See Allowed Cats & Dogs By City In California [How Many Pets Can You Have In California?] 2024

California is a state known for its diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, and pet-friendly communities. If you’re a pet lover considering moving to or residing in the Golden State, it’s essential to understand the regulations governing pet ownership.

How many pets you can have in California depends on various factors, including the type of pets, your location, and whether you have any special circumstances.

How Many Pets Can You Have In California

How Many Pets Can You Have In California?

In California, the number of pets you can own varies depending on your location. However, in residential areas, there are limits ranging from three to six pets, which typically include a combination of cats and dogs.

These limits differ between cities and counties, and certain exemptions may apply to licensed breeders who meet specific criteria. Rural areas with more acreage allow for a greater number of pets.

Below is a summary table showing the number of pets you can own in California by city.

California Cities  Pet Limit
Los Angeles3 Cats & 3 Dogs
San Francisco4 Pets (Any combination of dogs and cats)
San Diego6 Dogs & 6 Cats
Sacramento3 Dogs & 7 Cats
San Jose5 Pets (Any combination of dogs and cats)
Fresno4 Dogs & 4 Cats
OaklandNo more than 3 Dogs

Understanding California’s Pet Ownership Laws

California has specific laws that regulate pet ownership to ensure the well-being of animals and maintain community harmony. These laws primarily address issues like noise, sanitation, and animal welfare.

Pets in Residential Areas

(i) Limits on Cats and Dogs

In most residential areas of California, there are limits on the number of cats and dogs you can own. These limits vary by city and county but often range from three to six pets. It’s important to check your local ordinances to determine the exact limit for your area.

(ii) Exemptions for Licensed Breeders

Licensed breeders may have higher limits or different rules. However, becoming a licensed breeder involves meeting certain criteria, such as providing proper care for animals and maintaining clean and safe facilities.

Farm Animals and Acreage Restrictions

If you live on a property with a substantial amount of acreage, you may have more flexibility when it comes to pet ownership.

For instance, in rural areas, you might be allowed to keep a greater number of animals like chickens, horses, or goats.

Nevertheless, there are still regulations in place to ensure the humane treatment of these animals.

City-Specific Regulations

Different cities within California may have their own unique regulations concerning pet ownership. Let’s take a look at two major cities in the state:

Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, for example, you can own up to three dogs and three cats without obtaining a kennel permit. However, if you wish to have more than this number, you’ll need to apply for a kennel permit, which comes with its own set of rules and fees.

San Francisco

San Francisco has even stricter regulations. The city only allows you to own up to four cats and dogs without a permit.

To have more, you’ll need to acquire a multi-animal permit, which can be a complex and time-consuming process.

Pet Zoning Laws

In California, pet ownership regulations also take zoning into account. The type of zone you live in can impact the number and types of pets you can own. Here are two common zoning categories:

(i) Mixed-Use Zones

If you live in a mixed-use zone, you might have fewer restrictions on the number of pets you can own. These areas are generally more accommodating to a variety of activities, including pet ownership.

(ii) Residential Zones

In residential zones, pet ownership is typically more regulated. These zones aim to maintain a quieter and more peaceful environment, which can mean stricter pet limits.

Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals

It’s essential to note that emotional support animals and service animals are not subject to the same regulations as regular pets.

These animals are protected under federal laws, allowing individuals with disabilities to have them regardless of local pet ownership rules.

Impact of Overcrowding

Overcrowding of pets can lead to issues such as noise complaints, sanitation problems, and concerns for animal welfare.

It’s crucial to be mindful of these issues and ensure that your pets are well cared for and do not disrupt your neighbors.

The Importance of Responsible Pet Ownership

Responsible pet ownership goes beyond complying with laws and regulations. It involves providing proper care, love, and attention to your pets. Always ensure that your pets are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and well-behaved.


California’s regulations on pet ownership aim to strike a balance between the rights of pet owners and the needs of the community.

It’s crucial to be aware of these laws and, more importantly, to be a responsible and considerate pet owner.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many dogs or cats can I own in California?

The number of dogs and cats you can own in California varies by location. It typically ranges from three to six in residential areas. Check your local ordinances for precise limits.

Are there any restrictions on exotic pets?

Yes, there are restrictions on exotic pets in California. You must check with your local animal control or city government for a list of prohibited exotic animals.

What are the penalties for violating pet ownership limits?

Penalties for violating pet ownership limits can include fines, removal of excess pets, or other legal consequences. It’s essential to comply with local laws.

Can I keep chickens in my backyard?

In many parts of California, you can keep chickens in your backyard. However, specific regulations and the number of chickens allowed can vary by city and county.

How can I get permission for more pets?

To get permission for more pets, such as dogs or cats, you may need to apply for a kennel permit or multi-animal permit, depending on your location. Check with your local authorities for the application process.

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