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While there isn't a state-wide law, the individual municipalities of New Mexico have the authority to set limits on the number of dogs one can own.
Big or small, shedding or non, designer or rescue—humans love dogs (and vice versa). It comes as little surprise, then, that many humans want to own a whole hoard of dogs. An army of playful, snuggling, probably drooling best friends that will wag and shake with excitement when you walk in the door doesn’t sound like the worst welcome home.
Unfortunately for the extreme dog lovers out there, most places in the U.S. limit the number of pups you can have at one time, and New Mexico is one of them. So to help you better understand the dog laws in the Land of Enchantment, the super app for insurance, Jerry, has created this guide on the regulations of dog ownership in New Mexico.
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Does New Mexico have laws limiting how many dogs you can own?
The number of dogs you can own in New Mexico depends on where you live because the state gives the limiting authority to local municipalities. Here are a few examples of dog-owning limits by city:
- Rio Rancho limits households to five animals total. “Animals”, in this case, refer to dogs, cats, rabbits, and pygmy goats.
- Las Cruces permits a maximum of three animals, in any combination of dogs, cats, or rabbits.
- Albuquerque lets you own six pets, but no more than four dogs.
Some cities have special licenses you can obtain if you wish to have more than their allowed number of animals. In the city of Las Cruces, for example, you can apply for a Kennel License with the Las Cruces Animal Control if you have more than three but no more than seven animals under your control.
Check with your local municipality to get the definite number of pooches you may own at once.
Are there any dog breeds outlawed in New Mexico?
New Mexico as a state does not outlaw any particular breed of dog, but individual cities implement bans or restrictions. In recent times, some bans on specific breeds have been lifted—the city of Tijeras did ban the owning of Pit Bulls, but that law was overturned in 2020.
However, there are still restrictions in some areas of the state regarding “dangerous” and “potentially dangerous” dogs.
New Mexico identifies a “dangerous” dog as a dog that has caused a severe injury to another domestic animal or human without provocation.
A “potentially dangerous” dog is one that has caused less-than-severe injury to, chased or menaced, or acted aggressively toward a domestic animal or human without provocation. These acts mark a reasonable assumption that the dog in question poses a threat to public safety.
In the city of Elephant Butte, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds are considered “potentially dangerous” dogs. If you own one of these breeds or a hybrid of these breeds and you are a full-time resident of Elephant Butte, NM, you are required to:
- Register your dog with the city for a fee of $5
- Vaccinate your dog and have them wear a specific collar, both at the cost of the city
What are the leash laws in New Mexico?
Some dogs are quite happy to walk on their leash while others see it as the most degrading form of oppression they could ever be subjected to. Whether your dog falls in the first category, the second (mine sits firmly here), or somewhere in between, you will have to adhere to the leash laws in New Mexico.
Again, these laws depend on your exact location and municipality, but in every case, the animal must be restrained by someone with the physical capability and responsibility level to do so.
In Albuquerque, for example, the law states that any and all animals owned by humans have to be secured at all times either by a properly ventilated enclosure of some kind or a leash not exceeding eight feet in length.
If you live in Hobbs, your pup can only breech the public while on a leash no longer than six feet in length, and Santa Fe requires a leash no longer than eight feet.
It is important to heed the leash and other dog laws of your area or you could face serious consequences.
Penalties for breaking dog laws in New Mexico
The severity of the punishment for breaking dog laws in New Mexico depends on the severity of the infraction.
If your dog is simply caught off-leash with nothing else going on, you will likely receive a citation from the city.
An owner of a “potentially dangerous” or “dangerous” dog will be charged with a misdemeanor for the first charge or a fourth-degree felony for subsequent charges if:
- The dog isn’t registered with the city
- The registration or court-ordered handling requirements have been violated
- The dog escaped and the owner didn’t notify animal control
- The dog was given away or sold without notifying animal control and providing the information of the new owner
- The owner refused to surrender the dog to animal control if there was reasonable belief of the dog’s threat to public safety
If a situation arises where a dog is involved in the serious injury or death of a domestic animal without provocation, the owner will be charged with a fourth-degree felony. If the serious injury or death was inflicted upon a human without provocation, the owner is charged with a third-degree felony and will be sentenced accordingly.
Where to find affordable insurance in New Mexico
Whether you need renters insurance or a homeowners insurance policy to house your fur baby, Jerry has got you covered. As the #1 rated insurance sup app in the country, Jerry can present you with competitive rates from the top insurance companies in 45 seconds!
Jerry contacts your insurance company to get the details of your current coverage so you don’t have to scale a mountain of questions. You get all the best prices and coverage with none of the legwork. And if that isn’t enough for you, Jerry can even help cancel your old policy.
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