Frequently Asked Questions Animal Ordinances and Fees

The following are questions that are often asked about Animal Control Ordinances and associated fees. If you have questions about the Animal Ordinance or fees not found on this list, please contact Neil Anthon (City Attorney's Office) at (406) 455-8449.

Where can I get a copy of the new ordinance?
Copies of the ordinance are available online (pdf link below): A hard-copy of the ordinance can be obtained from the City Clerk’s office, Room 202, Civic Center Building.

Where can I obtain permit and registration forms and pay my fees?
For all permits and registrations, at the Shelter. Registrations may also be obtained from a participating veterinarian.

Animal Shelter Fee List

My animals are currently registered; do I need to re-register July 1, 2007?
No. You will need to re-register when your current registration expires.

Can I register my cat now?
Yes, all cats over the age of six months have to be registered.

When do I need to register my puppy or kitten?
You can register your puppy or kitten at any time you’d like, but you must register your cat or dog when they reach six months of age. Failure to register may result in a fine of up to $250 on top of the registration fees.

Do I have to register my service or therapy animal?
Registrations for service animals and governmental police dogs shall be furnished without charge.

I’m not eighteen; can I register a dog or a cat?
If you are not yet eighteen, a parent or guardian who is over eighteen must co-sign your registration.

I have family visiting for two weeks who are bringing their pets, do they have to register?
No. A non-resident who is not in Great Falls for more than 60 days is not required to register their animal.

My dog and cat have a micro-chip implants, am I still required to have them wear a collar and tag?
No. A pet that is registered is required to either wear a collar and tag or have a microchip implant. However, it is always a good idea to have your pet wear a collar and tag that identifies his owner. Animal Control Officers may not be the ones who find your lost pet. If your pet is wearing a tag and collar bearing your name and contact information, your pet is going to be back home sooner.

If I give my dog to my relatives across town, do they have to re-register?
Yes. Registrations for animals, like cars, are not transferable.

What is the “golden ager” discount?
Anyone over 65 years of age will be charged ½ price for all registration, Multiple Animal Permits, and Multiple Animal Hobby Breeder Permits.

If I register my animal in December for one year, do I have to re-register in January?
Licenses issued for one year beginning January 1 and shall be renewed annually. If you renew or obtain a license for the first time after September 1st, the registration is valid for the remaining year and the entire following year. If the registration fee is renewed or obtained prior to September 1st, the registration is valid until Dec 31st.


How many animals am I allowed to have?
Unless you apply for and receive a multiple animal permit, you are limited to two dogs and two cats over six months of age.

My landlord has a policy that completely prohibits pets, is that allowed?
Yes. A landlord has the right to ban all pets from their rentals.

If I want to have more than 2 dogs or 2 cats, how do I get a Multiple Animal Permit?
You must pay a fee based on the number of animals you wish to have and fill out a permit application with Animal Control. If you fail to get the permit and have more than the allowed number of animals, you could be subject to a fine of up to $500.00 and could also be ordered to surrender your animals to Animal Control.

My dog or cat is pregnant and I would like to have a litter of puppies or kittens, do I need to take any special action?
Yes. You are required to obtain a Multiple Animal Hobby Breeder Permit within ten days of the birth of the litter. Application forms are available from Animal Control. All animals not intended to be kept by you are required to be sold or given away within four months of their birth. The Multiple Animal Hobby Breeder Permit allows you to have up to 4 litters of kittens or 2 litters of puppies and is valid for one year after issuance. If you have more than 2 dogs or 2 cats, you would also be required to obtain a standard Multiple Animal Permit as well.

I have a lifetime Multiple Animal Permit and I am going to move across town. Is my MAP good for my new address?
You are required to notify Animal Control of your move within 30 days and they will then approve, deny or modify your MAP for your new address.

I want to board and breed animals as a full time business; do I need to obtain a Multiple Animal Hobby Breeder permit?
No. You would be required to obtain a kennel license. Animal Control has forms available for commercial kennel operations which may not be allowed in your area due to zoning restrictions.

How thorough of a home inspection will be done when I apply for a multiple animal permit?
The thoroughness of the inspection is dependent upon the MAP permit request and the review of the information contained in the request. If you are asking to have 4 dogs and live in an apartment complex with 16 units, you may be subjected to a more thorough home inspection than someone who makes the same request who lives in an area with a 1/2 acre lawn. There may also be a more thorough inspection if you are requesting to have 20 dogs or cats versus someone asking to have 4 dogs or cats.

I regularly walk my pet around my neighborhood. What are my responsibilities?
First, your dog must be on a leash. Second, if your dog “does its business” on public or private property not owned by you, you are required to remove any feces left by the animal. Failure to do so could result in fines of up to $500 for failure to have your dog on a leash and up to an additional $500 for failing to clean up their feces.

My neighbor is not very good at picking up the feces left by their dogs in their yard. I have spoken to them about the odor, but they aren’t being very neighborly! What can I do?
The owner or occupant is responsible to ensure their property is kept free of feces. If the accumulation of feces interferes with the use or enjoyment of your property due to odors, visual blight, or attraction of insects or pests, Animal Control will provide the owner or occupant with written notice to clean up the property within 48 hours. Failure to do so can result in fines up to $500 and impoundment of the animals and potentially a jail sentence if they refuse to clean up the property.

My dog or cat jumped the fence and got picked up by animal control as an animal at larger – how much trouble am I in?
The first time your feline or canine escape artist gets away your animal may be given a free ride home as long as it is currently registered and Animal Control is able to identify the owner and make contact with them in a reasonable time after picking the animal up. This is the Animal Control Officer's discretion.  If it happens again, you will be subject to the impound fees as specified in the resolution and possible fines and other penalties.

My neighbors have a dog that barks and howls all night long, I’ve spoken to them about it but they have failed to do anything to let me sleep. What can I do?
Animal Control can investigate and will advise you to prepare written statement signed by you and another neighbor outlining the behavior, keep a bark log, obtain video or audio tape of the noise or they may seek to come to your residence and document the behavior themselves. If the investigation and complaint reveals that animal is allowed to bark, howl, or make other sounds common to its species in excess, continuously for a period of fifteen or more minutes or intermittent noise for a period of thirty or more minutes, the owner can be cited and may face fines up to $500 and impoundment and removal of the animals.

What other sort of behavior is covered by the nuisance animal section?
Animals are prohibited from chasing vehicles or bicycles in public streets or parks; stealing or causing damage to private or public property; chasing persons who are not trespassing on the property of their owner or injuring or attempting to injure the owner, his family or property; rummaging through or scattering garbage or rubbish; and if they are not a service animal they are prohibited from being inside a public area which is designated as prohibiting animals. Another nuisance issue covered by the new ordinance requires an owner with a female animal in heat to keep the animal in a secure and enclosed area not accessible to male animals running at large.

I was walking my dog and a dog running free charged us causing me to fear for the safety of my dog and myself, what can I do?
Call Animal Control immediately. City ordinances require pet owners to keep their pet in their yard or on a leash, and any animal running free and charging you could result in charges being filed against the pet owner for animal at large. Also, depending upon the circumstances, the owner could be charged with nuisance or dangerous animal violations as well. If you are in reasonable fear for your safety and took defensive action to protect yourself or your dog, the owner of the pet could be charged with dangerous animal. If the dog chased you and your pet, that could be a nuisance animal violation.

My unregistered dog was picked up and taken to the pound. How much will I have to pay to recover it?
The impoundment fees are covered in the fee resolution

I accidentally hit a dog while driving to work this morning, what are my responsibilities when I hit an animal while driving?
First you need to stop and render aid if possible. Then you must notify Animal Control or the Police Department as quickly as possible and let them know about the collision and the injuries to the animal.

I want to have an exotic animal as a pet – are there any special requirements?
Yes. First call animal control and inquire if the animal you want to possess is allowed within the city limits. If it is, it may require a Wild Animal certificate or other permit. You can get application forms from Animal Control for these situations.