How many dogs and cats can you legally own in New Jersey?
You may have heard of the saying, “A dog may be a man’s best friend, but a cat is a woman’s best friend.”
But how many of these “best friends” are you allowed to own in New Jersey?
At the statewide level, New Jersey does not have any laws limiting the number of dogs and cats one household can own, says Mike Cerra, executive director of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.
Each New Jersey municipality, however, can implement its own restrictions, if they choose.
Some have no limits at all and others have them based on particular circumstances where it may be no more than three, five or seven animals, Cerra said. But he said there is no central registry available.
In Brick, for example, a local ordinance cites that it would be deemed unlawful and a public nuisance for there to be kept or maintained five or more dogs or cats or a combination of five or more dogs and cats in any residentially zoned property.
In Hawthorne, no more than a total of four dogs of licensing age shall be owned, kept, harbored, or maintained in a single household. In addition, no more than a total of five cats more than 6 months of age shall be owned by any person residing in the same household.
No more than five dogs or cats, or a combination of each shall be owned by a person in Freehold, except in a kennel or a pet shop.
In Rahway, no owner may keep or care for more than five dogs or cats or a combination of both on their property.
It is deemed unlawful and a public nuisance for any person to keep or maintain more than four dogs or cats or a combination of both on any property within the borough of Point Pleasant.
Bridgewater residents are not allowed to own more than four dogs over the age of 6 months that are kept for the purposes of breeding. It does not say what their policy is on cats.
In Ewing, not more than six dogs or six cats shall be allowed in any residence. Any household may contain only a total of six dogs or cats altogether, except that a litter or portion thereof, may be kept for a period of five months.
No person shall keep or harbor more than four dogs and cats in one private home in Stratford in Camden County.
If you're a Matawan resident, no more than six cats and/or dogs of licensing age shall be kept at one time for any length of time in any residential housing unit.
A local ordinance in Brielle states the maximum number of dogs and/or cats shall be established at a combination of three dogs and/or cats.
Pet owners in Lacey may not have more than six dogs or cats and all dogs must have a current Township of Lacey license, which must be attached to the dog's collar.
If someone wanted to complain that they think their neighbor has too many animals, they should first check with the local ordinance, Cerra said.
“If the town has a limit of three or five, and the person has 10, then there would be something to report. If it’s not in violation of the ordinance, then the neighbor, if they think it’s a nuisance would still have the ability the report it to the municipality for either consideration of a policy, or if it’s in violation of some other health code,” Cerra said.
All dogs must be licensed in New Jersey. It is a state requirement. For cats, there is no set state licensing requirement but each municipality can decide if they want to license cats or not.
There has been legislation in recent years regarding pet owner responsibility. If a person owns a dog, it’s important to keep the animal leashed on walks. If the dog has the run of the yard, having the yard fenced or electronic fenced is important. Use common sense if the animal is near a child. This could depend on the dog’s breed and personality.
In terms of cats, Cerra said there is a growing fear of the exploding cat population. So, cat owners should think about keeping them indoors to prevent them from breeding and adding to the state’s feral cat population problem.
If it is an outdoor cat, it’s a good idea to have them chipped or collared so you’re aware of their whereabouts and of course, have them spayed and/or neutered.
Cerra said almost everyone loves dogs and cats. To keep the peace, it’s really about finding the right balance between your neighbors and your pets.