The City of Austin enforces ordinances related to the tethering of dogs and the selling of animals within City limits.

Off-leash Dogs Prohibited

Except  in public areas where restraint of a dog is not required (off-leash dog parks), an owner or handler of a dog shall keep the dog under restraint.  A person holding a dog on a leash or lead shall keep the dog under control at all times.

Tethering of Dogs

Leaving a dog alone on a chain or a tether is prohibited by city law (Austin City Code Section 3-4-2)

Fencing and Dog House Program

To assist citizens and dogs using a tether as a primary means of restraint, Animal Protection has a fencing assistance program. We will accept fencing donations and offer them to citizens who need to correct their tethering violations.

Need help with fencing or a doghouse? Download the Fencing Assistance Application or the Doghouse Assistance Application and fax it to 512-978-0617. Forms can also be completed online:

For questions, contact the Tethering Officer at (512) 978-0519 for more information.

Pet Sales

The Austin City Council voted to impose requirements on the sale of dogs and cats in order to provide for the health and welfare of the animals sold, as well as to protect potential buyers. These regulations require that sellers spay or neuter each dog or cat prior to sale or pay a $50 animal processing fee to register the animal with the City of Austin.

Austin City Code § 3-2-3, "Commerce in Live Animals", provides that any “person who exchanges for consideration dogs or cats, including puppies and kittens, regardless of age”...“shall pay an animal processing fee” unless the dog or cat has been “certified by a licensed veterinarian to be incapable of being bred.” 

Any person who conducts a sale without first paying the requisite animal processing fee or providing veterinary documentation indicating that the animal is sterile commits an offense. Each unauthorized sale constitutes a Class C Misdemeanor, punishable by a minimum fine of $200 and up to $2,000 per animal sold. (Austin City Code § 3-7-2).

Registering Your Pet For Sale

  • To register an animal, click here.
  • To provide veterinary documentation that the animal has been spayed or neutered, click here.

You may register your animals by mail by submitting the completed form and payment to the Austin Animal Center located at 7201 Levander Loop, Austin, TX 78702 in Building A. You may also pay the processing fee in person at the Cashier’s Desk at the Austin Animal Center. Accepted payment forms include: cash, credit (excluding American Express), or debit, as well as personal checks. Please make all checks payable to “The City of Austin Animal Services Office.”

Note that you must submit one form for each individual animal offered for sale. Once your registration is processed, you will receive a registration confirmation for each animal indicating that you have properly complied with City law and the animal has been deemed eligible for sale. Please keep a copy of this confirmation for your records.

The full text of the City Code § 3-2-3 is availablehere.
Frequently Asked Questions


Austin City Code § 3-2-3  also requires sellers to implant each dog or cat with an identifying microchip and provide such registration information to the new owner to ensure that lost pets can be identified and reunited with their owners. Free microchipping services are available at the Pet Resource Center at the Austin Animal Center during normal business hours, and also check our Facebook page for free microchipping events.