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Animal Rights & Pet Laws

Exotic animals, pets, animals used for research or product testing, and service animals all have rights.

Most animal laws are at the state level or under city and county ordinances. However, some federal laws provide comprehensive rules. Common animal rights issues include buying and selling animals, animal care, noise, businesses within animal industries, hoarding, abuse, and animal bites or attacks.

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Laws That Protect Animals

The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is a federal law for animals used in research or kept in zoos. It also includes rules for commercially bred pets and some animal abuse.


Other notable laws include the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA), the Endangered Species Act, and the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT). Other laws typically fall under criminal, civil, personal injury, or consumer areas of the law.


Looking for common pet laws? Watch a comprehensive overview video of the laws related to pets and companion animals.


Next Steps:

Contact a qualified animal law attorney to review your options.

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