Animal & Pet Laws

Animal & Pet Laws

Willmar Police Officers, as well as Community Service Officers (CSOs), handle animal complaints.  Animal complaints can include but are not limited to, animals running at large, barking dogs, requesting a live trap for wild animals, animal neglect, etc.  Animal complaints can be reported by contacting the Willmar Police Department, at (320) 235-3100. Jump to Pet Licenses. 

To report a missing pet, please contact the Willmar Police Department at (320) 235-2244.  You can also check with the Kandiyohi County Humane Society (Hawk Creek Animal Shelter) or local area pet clinics.

Get information on Chickens in the city limits

Animal Bites
If your dog bites someone, identify yourself and tell the victim whether your dog's rabies vaccination is current. Call the police department to report all animal bites. Your dog must be quarantined for 10 days. You must report to the Police or Health department if your dog gets sick, dies, or exhibits abnormal behavior during the quarantine period. After 10 days, your dog must be examined by a veterinarian, and a report of this examination given to the police. If your cat bites someone, you are required to report the bite to the Police and follow the same quarantine procedure as for dogs.
Municipal Code Sec. 4-58

Barking Dogs
Dogs may not bark, howl or cry for more than three (3) minutes with less than one (1) minute of interrupting quiet. Owners may not allow their pets to become a nuisance.
Municipal Code Sec. 4-30, Municipal Code Sec. 4-28

Dogs or Cats Running at Large
Cats and dogs may not run loose. City ordinances prohibit people from allowing their animals to run at large, including cats. Each must be leashed, kenneled, or under the direct and effective control of the owner. 
Municipal Code Sec. 4-26

Dogs and cats found running at large may be impounded. Owners are responsible for all impound fees, which include pickup, daily boarding, medical attention, and licensing. 
Municipal Code Sec. 4-27


Most Animal laws are found in Willmar's Municipal Code

All Other Animals
The City of Willmar recognizes the desire to keep or maintain exotic, domesticated, and a variety of other animals, besides cats and dogs.  These animals are closely regulated within city limits. Different restrictions apply, depending upon the zoning within the city where these types of animals might be kept. All animals of this nature are regulated under Willmar Ordinance #1333.
General, Section 4.1-Section 4.25

Chickens are prohibited in all zoning districts in the city except the AG or industrial districts, within which no more than fifty (50) chickens may be kept.
General, Section 4-6

Leash Laws & Cleaning up Deposits
Pets must be restrained at all times when off the owner’s property.  In city parks, all domestic animals must be on a leash shorter than 15 feet.  City Ordinance requires you to carry equipment to clean up after your pet.  You must pick up and properly dispose of your animal's waste.
Municipal Code Sec. 11-79

Limit on Number of Dogs/Cats
You may not have more than three (3) adult pets in your household (dwelling unit), regardless of the number of residents living there.

Having four (4) or more domestic pets over six months of age would be considered a commercial kennel that needs to be located in an area where kennels are regulated by Willmar City Zoning Ordinance #1060 (66).  A kennel is described as any place where four (4) or more domestic pets over six months of age are kept, boarded, bred, and offered for sale, excluding a veterinary clinic, which has special regulations.
Municipal Code Sec. 4-29

License & Permits

Does your dog or cat have a Willmar animal license
It is unlawful for any person to own a dog or cat four (4) months old or older in this City unless such dog or cat is licensed.
Apply for a Pet License

PUBLIC NOTICE, December 20, 2023: 
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Dog and Cat Licenses will be due and payable on January 2, 2024, in accordance with City Ordinance Section 4-26 through 4-45. Licenses may be obtained at any of the following places:

City Office Building, 333 SW Sixth Street, Willmar, Minnesota
Willmar Pet Hospital, 705 Industrial Drive SW, Willmar, Minnesota
South 71 Vet Clinic, 4119 Abbott Drive, Willmar, Minnesota
Hawk Creek Animal Shelter, 250 28th Street SW, Willmar, Minnesota
Country Lake Veterinary Clinic, 8577 County Road 1 NW, Pennock, Minnesota
Green Lake Pet Hospital, 284 Lake Avenue North, Spicer, Minnesota

The City Ordinance states that "before any license may be issued for male or female dogs or cats, satisfactory evidence must be produced by the owner or keeper of the dog(s) or cat(s) to show that the said dog(s) or cat(s) for whom a license is sought has been vaccinated for rabies within three (3) years immediately preceding issuance of the license”.

The City Ordinance also provides that after January 15, 2024, a penalty of 50% of the regular license fee will be in effect on all unlicensed dogs or cats. Failure to license a dog or cat is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1000.00 fine.

$4.00  Neutered or Spayed dog or cat
$7.00  Unneutered or Unspayed dog or cat

No license will be issued that exceeds the expiration date of the rabies certificate or where it is known that there are more than three adult pets at one residence.