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Rules Around Pets in Central Oregon

Off-leash zones, licenses and other things humans should know

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Whether you're new to Central Oregon or you've been in the area a while, knowing the laws surrounding pets is never a bad thing to review. Here are some answers to common questions pet owners have.

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Do I need to keep my dog on a leash?

Within city limits, yes. The cities of Bend, Redmond and Sisters require dog owners to have their dogs leashed while away from the owner's property, unless the dog is in a designated off-leash area. La Pine doesn't have any ordinances regarding animals, though individual communities may also have their own leash laws. On Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson County lands, however, dogs are required to be "under the control" of the owner—meaning they don't have to be on a leash, but they do have to come to you when called.

Can my dog be off leash on trails?

In the Deschutes National Forest, more than 95 percent of trails allow dogs to be off leash in the summer. From July 15 to Sept. 15, dogs need to be on leash in the Three Sisters Wilderness, since those trails are so popular. That includes Green Lakes, Moraine Lake, South Sister, Soda Creek, Todd Lake, Broken Top and Crater Ditch. Get caught with a dog off leash and face a $200 fine. Dogs also need to be on leashes on the Deschutes River Trail from May 15 to Sept. 15—except when they're getting in or out of the water.

In winter, Nov. 1 to May 1, dogs are allowed at all but 1 percent of trails (and can be off leash). Dogs are not allowed in the areas accessed by Virginia Meissner, Swampy Lakes, Vista Butte and Dutchman Sno-Parks in winter. If you're skijoring or dog sledding, dogs can be in those areas—but you'll need a permit.

Can I keep chickens or other farm animals in the city?

In the City of Bend, people with lots 5,000 square feet or larger can have up to four chickens, but no roosters. Cows, goats, sheep, swine or other livestock need to be kept on lots of 5 acres or more, and horse owners need a corral or pasture of 1 acre for a single horse and extra half-acre for each additional horse. Chickens are allowed in Redmond, too—but the city's code doesn't mention prohibiting roosters. Redmond's code states "chickens, fowl, and/or rabbits shall not exceed one for each 500 square feet of property." Pens and enclosures for all livestock have to be on the rear half of the property, 50 feet or more from residences that touch the property. In Redmond, the general space rule is 10,000 square feet per cow, goat or sheep, but for horses, the code reads, "10,000 square feet for one horse, 20,000 square feet for two horses, and 5,000 square feet for each additional horse."

What about cats?

While some argue that outdoor cats tend to kill too many birds and other small wildlife, local governments don't have the same rules about cats "at large" as they do about dogs. In other words, cats can roam freely.

Do I have to license my dog?

Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties all require dogs with their permanent canine teeth to be licensed within 30 days of having the dog, or within 30 days of moving into the counties. Proof of rabies vaccination is part of the licensing process. If your dog is already licensed in another county in Oregon, you can wait to get a new license until the current license expires. License applications are available at county offices, as well as shelters and most vets' offices.

What if my dog bites someone—or hurts livestock?

Oregon law requires dogs who bite and puncture the skin of a person to be quarantined for 10 days. The owner can quarantine the dog or can take the dog to the Humane Society. If a dog hurts livestock, they'll be declared a public nuisance, and will typically be impounded. Both types of incidents should be reported to the local police or the local sheriff's office.

What do I do if my pet runs away, or if I find a lost pet?

If you find the pet in Bend, La Pine or Sunriver, call the Humane Society of Central Oregon at 541-382-3537. In Redmond, Sisters or Terrebonne, call BrightSide Animal Center at 541-923-0882.

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