2 to 10 days in jail on the third offense.

Topeka Vicious Animal Ordinance
This is an overview of the Topeka Vicious Dog Law:
If your animal bites or scratches another person, you must notify the City Public Health Officer.

If your animal is reported as being vicious, an Animal Control Officer (ACO) will be dispatched to investigate. If the ACO determines probable cause exists, the officer will seize and impound your animal (or give you the opportunity to impound your animal with your veterinarian) until the conclusion of court charges. If convicted, you may be fined $250 – $499. The judge may order you to confine or destroy your animal. If you are convicted a second time within 7 years of your first conviction you face 5 to 30 days in jail and fines of $350 – $499.

Shawnee County Animal Ordinances
This is an overview of the laws regarding animals in Shawnee County, referred to as “Home Rules.”County Leash Laws
For dogs roaming at large within the boundaries of a platted subdivision: The County allows subdivisions to petition a hearing to determine the need for increased dog control in a subdivision, located in an unincorporated area of the county. Sixty percent of the residents in the subdivision must sign the petition. A hearing is scheduled and residents may testify for increased dog control rules. The County Commission may enact a “Leash Law” for that subdivision.

Dogs found “roaming at large” in areas where a leash law is in effect can be impounded by ACO’s and taken to Helping Hands Humane Society.

It is also against the law to keep or harbor any dog, which frequently disturbs the peace by long, continued barking, howling or other noise.

All applicable fines/fees must be paid before the animal may be returned to its owner. Fines for violating these Home Rules may not exceed $250.

Dangerous Animals
The County defines a dangerous animal as:
An animal that displays violent or aggressive behavior.
An animal that endangers the safety of persons, livestock or domesticated animals.
An animal that causes injury to any person, livestock or domestic animal.
An animal that attacks or attempts to attack any person, livestock or domestic animal.

Fines range from $100 – $2,000 for violations of Dangerous Animal Home Rule.

Fighting Animals
It is against the law for any person to sell, offer for sale, buy, attempt to buy, breed or possess any animal for fighting other animals for sport.

It is against the law to train, torment, abuse, tease, badger or otherwise provoke an animal for the purpose of encouraging an animal to attack any person, livestock or domestic animal.

Fines for violating the Fighting Animals Home Rule are a Class B misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $2,000. The animal will be seized and destroyed.

Exotic Animals
In 1993, the County enacted an Exotic Animal Home Rule, making it unlawful to own, keep, harbor or possess any animal, which is not domesticated. County residents, who already possessed exotic animals, had to obtain a $25 license per animal to keep them and follow specific rules for confining them.

Hybrid dogs and cats are considered Exotic Animals and are illegal to own in Shawnee County. (Hybrid: the offspring of a domesticated dog or cat bred with a wild canine or feline.)

The Home Rule does not apply to licensed animal rehabilitators, zoos, circus, menagerie, animal exhibitors or licensed game breeders.

Violations of the Exotic Animal Home Rule range from $50 – $1,000 and no more than 10 days in jail.

For more information on any of these animal-related Home Rules, contact the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Department Animal Control Unit at 785.368.2200.

To Report Animal Complaints 24 Hours/Day:
Animal Control Dispatcher, 785.368.9203

The officers can issue citations for violations in these cases. They also pick up loose dogs, unlicensed cats and dogs, deceased animals and injured animals with no identifiable owner.

Animal Control Officers do not respond to “barking dog” calls. This type of complaint is handled by uniformed police officers.

Animal Control Officers are on duty from 6 am until 8:30 pm in the summer months and from 8am until 5pm in the winter months.

For times when an officer is not on duty, there is a call-back procedure but only for cases of an injured, sick, vicious animal or an animal that has bitten someone.

Animals which are picked up by Animal Control Officers are generally taken to Helping Hands Humane Society, 5720 SW 21st Street.

To claim an animal taken to the Shelter pursuant to charges, such as violation of the leash law or no tags, the owner should contact the Shelter to obtain the number and date of the ticket.

The owner then must go, in person, to be served with the ticket. The owner has 14 days to either pay the fine(s) or set a court date. In most cases, except cruelty cases or vicious animal violations for example, the animal can be returned to the owner after the ticket is served.