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City/County Ordinances

City of Las Cruces


Feral cat colonies

Las Cruces residents may manage a feral cat colony (enclosed or unenclosed) but they must register the colony with Animal Control, and have all cats registered, vaccinated and sterilized. The feral cat colony fee is $50 annually with a $10 one-time application fee.


Chickens and ducks

Las Cruces residents can now obtain a special permit to raise up to six chickens or ducks within city limits. Roosters, drakes (male ducks) and geese are not included in the new ordinance and are not permitted within city limits. The special permit to raise chicken or ducks is $15 annually with a $10 one-time application fee.



Domesticated pets must be registered and micro-chipped. Previously, residents of Las Cruces had to register their pets but now they must also microchip their dogs and cats. The annual fee for registering each intact, or non-sterile, pet is $50. The fee is $7 for each sterile pet. Residents 65 or older will be charged only $5 for each sterile pet and there is no annual charge for qualified service animals. You can get your pet microchipped for $20 at the Animal Service Center of the Mesilla Valley (575) 382-0018, and you can license your pet online at

For more information on city animal ordinances, please visit the city's website.

Doña Ana County




In January 2014 the county’s first pet licensing requirement went into effect. The purpose of this requirement is to get pets back to their owners when they go missing.The county’s pet licensing ordinance requires that the pet not only be up to date on its rabies vaccinations, but also be microchipped and registered with the local shelter. The ordinance specifies that the animal control officer is to impound a found animal at the shelter only when the officer cannot safely return that pet to the owner. Another important part to the pet licensing requirement is the fees. The fee to obtain a pet license is currently set at only $7 if the pet has been spayed or neutered. If the owner wishes to license an intact pet (not spayed or neutered), the fee increases significantly, currently set at $50. The purpose of the fee differential is to discourage “backyard breeding,” which is causing more death and suffering of pets in this county than anything else. Not to mention it’s the taxpayers who foot the bill when these unwanted offspring are dumped at the shelter. You can license your pet online at



The next big change was made to the restraint requirements. There was an overall clarification in the wording of these requirements; however, pet owners have always been required to keep their pets under physical restraint, preventing them from being subjected to hazards such as traffic and other unrestrained animals, and from causing damage to the property of others. The big change is in regard to tethering. Tethering, often referred to as chaining, is allowed under the ordinance as a temporary means of restraint only. It’s important for pet owners to understand that this does not mean they should allow their pets to run loose rather than keep them tethered. The goal is to get pet owners who currently have their pets tied out all day, to provide that pet with a proper escape-proof enclosure, protecting the pet from hazards while avoiding the negative effects caused by keeping the pet tied out. Specific time restrictions were put in place, which went into effect in mid-January of 2016. The restrictions specify that a dog cannot be tethered to a stationary point for more than two hours in any 12-hour period, and a dog cannot be tethered by a run-line system for more than four hours in a 12-hour period. These limits allow owners who keep their pets indoors, but do not have an escape-proof enclosure available to allow the dog to do his/her business outside, to briefly place their dog outside on a tether before bringing them back in.


The other significant change regards required permits. The intact animal permits and litter permits have been required since 2002, however, the fees had been set so low that it was more cost effective for a pet owner to pay the fee rather than pay to have their pet sterilized. The fees now, therefore, have been significantly increased in order to strongly discourage backyard breeding. If a pet owner wishes to keep a pet intact (not spayed or neutered) it’s going to be costly. The current fee for the required permit is currently set at $100 each year for each intact pet. Additionally, each time the owner allows that pet to have a litter, they must obtain a litter permit, for which the fee is currently set at $50 for each litter.

For further information on animal ordinances, please visit the county’s website.

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