Registration And Responsibility

This is a summary of Chapter 505 of the Rocky River Codified Ordinances which deals with both domestic and wild animals and attempts to bring our residents up-to-date with our current animal control regulations.

  • Dogs MUST BE licensed yearly by the County and WEAR a valid tag (Ohio R.C. 955.01).  Dog licenses not renewed by January 31st each year are assessed a $20 penalty. (Licenses are available online at the County website).
  • Not more than two dogs or cats, or a combination of one each, are allowed per dwelling (505.03)
  • No animal shall cause a disturbance (e.g., barking or howling) that disturbs residents (505.06).
  • Animals are not permitted in stores or malls except as provided in 505.08.
  • All animals shall be kept under control (e.g., leash or lead) and shall not be permitted to run at large anywhere within the city limits (505.10).
  • Animals are not permitted in children's playground areas (505.09).
  • Your pet may only defecate on your own property. In the event your pet defecates on another's property, the pet owner must pick up said feces and dispose of it in a sanitary manner. The responsibility is yours(505.09). Whoever violates this Section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.
  • Farm animals, wild, dangerous or undomesticated animals are prohibited (505.05).
  • Cruelty to animals is prohibited in the City of Rocky River and is a second degree misdemeanor (505.21).
  • Poisoning animals (except within the dwelling or on the real property of the owner as administered by the owner) is a first degree misdemeanor (505.27).
  • No owner or keeper of a dog, cat, or other domestic animal shall abandon such animal. Whoever violates this Section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor (505.22).
  • Wildlife in parks are protected (505.29).
  • No person shall hunt, kill or attempt to kill any animal within the City of Rocky River. Whoever violates this is Section is guilty of a first degree misdemeanor (505.28).
  • Trapping of any animal or fowl by use of a clam-type trap (excluding rodents) is prohibited in the City of Rocky River (505.30).
  • If a domestic animal is trapped in a City-approved trap, it shall be turned over to the City's Animal Control Officer. Whoever violates this Section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. (505.30).
  • The City may order a general quarantine of all animals to control rabies (505.23).
  • An animal must be quarantined if it has bitten any person.
    • Within twenty-four (24) hours, the owner, keeper, or person having custody or possession of the animal must contact the Director of Public Safety-Service or his or her designee. 
    • It must be confined at an animal clinic or kennel or secured at the home of the owner for a 10 day period, inaccessible to the public at large.
    • The animal must be examined by the veterinarian and documentation of the quarantine release must be submitted to the Director of Public Safety-Service.
    • Whoever violates this Section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.
  • Animals may be impounded if in violation of Animal Control ordinances. Payment of a $20.00 fee for the first day and $10.00 for each additional day must be paid in order for the animal to be released (505.25). Animals not wearing the valid license tags will be to a resource that will provide the best opportunity for proper placement of the animal after (7) days.
    • In order to obtain release of said animal, fees must be paid at the Rocky River Police Division.
    • Animals shall be picked up at the Rocky River Animal Kennel, which is located at the Rocky River Service Garage, 22401 Lake Road (440-356-5630).
  • "Dangerous dog" means that, without provocation, has chased or approached in either a menacing fashion or an apparent attitude of attack, or has attempted to bite or otherwise endanger any person, while that dog is off the premises of its owner, or belongs to a breed that is commonly known as a pit bull dog (505.11).
  • "Vicious dog" means a dog that, without provocation has killed or caused serious injury to any person, has killed another dog (505.11).
  • A dangerous or vicious dog must be confined on its owner's property. Dangerous or vicious dogs must be properly leashed and muzzled if off of the owner's property. Said leash or tether must be chain link and not more than six feet in length. The owner of a dangerous or vicious dog must obtain liability insurance from a State-authorized agency for not less than $100,000 as further described in Section 505.12).
  • Violations of Sections 505 include misdemeanors from first degree to fourth degree and minor misdemeanors as described in the Codified Ordinances.

The Court may order an animal to be destroyed for attacking a person, for attacking a domestic animal, or for habitually running at large in accordance with Section 505.26.


  • Update #1: On November 10, 1997, Rocky River City Council passed Ordinance No. 163-97 changing Section 505 of the Codified Ordinances of the City of Rocky River by creating a new Section 505.31 entitled "Rabies Vaccination of Cats and Dogs Required".
  • Section 505.31(a) states that "any person owning, keeping or harboring any cat of dog over the age of three (3) months, shall be required to have such animal currently immunized against rabies by a licensed veterinarian".
  • Section 505.31(b) states that "all owners or keepers as described in this section shall maintain a record of such immunization as provided by a veterinarian. They shall provide said proof of immunization to any person so inquiring."