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Indiana State Board of Animal Health

BOAH > Licensing & Compliance > Frequently Asked Questions Frequently Asked Questions

Animal-Related Laws

Q: Where can I find a list of Indiana state animal-related laws?
A: The following list of links is a starting point for accessing the animal-related laws in the state. (This does not include city and county ordinances or federal laws.) Contact your attorney for additional information and specific legal advice.

If you know of others that should be added to this list, contact the webmaster with your suggestion at animalhealth@boah.in.gov

Dead Animal Disposal

Q: What are the legal options for disposing of dead livestock in Indiana?
A: Indiana law allows for four options for legal disposal. Click here to view the BOAH technical bulletin "Dead Animal Disposal".

Q: I noticed dead animal carcasses lying on someone's property. Is that against the law? Where do I report it?
A: Under state law, dead livestock must be disposed of promptly. Incidents involving livestock should be reported directly to the State Board of Animal Health.
Other species, such as pets and wildlife do not fall under Indiana's dead animal disposal law. Local governments (city/county) may have additional requirements for disposal of those species. Contact local law enforcement or health authorities.

Manure Issues

Manure-handling and disposal issues are regulated by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Care, Neglect and Abuse Issues

Q: What does Indiana law say about neglect and/or abuse of animals?
A: Neglect and abuse are illegal under Indiana law. For more information, click here.

Q: How do I report a suspected case of abuse and/or neglect of an animal?
A: Cases involving livestock and poultry, including horses, can be reported to BOAH by calling (877) 747-3038 or e-mailing animalhealth@boah.in.gov.  Anonymous complaints cannot be accepted because appropriate follow-up may be needed.  Livestock and poultry cases will be investigated in cooperation with the local law enforcement agency.  To report suspected abuse and/or neglect affecting companion animals, such as dogs and cats, contact your local animal control agency.  That may be the city police or county sheriff's department.  The state does not have jurisdiction to be the leading authority on these cases, but we will follow up and assist the local officials when necessary. 

Q: Who is responsible for animal control in my area?
A: A local government-run animal control agency/organization is not mandated in Indiana. The level and organization of animal control varies widely from county to county. Only about half of Indiana's counties have an organized animal control agency. Some have contractual agreements with local, private organizations or neighboring counties to perform those tasks. Some larger metropolitan areas have city animal control agencies apart from county system.

Pet Cemetery

Q: Are there any regulations on pet cemetery construction, maintenance, burial, etc.?
A:  The Indiana State Board of Animal Health does not have any regulations for pet cemeteries.  If the animals buried are considered livestock, then the guidelines for Dead Animal Disposal would have to be followed.  It is recommended to check with the Department of Natural Resources.  They regulate human cemeteries, and may have some guidelines or recommendations.  Also, check with local/county ordinances because they may have rules on pet cemeteries.  If any of the animals are to be cremated you will need to speak with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. 

Pet Shops and Kennels

Q: Who licenses and inspects pet shops, kennels and breeders in Indiana?
A: Currently, regulation of those establishments falls under local (city/county) law (if the locality has one; not all do). Some communities do not have specific animal-related ordinances. The responsible agency also varies widely from county to county. If the pet store sells certain exotic animals, the U.S. Department of Agriculture may have some jurisdiction.

Q: A pet I purchased from a pet shop/kennel has become ill/died. What rights do I have?
A: The State Board of Animal Health has no jurisdiction in these matters. You should contact the Indiana Attorney General's office of Consumer Protection at 317/232-6330 or visit their website.

Q: I want to start a kennel or breeding operation. Do I need a license?
A: The State Board of Animal Health does not currently license kennel operations. Check with local officials. Some kennels need a U.S. Department of Agriculture license.  Dog breeders who own more than 20 sexually-intact breeding females must register their operation with BOAH.  More information is available on the Commercial Dog Breeder and Broker web page

Veterinary Licensing, Complaints, Laws

Q: How do I file a complaint about a veterinarian?
A: Complaints should be submitted to the Veterinary Licensing Board of the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency; IGCS Room W041; Indianapolis, IN 46204. Or visit the PLA website.

Wildlife Issues

Q: A bird/animal pest is in my home/garage/property and I want it removed. Who can do that for me?
A: Contact a local commercial pest control service (refer to the Yellow Pages) or for a referral, contact the Indiana Wildlife Conflict Hotline on their website.

Sharps Disposal

Q: How can a veterinary clinic dispose of the used needles from the practice?
A: The Indiana State Department of Health has created a guidebook, Community Options for Safe Needle Disposal, to give Hoosiers information on disposing of used sharps, such as needles. 

Updated January 18, 2012