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Animal Law & Legislation

Work for Better Laws    •    Familiarize Yourself with the Laws    •     Local Ordinances    •     State Law    •    Federal Law     •    Animal Law Links

Work on Better Laws for Animals

Photo: Lewis an injured cat

Here’s How:

•  E-mail us and we’ll add you to our Legislative E-mail List so you’ll know when (and who) to contact about what.

•  Join the Johnson County Humane Society (JCHS) and become an active member!

•  Join the Iowa Federation of Humane Societies (IFHS). This nonprofit organization serves as the umbrella group that links animal advocates and organizations across the state.

IFHS supports and actively promotes legislation that protects animals. They accomplish this through lobbying and educating our state legislature about animal-related issues.


The IFHS also responds to and investigates allegations of cruelty to animals and offers rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of perpetrators.

•  Join Iowa Voters for Companion Animals (IVCA). This nonprofit organization focuses on grassroots engagement to influence legislation to improve Iowa animal-welfare laws.

They also work to educate and support the law enforcement and judicial communities in the enforcement and administration of these new laws.

•  Join one of the national welfare organizations: the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)

Photo: Bob the cat who had some injuries
Photo: Sushi the cat with her jester neckware looking festive

It’s Lobby, Lobby, Lobby...or Nothing (good for animals in Iowa) Happens

Humane laws with sharp teeth don’t just happen. It takes a lobbyist who knows the issues that animals in our state face, and who is familiar with the backgrounds and agendae of the other lobbyists and senators and representatives at the state capitol.

Fortunately, the lobbyists working for the Iowa Federation of Humane Societies have known how to make things happen.

•  That’s why Iowa now has a spay/neuter requirement for shelters/humane societies adopting out dogs and cats.

•  That’s why pound seizure is no longer mandatory in Iowa.

•  That’s why Iowa now has an animal torture law.

•  That’s why Governor Vilsack vetoed the Iowa Dove Hunting bill in January 2001.

•  That’s why Governor Culver signed the Puppy Mill bill in March 2010.

Photo: Gov Culver and his dog, Buc signing the puppymill act

These laws didn’t come cheaply. It costs roughly $20,000 per year for IFHS to keep a lobbyist on the hill. If only everyone who wants to see that animals in our state get the protection they deserve would chip in...

JCHS has a member who has served on the IFHS board of directors for nearly 30 years. The Board meets quarterly in Des Moines. E-mail us and we’ll get back to you about attending the next IFHS meeting, or about how you can support animal welfare and protection law in Iowa. IFHS also offers a popular Fri/Sat Animal Welfare Conference every other year in the Fall along with one-day workshops focusing on a single topic in the off years.

Familiarize Yourself with the Laws

Photo: Orange male cat with lacerations

You probably have some ideas about how animals should (and should not) be treated.

Be prepared to be under whelmed by the animal-related laws and ordinances in effect in our largely agrarian state.

Change comes slowly. Get to know the rules and those who make them.

Local Ordinances

Coralville Pet Ordinances
Chapter 55 Animal Protection and Control—or call the City Clerk (248-1700)

City Council

Meghann Foster 

Tom Gill

Mitch Gross—Mayor Pro Tem

Laurie Goodrich

John Lundell—Mayor

Jill Dodds

Hills Animal Ordinances
Chapter 36 Regulation of Animals and Fowl—or call the City Clerk (679-3197)

Hills City Council

Tim Kemp (679-3309)—Mayor

Steve Harris (679-2969)

Merle J. Hill (679-2571)

Teresa Volk (679-2562)

Christine Peters (679-3250)

Cathy S. Kneble (679-2517)

Iowa City Pet Ordinances
Title 8 Police Regulations: Chapter 3 General Animal Regulations & Chapter 4 Animal Control—or call the City Clerk (356-5043)

Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center or call (356-5295)

Iowa City
City Council

Jim Throgmorton—Mayor (At Large)

Rockne Cole (At Large)

Mazahir Sali (At Large)

John Thomas— (District C)

Susan Mims (District B) 

Pauline Taylor—Mayor Pro Tem (District A)

Bruce Teague (At Large)

Johnson County Animal Ordinances
call the Board of Supervisors (356-6000)


Board of Supervisors

Janelle Rettig

Royceanne Porter

Pat Heiden

Rod Sullivan—Vice Chair

Lisa Green-Douglas—Chair

Lone Tree  Pet Ordinances
call the City Clerk (629-5166)

Lone Tree
City Council

Ruby Dickey (319-430-0230)

Ryan Ronan (na)

Jonathan Green—Mayor (307-828-1004)

Mitch Swinton (319-430-8734)

Tyler Baird (319-629-9025)

Sandy Flake—(319-471-8277)

North Liberty Pet Regulations
Chapter 55Animal Control; Chapter 56—Cat And Dog License; Chapter 57—Dangerous Animals,—or call the City Clerk (626-5700)

North Liberty
City Council

Brent Smith (319-331-5049)

Terry L Donahue—Mayor (319-626-3774)

Chris A Hoffman—Mayor Pro Tem (319-321-4904)

Annie Pollock (319-930-6096)

Sarah Madsen (319-359-0816)

Raquishia Harrington (319-400-3814)

Oxford Pet Regulations
call the City Clerk (828-4742)

Oxford City Council

Brodie Campbell (319-541-3139)

Vicki Kasper (319-828-4097)

Lorena Weppler (319-573-9985)

Margaret Reihman—Mayor Pro Tem (319-930-1677)

Tim Hennes—Mayor (319-530-4587)

Jason Struzynski (319-430-9498)

Schueyville Pet Regulations
call the City Clerk (848-4093)

City Council

Mickey Coonfare—Mayor (319-310-0230)

Bart Frisk (319-848-6030)

Becky Neuhaus (319-848-4908)

Brent Foss—Mayor Pro Tem (319-848-7302)

Chris Lacy (319-857-4779)

Brad Anderson (319-213-4585)

Solon Pet Regulations
Chapter 55Dogs and Cats—or call the City Clerk (624-3755)

Solon City Council

Steve Duncan (na)

Shawn Mercer (na)

Lynn Morris (na)

Lauren Whitehead (319-383-4166)

Steve Stange—Mayor (na)

Mark Prentice—Mayor Pro Tem (624-2163)

Swisher Pet Regulations
Chapter 55 Animal Protection and Control—or call the City Clerk (857-4539)

Swisher City Council

Michael Stagg (319-981-1000)

Mary Gudenkauf (319-857-4353)

Jerry Hightshoe (na)

James Rowe, Jr (319-240-7786)

Christopher Taylor—Mayor (319-333-8050)

Rebekah Neuendorf—Mayor Pro Tem (na)

Tiffin Pet Regulations
Chapter 55 Animal Protection and Control—call the City Clerk (545-2572)

Tiffin City Council

James Bartels (319-545-2613)

Steve Berner—Mayor (319-545-2572)

Michael C. Ryan (319-400-3375)

Peggy Upton (319-400-7323)

Al Havens (319-325-3102)

Eric Schnedler (563-229-8250)

University Heights Pet Regulations
Ordinance 55—or call the City Clerk (541-9230)

University Heights City

Louise From—Mayor (354-1433)

Nick Herbold (na)

Dotti Maher (na)

Liesa Moore (na)

Silvia Quezda (na)

Virginia Miller (na)

West Branch Pet Regulations
Chapter 55 Animal Protection and Control—or call the City Clerk (643-5888)

West Branch City Council

Roger Laughlin—Mayor (319-643-5888)

Brian Pierce (na)

Jodee Stoolman (na)

Colton Miller—Mayor Pro Tem (na)

Jordan M. Ellyson (319-643-7346)

Nick Goodweiler (na)

State Law

Visit the Code of Iowa (IC) online. Copies of past Codes are available online from 1995 to the present. The following chapters are key:

•  Chapter 145B  •  Dogs for Scientific Research  •  aka “State Pound Seizure Law”
(see also IAC Chapter 128  •  Dogs for Scientific Research)

•  Chapter 162  •  Care of Animals in Commercial Establishments  •  aka “State Animal Welfare Law ” (which also includes the “Puppy Mill Bill” allowing Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to inspect USDA-licensed breeders upon request)
(see also IAC Chapter 67  •  Animal Welfare)

Grafix: Iowa Code Books
Photo: Ceiling of the Iowa State House in DesMoines, Iowa

•  Chapter 162.20  •  Sterilization  •  aka “State Spay/Neuter Law”

•  Chapter 717  •  Injury to Livestock

•  Chapter 717A  •  Offenses Relating to Agricultural Production

•  Chapter 717B  •  Injury to Animals Other than Livestock

Visit the Iowa Administrative Code (IAC) online. The IAC is a composite of rules written by the executive branch which have the full force and effect of law (i.e., how the laws are enforced).

IAC chapters relate to chapters in the Code of Iowa. The following three chapters are key:

•  Agriculture & Land Stewardship (21)
Chapter 67  •  Animal Welfare
(relates to IC Chapter 162  •  “Care of Animals in Commercial Establishment

•  Agriculture & Land Stewardship (21)
Chapter 67  •  Animal Welfare:  §12
Fostering Oversight Organizations and Foster Care Homes
(relates to IC Chapter 162  •   (“Care of Animals in Commercial Establishments”)

•  Public Health (641)
Chapter 128  •  Dogs for Scientific Research
(relates to IC Chapter 145B  •  Dogs for Scientific Research and IC Chapter 351A  •  (“Dogs & Other Animals

Photo: Lewis the cat with injured paw


State of Iowa Officials

Kim Reynolds (R)—Governor

Senator Joe Bolkom (D)  •  District 43

Senator Zach Wahls (D)  •  District 37

Representative David Jacoby (D)  •  District 74

Representative Bobby Kaufmann (R)  •  District 73

Representative Vicki Lensing (D)  •  District 85

Representative Mary Mascher (D)  •  District 86

Representative Amy Nielson (D)  •  District 77

Finding Your Way Around the Iowa Legislature

From “Find Your Legislators” to Lobbyist Information

In the Chambers—choose from live audio broadcast of chamber activity or Chamber Action (text log of event in each chamber. Also, schedules of chamber events, the display board, subcommittee schedules, session calendars, and rules of procedure.

Track Legislation—find bills, resolutions, and amendments by number, subject, committee, date, sponsor, etc. Popular tools include:

•  Bill Book—all versions of bills, amendments, resolutions, study bills, bill histories, fiscal notes, and sponsor information


The Iowa Administrative Code is a PDF file.
If you don’t already have Adobe’s Acrobat Reader, download it for free.
Graphic: Get Adobe Reader
Grafix: dressed dachshund

•  Directory of Legislation—indices of bills, study bills, resolutions, and amendments

•  Study Bill Committee Tracking—find the committee assignments for study bills

•  Bill Version Tracking—locate multiple versions of a bill or study bill

•  Total Bill History—displays legislative action for a Bill or Resolution

Federal Law

Visit the United States Code (USC) online. Copies of past Codes are available online from 1994 to the present. The following chapters are key:

•  Title 7—Agriculture:  Chapter 54 Transportation, Sale, & Handling of Certain Animals (aka “Animal Welfare Act”)
(see also CFR Title 9:  Chapter 1  •  Subchapter A—Animal Welfare Regulations Parts 1-4)

•  Title 15—Commerce & Trade:  Chapter 44 Protection of Horses (aka “Horse Protection Act”)
(see also CFR Title 9:  Chapter 1  •  Subchapter A—Animal Welfare Regulations Parts 11-12)

Grafix: a few books of the United States Code
Grafix: the scales of justice

Visit the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) online. Copies of past Codes are available online from 1996 to the present. The following chapters are key:

Title 9—Animals & Animal Products:  Chapter 1  Animal & Plant Health— Subchapter A—Animal Welfare Regulations

Part 1—Definition of Terms

Part 2—Regulations
•  Attending Veterinarian & Adequate Veterinary Care
•  Compliance with Standards & Holding Period


•  Identification of Animals
•  Licensing
•  Miscellaneous
•  Records
•  Registration
•  Research Facilities
•  Stolen Animals

Part 3—Standards: Specs for Humane Handling, Care, Treatment, & Transportation

•  Dogs & Cats
•  Guinea Pigs & Hamsters
•  Marine Mammals
•  Nonhuman Primates
•  Rabbits
•  Warm blooded Animals Other than the Above

Part 4—Rules of Practice Governing Proceedings
(relates to USC Title 7:  Chapter 54  •  “Animal Welfare Act”)

Photo: Squeek the
Photo: Tenneessee Walking horse

image courtesy of Sarah Barnett and HSUS Facebook page

Title 9—Animals & Animal Products:  Chapter 1 Animal & Plant Health— Subchapter A—Animal Welfare Regulations

Part 11—Horse Protection Regulations

Part 12—Rules of Practice
• Prohibitions Concerning Exhibitors
(relates to USC Title 15:  Chapter 44  •  “Horse Protection Act”)

User-friendly versions of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and the Animal Welfare Regulations, and a whole bunch of other animal care/welfare stuff you’d probably never find even if you were looking!

Lists of USDA licensees. The same standards of animal care apply to all registered and licensed businesses.

And Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) field inspectors make periodic unannounced visits to all locations where animals are held to see that regulations and standards are followed.

There are printed Guidleines for licensing and registration.

Basically, the Federal animal care standards cover humane handling, housing, space, feeding and watering, sanitation, ventilation, shelter from extremes of weather, adequate veterinary care, separation of incompatible animals, transportation, and handling in transit.

Grafix: Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar.
Photo; Hank the cat

•  Breeders—of pets, lab animals, etc.

•  Carriers—transport regulated animals for hire (e.g., airlines, railroads, motor carriers, shipping lines, etc.)

•  Class A Animal Dealers—deal only in animals they breed and raise on their property

•  Class B Animal Dealers—include brokers, bunchers (e.g., collectors of dogs,cats, or other regulated animals from random sources and supplies them to laboratory animal dealers), and operators of auction sales

•  Federal Research Facilities—federally-funded research and development centers

•  Handlers—take custody of regulated animals in connection with transporting them on public carriers

•  Registered Exhibitors—have animals on display to the public or conduct performances featuring animals (e.g., zoos, marine mammal shows, circuses, carnivals, petting zoos, etc.).

•  Research Facilities—include teaching institutions, drug firms, diagnostic labs, etc.

•  VA Hospitals

Federal Officials

Donald J Trump (R) President

Vice President Michael R Pence (R)

Senator Chuck Grassley (R)

Senator Joni Erst (R)

Representative Abby Finkenauer (D)  •  District 1

Representative Dave Loebsack (D)  •  District 2

Representative Cynthia Axne (D)  •  District 3

Representative Steve King (R)  •  District 4

Animal Law Links

Animal Care/Condition Scales—developed at Tufts University.

Animal Welfare Institute—founded in 1955 when only two federal laws to protect animals existed. Since then, AWI has worked for the successful enactment of more than15 additional federal laws. Check out their Compassion Index of your state/federal legislators.

Anti-cruelty Statute Information—The Humane Society of the United State’s (HSUS) blueprint for drafting amendments to strengthen state anti-cruelty laws and a compilation of current anti-cruelty laws by state.

Cat Law a discussion of State cat laws.

Veterinary Government & Law Links—from the Congressman Quarterly Votewatch to the Center for Wildlife Law to the FDA.

Graphic:  Be kind to animals.
Grafix: American Flag

Last update: 07/16/19.1233am


Contact Us at

JCHS  •  P.O. BOX 2775  •  IOWA CITY, IA  52244-2775

NOTE that we are a small group of volunteers, most of whom work during the day. We will get back to you as soon as we can.



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