Council Member Thomson to Present Animal Code Re-write

February 22, 2021

At the strategic planning session on Tuesday, February 23rd, Council Member TJ Thomson will present his proposed changes to the city’s animal code sections.  The Council Member has been working on these changes since 2019 and after numerous meetings with stakeholders, and a 2019 work session with the City Council, is ready to begin to move this process forward.

“After over two years of work, I am introducing a comprehensive, common-sense, and compassionate animal code that I believe will represent the ‘gold standard’ for our furry friends.” Thomson said.  “My proposals will strengthen our ability as a city to respond to animal cruelty to companion animals, to include animal hoarding, animal abuse, dogs left in hot cars, the sale of puppy mill animals, and parvo puppies sold from cardboard boxes. It also includes a process to humanely control our feral cat population and ends the use of exotic animals in the circus, a practice that is well documented as a form of animal abuse to elephants, bears, and large cats.”

The proposed amendments fall into two main categories:  general animal enforcement and animal cruelty with the goal to continue to make Boise a pet-friendly community.

In the area of general animal enforcement the ordinance:

  • Creates new definitions
  • Amends the role and processes for the animal enforcement agency
  • Cleans up city code in the area of dog licensing and care including rabies vaccinations and service animals
  • Updates the non-commercial kennel licensing section both in terms of number of animals and the licensing process
  • Changes vicious dog to ‘dangerous and potentially dangerous dogs’ and rewrites the approach and process for impounding, registering, confining, controlling, and disposing of such dogs.
  • Makes updates in the area of animal nuisance to better address issues such as barking dogs to clarify standards and simplify the process for violations.

The proposals that can be considered under animal cruelty are:

  • Creates a definition for ‘animal hoarding’
  • The ‘cruelty to animals’ provision in code is amended to better define various types of animal cruelty and to assist with better enforcement.  Violations have also been revised and strengthened
  • Expands the list of prohibited animals and prohibits exotic animals from being displayed or used in a circus or animal act show.
  • Adds a section addressing feral cats and cats-at-large intended to humanely control the feral cat population.
  • Creates a new section to prohibit the sale of non-shelter dogs and cats at retail pet stores as well as the transfer of such animals on public property.
  • A section to prohibit the leaving of animals unattended in cars under weather conditions that endanger their wellbeing and creates a “good Samaritan” immunity from penalties, damages, criminal penalties and civil liability for those who rescue animals from life-threatening conditions.

The strategic planning session will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, February 23rd at Boise City Hall in the Maryanne Jordan City Council Chambers.  It can be streamed on the City of Boise YouTube Channel at

Message Sent Successfully!

Message Failed To Send.

Send a Message to City Council

Thank you for your interest in the City of Boise City Council. Please complete the form to have your inquiry sent to the City Council staff.