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City of Wilmington Pit Bull Registration

Pit Bull arriving at DHA for registrationThe Wilmington City Council passed a law in March 2000 requiring all that all Pit Bull type dogs over the age of six months MUST be registered with the City. The law defines a Pit Bull as being any dog who is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, an American Staffordshire Terrier, an American Pit Bull Terrier, or a mixed breed dog who is predominantly of one of these breeds.

How to Register

Pit Bull Registration must be completed in person at Delaware Humane Associaion's animal shelter and adoption center in Wilmington. In order to be registered, your dog must be spayed or neutered, have a current rabies vaccination, and have a City of Wilmington dog license. The City of Wilmington requires a one-time fee of $30 for Pit Bull Registration.

If you live in Wilmington and own a Pit Bull, do not delay registering your dog! Failure to comply with the law means you may be fined and risk losing your dog.

Please note that Delaware Humane Association provides Pit Bull Registration services for City of Wilmington residents, but does not participate in animal control or law enforcement activities.

Please download the guide below for complete information about how to register your dog with the City of Wilmington:

paw print iconTake Care of Your Dog: A Guide for Wilmington Pit Bull Owners [PDF]

If you have questions about Pit Bull Registration, please contact our Client Services staff at (302) 571-0111 or info@dehumane.org.

Related Links

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Info about Pit Bull Registration on the City of Wilmington website

paw print iconCity of Wilmington Animal Ordinances [PDF]

Delaware

Dover and Wilmington Animal Control Ordinances

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: Dover - Secs. 18-1 - 18; Wilmington - Secs. 3-1 - 49



Last Checked by Web Center Staff:

Summary:   These ordinances comprise the municipalities of Dover and Wilmington, Delaware's animal control provisions.


Statute in Full:

Dover Delaware

 

Wilmington, Delaware

 

 

Dover Delaware

Code of Ordinances City of Dover Delaware

Chapter 18 ANIMALS*

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*Charter references: Power of city to legislate for health, safety and welfare of community, subpart A, §§ 2, 17.

State law references: Animals generally, 3 Del. C. § 101 et seq.

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Sec. 18-1. Definitions.

Sec. 18-2. Appointment of animal control officer.

Sec. 18-3. Keeping swine.

Sec. 18-4. Running at-large.

Sec. 18-5. Dog licenses required.

Sec. 18-6. Noisy animals or fowl.

Sec. 18-7. Hitching to public trees.

Sec. 18-8. Excrement.

Sec. 18-9. Vicious dogs and animals--Generally.

Sec. 18-10. Same--Seizure and impoundment.

Sec. 18-11. Abandonment of domesticated animals in a public place or on property of another.

Sec. 18-12. Cruelty.

Sec. 18-13. Public nuisances.

Sec. 18-14. Impoundment of dogs at-large and nuisance animals.

Sec. 18-15. Destruction of animals.

Sec. 18-16. Keeping bees.

Sec. 18-17. Violations; fines.

 

Sec. 18-1. Definitions.

The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

Animal includes every living dumb creature, and birds and fowl.

Animal abandonment includes completely forsaking or deserting an animal originally under one's custody, without making reasonable arrangements for custody of that animal to be assumed by another person.

Animal control officer means a person employed by the city as an enforcement officer, including sworn police officers.

Animal shelter and veterinary facility mean any premises so designated by the city for the purpose of impounding and caring for strays, animals found running at-large, or animals in violation of this chapter.

At-large means an animal off the premises of the owner and not under the control of a human being either by leash, cord, chain or otherwise.

Cruel includes every act or omission to act whereby unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering is caused or permitted.

Custody includes the responsibility for the welfare of an animal subject to one's care and control, whether he owns it or not.

Domesticated animal means any animal that is accustomed to living in or about the habitation of man, including, but not limited to, cats, dogs, cows, horses, swine and fowl.

Food and drink includes providing each animal with daily food and water of sufficient quality and quantity to prevent unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering by the animal.

Owner means any person, partnership, association, or corporation owning, keeping or harboring a dog or other animal. Any animal shall be deemed to be harbored if it is fed or sheltered for three or more consecutive days.

Public nuisance animal means any domestic animal or group of domestic animals which:

(1)     At-large. Is repeatedly found at-large;

(2)     Property damage. Damages the property of anyone other than its owner;

(3)     Interference with persons, vehicles. Molests passersby or chases passing vehicles or bicycles;

(4)     Noise. Barks, whines or howls in an excessive, continuous or untimely fashion;

(5)     Odor. Creates an odor which is noxious or offensive, and/or which constitutes a substantial annoyance, convenience or injury to the public; or

(6)     General welfare. Interferes with the health, comfort, safety or enjoyment of property; offends the sense of decency of the public as a result of unsanitary conditions in the area where such animals are kept; and/or creates a danger to the public health as determined by the state division of public health.

Restraint means when a dog or other animal is controlled by a leash, cord, chain, or under the control of an owner or other responsible person and obedient to that person's commands, or within a vehicle being driven or parked on the street, or within the property limits of its owner or keeper.

Shelter includes providing each animal with adequate shelter from the weather elements as required to prevent unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering by the animal.

Stray means a domesticated animal for which ownership is not established or for which the owner disclaims future responsibility.

Vicious dog or animal means any dog or animal which constitutes a physical threat to a human being or other animal by virtue of attacks of such number and/or severity as to be likely to cause property damage or physical injury. Evidence of a prior instance of an animal biting a human being, without provocation, shall be prima facie evidence that the dog or animal is vicious. This term is further defined in section 18-9(a).

Wild animal means any live monkey (nonhuman primate), raccoon, skunk, fox, poisonous snake, boa, python, leopard, panther, tiger, lion, lynx or any other warm-blooded animal which can normally be found in the wild state.

(Code 1981, § 4-1; Ord. of 8-28-1995)

 

Sec. 18-2. Appointment of animal control officer.

The chief of police may appoint persons to act as animal control officers.

(Code 1981, § 4-2; Ord. of 8-28-1995)

 

Sec. 18-3. Keeping swine.

It shall be unlawful and a nuisance for any person to keep any swine or to erect any pen, pigsty or other building or enclosure for the keeping of swine, without a permit, in writing, therefor from the health inspector. The health inspector shall not issue any permit which shall allow the keeping of swine or the erecting of any structure for keeping swine in an area of the city that has been subdivided.

(Code 1981, § 4-3; Ord. of 8-28-1995)

 

Sec. 18-4. Running at-large.

(a)     Permitting unlawful. It shall be unlawful for any person to permit any animal to run at-large.

(b)     Duties of police and animal control officer. It shall be the duty of every police officer and animal control officer to apprehend any dog found running at-large contrary to the provisions of this section and to impound it. Such person shall make a record of the breed, color and sex of the dog and the number of its license tag, if any. A compilation of the records of all dogs caught and impounded shall be maintained at the police headquarters station. Should any police officer or animal control officer be unable, after using reasonable and diligent efforts, to apprehend such animal, he may destroy it.

(c)     Authority of citizens. Any citizen of the city may take up any animal found running at-large and deliver it to an animal control officer or police officer, or other authorized person, to be impounded.

(d)     Notice to owner. It shall be the duty of the animal control officer or police officer or other person taking or impounding any animal to notify the owner, if known, within a reasonable time, either personally or by a written notice left at his usual place of abode or, if unknown, by five or more written or printed notices posted in public places within the city.

(Code 1981, § 4-4; Ord. of 8-28-1995)

 

Sec. 18-5. Dog licenses required.

(a)     Generally. The owner or lawful possessor of any dog shall obtain a license for his dog pursuant to 7 Del. C. § 1702, and any owner or possessor who shall fail to comply with the provision of the laws of the state shall be punished as provided in section 1-17.

(b)     Enforcement. The provisions of this section may be enforced by any police officer or by any person designated to act as an animal control officer.

(Code 1981, § 4-4.1; Ord. of 8-28-1995)

 

Sec. 18-6. Noisy animals or fowl.

(a)     Prohibited. No person shall keep or maintain any animal or fowl which, by causing frequent or long continued noise, shall disturb the comfort or repose of any person in the city. Such action is declared to be a public nuisance and detrimental to the public health and welfare.

(b)     Notice; abatement; fine. It shall be the duty of every police officer or animal control officer to act upon complaints made by persons concerning animals violating subsection (a) of this section. Each police officer and animal control officer investigating the same shall give 48 hours' notice to the person owning or having control of any animal causing frequent or long continued noise such as to disturb the comfort or repose of persons in the city. The person owning or controlling said animal shall have a period of 48 hours from the date of receipt of said notice to abate the nuisance by disposing of the animal or by controlling the noise emitted by the same. In the event that the person owning or controlling said animal shall fail to do so within said period of time and if the animal continues to cause noise as it has in the past, the person owning or controlling said animal shall be deemed to be maintaining a public nuisance and shall be subject to a fine in the amount prescribed in section 1-17 until such nuisance is abated.

(Code 1981, § 4-5; Ord. of 8-28-1995)

 

Sec. 18-7. Hitching to public trees.

It shall be unlawful and a nuisance for any person to hitch or fasten any animal to any public ornamental or shade tree. Any police officer or other authorized person may impound such animal.

(Code 1981, § 4-6; Ord. of 8-28-1995)

 

Sec. 18-8. Excrement.

(a)     Deposits prohibited. No person having possession, custody or control of any animal shall knowingly or negligently permit any dog or other animal to deposit excrement upon any gutter, street, driveway, alley, curb or sidewalk in the city, or upon the floors or stairways of any building or place frequented by the public or used in common by the tenants, or upon the outside walls, walkways, driveways, alleys, curbs or stairways of any building abutting on a public street or park, or upon any private property other than the property of the owner of such animal.

(b)     Removal. Any person having possession, custody or control of any dog or other animal which deposits excrement in any area other than the private property of the owner of such dog or other animal, as prohibited in subsection (a) of this section, shall be required to immediately remove the said excrement from the surface and either:

(1)     Carry the same away for disposal in a toilet; or

(2)     Place the same in a nonleaking container for deposit in a trash or litter receptacle.

(c)     Exceptions. The provisions of this section shall not apply to a guide dog accompanying any blind person, or a dog used to assist any other physically disabled person, or the animals used in any police activities of the city or to horses used by persons for the purpose of transportation on public roadways. Horses on private property other than the owner's must have their droppings removed by the owner.

(d)     Enforcement. For the purpose of enforcing the provisions of this section, notice of violation shall be issued by police officers or any other persons authorized to enforce ordinances.

(e)     Compliance. If the excrement is properly disposed of by the owner or person in charge of the animal, it will not be considered a violation of subsection (a) of this section.

(f)     Accumulations. Every owner of, or person responsible for, one or more dogs or cats shall take all reasonable measures to prevent the accumulation of animal excreta in the area in which such animals are customarily kept. No such owner shall allow animal excreta to accumulate so as to create obnoxious or offensive odors.

(g)     Violations; penalties. Any person convicted of violating the provisions of this section shall be punished as provided in section 1-17. Fines not paid within 14 days of the day the fine was issued, including the day the fine was issued, shall be automatically doubled in amount.

(Code 1981, § 4-7; Ord. of 8-28-1995; Ord. of 9-22-2003)

 

Sec. 18-9. Vicious dogs and animals--Generally.

(a)     Definition. The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this section, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this subsection, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

Vicious dog or animal means:

(1)     Attitude of attack. Any dog or animal which, when unprovoked, in a vicious or terrorizing manner, approaches any person in apparent attitude of attack upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public grounds or places;

(2)     Dangerous. Any dog or animal, with a known propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack unprovoked, causes injury or otherwise endangers the safety of human beings or domestic animals;

(3)     Attacks. Any dog or animal which bites, inflicts injury, assaults, or otherwise attacks a human being or domestic animal, without provocation, on public or private property;

(4)     Dogfighting. Any dog owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dogfighting or any dog trained for dogfighting; or

(5)     Unlicensed. Any dog not licensed according to state, county, or city law.

(b)     Tort; abuse of animal; crime. Notwithstanding the definitions of a vicious dog or animal as set forth in subsection (a) of this section, no dog or animal may be declared vicious if any injury or damage is sustained by a person who, at the time such injury or damage was sustained, was committing a willful trespass or other tort upon premises occupied by the owner or keeper of the dog, or was teasing, tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the dog or animal, or was committing or attempting to commit a crime.

(c)     Defending human being. No dog or animal may be declared vicious if any injury or damage was sustained by a domestic animal which, at the time such injury or damage was sustained, a person was teasing, tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the dog or animal. No dog or animal may be declared vicious if the dog or animal was protecting or defending a human being within the immediate vicinity of the dog or animal from an unjustified attack or assault.

(d)     Destruction of animal generally. Any vicious domestic animal, any wild animal, or any sick or injured animal, other than a dog carrying a current license tag, may be destroyed immediately after impounding. Any other animal shall be held for three days, except that dogs carrying a current license tag shall be held for five days.

(e)     Destruction for public safety or humane reasons. When, in the judgment of the animal control agency, it is determined that any animal should be destroyed for humane reasons, or to protect the public from imminent danger to persons or property, such animal may be destroyed without regard to any time limitations otherwise established herein.

(Code 1981, § 4-8; Ord. of 8-28-1995)

 

Sec. 18-10. Same--Seizure and impoundment.

(a)     Person bitten. When a person has been bitten by a vicious dog or animal, the person, or parent, guardian or person standing in loco parentis of the person, and the person owning the animal or in control or possession of the animal shall notify the city police department immediately and give the name and address of the person bitten and the owner of the animal, along with a description of the animal. All animals that bite a person shall be immediately confined for ten days in a city-approved animal shelter or veterinary facility, at the expense of the owner.

(b)     Confinement. If the owner of a dog or cat that has bitten a person can provide proof of a currently valid rabies vaccination, that dog or cat may be quarantined on the premises of the owner or custodian.

(c)     Impoundment if not confined. Any dangerous or vicious animal may be impounded by an animal control officer or police officer to protect the public safety. Said impoundment will be in a city-approved animal shelter or veterinary facility at the owner's expense. No dangerous or vicious animal will be returned to the owner unless said animal is confined by the owner within a building or secured enclosure and shall be securely muzzled or caged whenever off the premises of its owner. Every person harboring a vicious animal, vicious dog or a wild animal is charged with an affirmative duty to confine said animal in such a way that the public does not have access to such animal.

(Code 1981, § 4-9; Ord. of 8-28-1995)

State law references: Similar provisions, 3 Del. C. § 8208.

 

Sec. 18-11. Abandonment of domesticated animals in a public place or on property of another.

No person shall abandon any dog, cat, or domesticated animal in any public place, including the right-of-way of any public highway, road or street, or on the property of another.

(Code 1981, § 4-10; Ord. of 8-28-1995)

 

Sec. 18-12. Cruelty.

No person shall:

(1)     Ill-treatment. Override, torture, ill-treat, abandon, willfully inflict inhumane injury or pain not connected with bona fide scientific or medical experimentation to, or cruelly or unnecessarily beat, maim, mutilate, or kill any animal, whether belonging to himself or another.

(2)     Food or shelter. Deprive any animal of necessary sustenance, food, drink, or shelter.

(3)     Cruelty. Willfully set on foot, instigate, engage, or in any way further any act of cruelty to any animal.

(4)     In vehicle. Carry, or cause to be carried, in or upon any vehicle or vessel, or otherwise, any animal in a cruel, brutal, or inhumane manner, so as to produce torture or unnecessary suffering.

(5)     Causing or permitting. Cause any of the above or, being the owner of an animal, permit such acts to be done by another.

(Code 1981, § 4-11; Ord. of 8-28-1995)

 

Sec. 18-13. Public nuisances.

(a)     Notice to owner. A reasonable attempt shall be made to notify the owner of any animal suspected of constituting a public nuisance.

(b)     Impoundment. Every public nuisance animal shall, upon demand, be delivered to the animal control officer or a police officer. It shall be unlawful for the owner of a public nuisance animal to refuse to surrender such animal to the animal control officer or police officer. A public nuisance animal which has been impounded by the animal control officer or police officer may be redeemed by the owner only upon the conditions established in this chapter.

(c)     Unredeemable animals. Any animal found unredeemable shall be disposed of in a humane manner. Impoundment of said animal is at the owner's expense.

(Code 1981, § 4-12; Ord. of 8-28-1995)

 

Sec. 18-14. Impoundment of dogs at-large and nuisance animals.

Dogs at-large and nuisance animals may be taken by an animal control officer or police officer and impounded in an animal shelter or veterinary facility at the owner's expense. At the discretion of the animal control officer or police officer, such dog or animal may be left in the custody of its owner and said owner shall be issued a summons for a violation of this chapter.

(Code 1981, § 4-13; Ord. of 8-28-1995)

 

Sec. 18-15. Destruction of animals.

Except as prescribed in section 18-9(e), destruction of animals shall be performed at a designated animal shelter or veterinary facility.

(Code 1981, § 4-15; Ord. of 8-28-1995)

 

Sec. 18-16. Keeping bees.

(a)     Location of beehives from structures and businesses. Beehives for the housing of bee colonies shall not be located closer than 150 feet from residential structures, hospitals, public eateries, churches, offices or schools.

(b)     Maintenance permitted at educational and farm facilities; exemption. Universities, colleges, museums and farms of two acres or more may maintain hives on their properties in a safe manner, provided that the hives meet a 40-foot setback requirement from buildings on adjacent properties. Universities, colleges, museum facilities and farms of two acres or more are exempt from the 150-foot setback requirement for buildings that are located on their properties.

(c)     Declared nuisance; removal. Any beehive that is declared a nuisance by a majority vote of the city council may be required to be removed or relocated.

(Code 1981, § 4-16; Ord. of 12-11-1995)

 

Sec. 18-17. Violations; fines.

(a)     Any person convicted of a violation of this chapter shall pay a mandatory and nonsuspendable fine of at least the minimum fine for each offense as follows:

(1)     Any person convicted of violating the provisions of section 18-7 shall be sentenced to pay a fine not less than $10.00, or more than $100.00 for each violation.

(2)     Any person convicted of violating the provisions of sections 18-3, 18-4, 18-5, 18-8, and/or 18-13 shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $25.00, or more than $100.00 for each violation.

(3)     Any person convicted of violating the provisions of section 18-6 shall be sentenced to pay a fine not less than $50.00, or more than $100.00 for each violation.

(4)     Any person convicted of violating the provisions of sections 18-9, and/or 18-12 shall be sentenced to pay a fine of $100.00 for each violation.

(b)     Fines not paid within 14 days of the day the fine was issued, including the day the fine was issued, shall be automatically doubled in amount.

(Code 1981, § 4-14; Ord. of 8-28-1995; Ord. of 9-22-2003)

 

Wilmington, Delaware

Code City of Wilmington Delaware

Chapter 3 ANIMALS*

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*Charter references: General powers of city, § 1-102.

Cross references: Health and sanitation, ch. 13.

State law references: Animals generally, 3 Del. C. § 7101 et seq.; poultry generally, 3 Del. C. §§ 6103--6512; game, wildlife and dogs, 7 Del. C. § 101 et seq.

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Article I. In General

Sec. 3-1. Definitions.

Sec. 3-2. Interpretation.

Sec. 3-3. Inspection of buildings, dwellings, etc., generally; right of entry of animal control officers.

Sec. 3-4. Enforcement contract.

Sec. 3-5. Enforcement.

Sec. 3-6. Necessary action in addition to penalties.

Sec. 3-7. Impoundment of animals at large, nuisance animals, etc.; notification of owners; redemption fees; disposition of unclaimed animals; notice of violation.

Sec. 3-7.1. Public nuisance animals.

Sec. 3-8. Destruction of animals for humane reasons.

Sec. 3-9. Licensing of dogs--Required; fees; exemptions; penalty for failure to license dogs.

Sec. 3-10. Same--License tags.

Sec. 3-11. Restraint and confinement; penalties for violation of section.

Sec. 3-12. Accumulation of dog, cat, pigeon or other animal or domestic bird fecal matter.

Sec. 3-13. Removal of fecal matter of dogs, cats, pigeons and other animals or domestic birds.

Sec. 3-14. Proper and humane care of domestic animals required; penalties for violation of section.

Sec. 3-15. Keeping of wild animals, farm animals; exceptions; penalty.

Sec. 3-16. Pit bull terrier dogs.

Sec. 3-17. Registration of dangerous animals and public nuisance animals.

Secs. 3-18--3-45. Reserved.

Article II. Protection of Certain Baby Fowl and Animals

Sec. 3-46. Minimum allowed to be sold or given away.

Sec. 3-47. Selling, giving away, etc., dyed animals and fowl.

Sec. 3-48. Use as a toy, etc.

Sec. 3-49. Sales or displays exempt from article.

 

Sec. 3-1.