How Many Dogs or Cats Can You Own in Washington State?


Owning a pet is a big responsibility, and it's important to know the laws and regulations surrounding pet ownership in your area. In Washington State, there are specific rules regarding the number of dogs and cats a person can own. These rules vary depending on the town or city you live in, as well as the type of dwelling you reside in. Most Washington State municipalities limit households to 3 cats and 3 dogs. Whether you're a longtime resident or considering a move to Washington State with your furry friend, it's important to understand the laws around pet ownership to ensure you're in compliance and can provide a safe and happy home for your pets. Below are some municipalities in Washington State and the number of cats and dogs allowed per residence in them.

A puppy and a kitten

Seattle, WA

In Seattle, Washington, there are regulations on the number of domestic animals allowed per household. The maximum number of dogs and cats combined is three, unless you own a property larger than 20,000 square feet. In that case, you are allowed to have up to four animals on your property. Additionally, if your property exceeds 20,000 square feet, you are permitted to have one more animal for every 5,000 square feet of lot area. These regulations aim to maintain a balance between pet ownership and animal welfare, ensuring that pets can be properly cared for and that neighborhoods are not overrun with animals.

Spokane, WA

In Spokane, WA, households are only allowed to have up to four cats, four dogs, or a combination of both, as long as it doesn't exceed the limit of four pets. If someone wishes to have more than four pets, they must obtain a kennel license, according to Spokane County's Code of Ordinances. Additionally, all dogs and cats over six months of age must be vaccinated against rabies and licensed to be kept in the city. These measures help ensure the safety and well-being of pets and their human companions in Spokane.

Tacoma, WA

In the city of Tacoma, WA, residents are allowed to have a total of six cats and dogs per property. This means that they may have three cats and three dogs, or any combination of the two as long as they don't exceed the limit. Tacoma pet owners are responsible for their pets' actions, including immediately removing any fecal matter deposited by their pets on public property such as parks or school grounds, as well as private property that doesn't belong to them. Failure to do so is a violation of the city's regulations and can result in penalties.

Vancouver, WA

In the Washington City of Vancouver, pet owners are limited to three dogs that are 5 months old or older per property, but there are no regulations on the number of cats. Licensing through Clark County Animal Control is required for dogs and cats over six months old. While dogs can be off-leash on their owner's property or in designated off-leash dog parks, they must be leashed when outside of these areas. Pet owners are required to be mindful of their dog's barking and how it may affect their neighbors, as per Vancouver Code.

Bellevue, WA

The City of Bellevue has established a strict policy regarding household pets, allowing no more than three pets per household, including cats, dogs, and rabbits. However, if you wish to own more than three pets, you can apply for a Conditional Use Permit, which is required to comply with the city's regulations. Although it may take some extra effort, obtaining the permit is worth it if you're a pet lover who wants to expand your furry family.

Everett, WA

In Everett, WA, pet owners with more than two dogs or two cats are required to apply for a facility license. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that people who have an above-average number of pets are capable of providing proper care for them. If you are a resident of Everett and have multiple pets, you can request an application for the facility license by calling 425-257-6000. Once your application is submitted, an inspection of your facility will be scheduled. During the inspection, any issues that are identified will be discussed with you, and the inspecting officer will collaborate with you to address any deficiencies.

Kirkland, WA

Kirkland residents are permitted to have a maximum of four pets, which can be a combination of cats and dogs. All dogs in the city are required to be on a leash when outside of their property, except in designated off-leash areas. Additionally, the city has strict laws regarding vicious and dangerous dogs. A vicious dog is defined as any dog that poses a threat to the safety of people or other domestic animals by attacking or biting without provocation. Similarly, a dangerous dog is one that inflicts severe injury on a person or kills a domestic animal without provocation, as per the records of the animal control authority.

Kennewick, WA

The Kennewick Municipal Code sets clear guidelines for residents when it comes to owning pets within city limits. While a resident can have up to 6 animals on their residential plat, they are limited to having no more than 3 of any one kind of animal. This means that owning 3 dogs and 3 cats is permitted, but having 6 dogs or 6 cats is not. However, exceptions can be made if a permit is issued, allowing for additional animals.

Other Washington State Cities

  • Pasco, WA - 3 dogs and 3 cats
  • Shoreline, WA - 3 pets per household on lots under 20,000 square feet
  • Bremerton, WA - A total of four household pets
  • Lynnwood, WA - No more than three cats or three dogs
  • Puyallup, WA - 5 cats or dogs or any combination thereof
  • Lake Stevens, WA - Three dogs and/or cats per household
  • Mount Vernon, WA - 3 dogs and cats
  • Wenatchee, WA - 3 dogs and 3 cats per home
  • Walla Walla, WA - 4 pets on ½ acre and up to 6 on one acre
  • Pullman, WA - 3 cats and 3 dogs per dwelling unit
  • Des Moines, WA - Three dogs and three cats per dwelling unit
  • Camas, WA - No more than four cats or four dogs
  • Moses Lake, WA - No more than 3 household pets
  • Bainbridge Island, WA - 4 dogs and 4 cats per property
  • Oak Harbor, WA - Three dogs or three cats
  • Kenmore, WA - 3 pets on lots less than 20,000sqf and 5 on lots of 20,000sqf


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