Animal Ordinances

Please Note: The following ordinances are summaries and are not intended to be comprehensive or include all animal related city ordinances.

See the following sections of Lincoln Municipal Code, Title 6 for clarification:


Walking Dog Cleanup (Poop Scooper law)
According to City Ordinance 6.08.155: It shall be unlawful for any person having custody or control of any dog to place, deposit, discard, or dispose of feces or manure on public property or private property of another unless placed in approved garbage or refuse containers on public property or with the consent of the owner of the private property.
Sanitary Requirements - Keeping of Animals
According to City Ordinances 6.04.050, 6.04.270, 6.08.150 and 6.12.170: Owners shall keep all premises, pens or enclosures in such a manner not to give off offensive odors or to breed or attract flies and other insects. (Must be cleaned at least once every 5 days or more often if necessary to eliminate odor or insect problems.)
Rabies Vaccination
According to City Ordinances 6.08.020 and 6.12.020: Each dog and cat over three months of age must be vaccinated against rabies. The vaccination needs to be repeated at fifteen months and a booster vaccination must be given triennially. Unvaccinated dogs or cats acquired or moved to Lincoln must be vaccinated within thirty days after purchase or arrival. At the time of vaccination, the veterinarian will give the owners a tag which needs to be attached to the collar or harness of the dog or cat.
License Requirements
According to City Ordinances 6.08.020 and 6.12.030: All dogs and cats over six months of age must be licensed for the current calendar year.
Dogs Running At Large

According to City Ordinance 6.04.120: It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dog to let the dog run at large, whether licensed or not, at any time within the city.

The term "running at large" is defined to mean any dog that is not under the control of its owner, except that a dog shall not be considered under the control of its owner unless on a leash, cord or chain which is securely fastened or picketed in a manner sufficient to keep the dog on the premises where picketed, or on a leash, cord or chain of six (6) feet or less in length physically held by the owner, or confined within a receptacle, enclosed vehicle, fenced enclosure or shelter, or within the real property limits of the owner and in his or her presence and under his or her direct and effective voice control.

Failure to observe this ordinance means your dog may be impounded at the Humane Society and/or a citation issued.

Cats Running At Large
According to City Ordinance 6.12.070: It is unlawful to let your cat run at large unless a valid license tag is attached and the cat is spayed or neutered.
Cat or Dog Destroying Property of Others
According to City Ordinance 6.08.170 and 6.12.110: Destruction of any real personal property belonging to another by a cat or dog is unlawful and the owners of the pet may be held responsible.

When Shelter is Necessary

Lincoln City Ordinance 6.04.310 requires that animals have convenient access to shelter throughout the year. This requirement is defined and interpreted to include the following:

  • Any dog kept habitually outside or left outside unattended repeatedly when adult persons are not present on the property must have shelter.
  • Any dog kept outside for more than 30 minutes during inclement weather conditions should have access to an artificial shelter which provides adequate protection for existing and anticipated weather conditions. A responsible dog owner will use good judgement based on weather conditions vs dog's health, breed, and size.
  • All dogs should have access to shade at all times during warm weather.

Dog Shelter Guidelines

  • Shelter for a dog is defined and interpreted as a structure having four (4) sides in addition to a roof and floor with one side having an entrance. The shelter should be small enough so the dog's body heat will keep him warm and yet be large enough for the dog to stand and turn around. It should protect the dog from temperature extremes and precipitation.
  • Bedding material should be maintained, cleaned and replaced as needed. The shelter should be in good condition and not have any nails or other protruding objects. A shelter having insulated walls is ideal and recommended.
  • One shelter per dog is ideal with some type of flap over the entrance.
  • For dogs kept in an unheated garage, a box with bedding to retain body heat is recommended. Ideally, the floor of a shelter or box should not be concrete, because it will transmit coldness to the dog unless it has some type of heating elements. A crawl space under a porch is not acceptable, because it does not retain the dog's body heat and will not keep the dog off frozen ground.
Pen Size Minimum Requirements
Size of Dog Pen Size sq. ft.
Extra Large - over 26" or over 75 lbs 48
Large - over 20" or under 75 lbs 40
Medium - over 12" or under 50 lbs 32
Small - under 12" or under 20 lbs 24

This is minimum, larger sizes are recommended especially when a dog house is inside the pen.

Permit Ordinances

For permit applications, please see the Permits & Licensing page.

Pet Shop/Groom Shops
A permit is required to operate a pet shop or groom shop within the City of Lincoln. Such businesses must adhere to minimum standards of sanitation, care, and adequate housing.
Cat Kennel or Cattery
A permit is required and must meet requirements for sanitation and care (unaltered cats).
Keeping of Large and Small Animal
The keeping of certain domestic animals ranging from horses to chickens is regulated by ordinances and a permit is required.
Animal Exhibit or Rides
A permit is required to have an animal exhibit or ride.
Multi-Cat Household
A permit is required to keep or own more than 5 spayed or neutered cats.
Multi-Dog Household
This permit allows newly annexed properties to keep up to 5 spayed or neutered dogs. One acre of land plus other requirements must be met.
Commercial Breeding Kennel
This permit allows newly annexed properties to keep up to 10 unaltered dogs. One acre of land plus other requirements must be met.