How Many Dogs or Cats Can You Own in West Virginia?

In West Virginia, many people are passionate about their furry friends. However, there are local ordinances and regulations in place regarding how many dogs or cats a person can own. These ordinances aim to prevent animal cruelty, neglect, and overpopulation. If you are considering welcoming additional furry friends into your West Virginia home, you need to check your local animal ordinance to ensure you are providing a safe and healthy environment for your pets, as well as abiding by the law. Listed in this article are some West Virginia municipalities and information on how many dogs or cats a person can own in them.

A black dog and an orange cat

Charleston, WV

In Charleston, WV, pet ownership is regulated differently for dogs and cats. Residents are permitted to own up to two dogs without the need for a permit, but those wanting more must go through an application process. This includes submitting a site plan of their property, which must be larger than 6,500 square feet unless the dogs will be kept primarily indoors. Meanwhile, there are no restrictions on the number of cats that residents can own, giving feline lovers more freedom in their pet ownership. However, Charleston pet owners must comply with the city's nuisance law, which prohibits any animal from disturbing the comfort of those around it or creating an offensive odor.

Wheeling, WV

The Wheeling City Code takes a practical approach to pet ownership, not setting a specific limit on the number of dogs and cats that residents can have. However, the Code does caution against allowing an unlimited number of pets to become a public nuisance. More importantly, the Code emphasizes the responsibility of pet owners to provide their animals with proper care and treatment. This includes providing sufficient food and water, appropriate shelter, and veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering. By prioritizing humane treatment, the Wheeling City Code ensures that pets are valued members of the community.

Martinsburg, WV

In Martinsburg, households are allowed to keep up to two adult dogs, which are defined as being over six months of age or having permanent canine teeth, according to the City's Animal Control. Having more than two adult dogs is considered a misdemeanor and can result in a fine of $100 to $500 per dog per day, and the excess dogs may be seized. While there is no requirement for a special city dog license or registration, all resident dogs must be registered and licensed with Berkeley County and have up-to-date rabies vaccinations. The City of Martinsburg does not regulate the number of cats residents can own.

South Charleston, WV

Residents in South Charleston are required to obtain a permit from the Property Board before keeping more than two dogs on their premises. The permit is granted at the discretion of the Board, provided that the dogs do not pose a threat to health or cause unsanitary conditions. Failure to apply for the permit within 30 days can result in a fine of up to $50 per day. Interestingly, there are no regulations on the number of cats residents can own in South Charleston.

Bluefield, WV

In Bluefield, pet ownership is governed by the City Code of Ordinance Chapter 4. Residents are permitted to own up to three pets, whether they are dogs, cats, or a combination of both. However, pit bulls and wolf-hybrids are prohibited within city limits. Despite the ban, owners who registered their pit bulls and wolf-hybrid breeds before the law was enacted are allowed to continue ownership.


Many West Virginia municipalities do not regulate the number of household pets residents can own. If you live in an area where dog or cat ownership is not regulated by law, the number of pets you can own is typically left up to your own discretion. However, it's important to consider several factors before deciding how many pets to have, such as the size of your living space, your ability to provide proper care and attention, and your financial resources. Additionally, owning multiple pets means more responsibility and potential challenges, so it's important to evaluate whether you have the capacity to handle it. Ultimately, the decision of how many pets to own should be made responsibly and with the well-being of the animals in mind.


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