Boise, ID

Dogs, Cats, Chickens, Ducks, Rabbits -- but no Goats or Roosters in Boise City Limits!

Stuart Gustafson

That city limit sign is an old one, but I didn’t know how practical it would be for me to find a road I could go out on and find an equivalent sign. The elevation isn’t going to change, but it seems that the population number is changing on a daily basis. The best guess for now is a little over 240,000.

But that is counting just the people -- those beings that walk on two legs. If the census takers counted every animal -- I guess it would be impossible to count every bird, every squirrel, every ant and squash bug, every bee and fly -- let’s go with human beings and domesticated animals and pets, then the number would be much higher.
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So, who doesn’t love a cuddly dog or cat in the house? Most of us do, and that is a good thing. But sometimes people have too many of these wonderful animals we call pets (some people call them “their children” and possibly even like them more than their actual children). And there are laws against having “too many” cats and dogs.
Judi Neumeyer/unsplash

Talking about the city of Boise, an article at says, “you cannot keep more than four cats, dogs or a mixture of the two without a commercial kennel license. This is to ensure that the animals are being properly taken care of and limiting the chances of animal abuse.” That makes sense, doesn’t it? What this says to me is if you want to have dozens of dogs and/or cats, either get a kennel license or move into the country where you have plenty of open space to take care of them properly.
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Well, then, what about chickens? I hear chickens cackling in my neighborhood.

Per Idaho's “Existing Temporary Use, Livestock & Beekeeping Ordinances,” Section 11-09-09.02, livestock are generally kept outdoors, and includes animals such as “horses, cattle, llamas, mules, swine, goats, rabbits, poultry, and domesticated birds.” Unless, of course -- remember, this is Idaho -- the animal is “specifically included as a pet.”
Rebekah Howell/unsplash
So, What Are Pets?

The next section, number 11-09-09.03 says that pets are defined as animals that are generally kept indoors. However, some pets might be housed outdoors. I don’t know about you, but I certainly wouldn’t want a pet chicken inside the house. Sure, it makes it easier to get eggs, but ….

The statute goes on to say what animal are generally considered pets and may be kept within the city limits of Boise: “dogs, cats, up to three chickens, excluding roosters, two ducks, two rabbits, ….” So this tells me that my neighbor is allowed to have up to four cats/dogs, three chickens, two ducks, and two rabbits. The rabbits wouldn’t make much noise, but the others?

My neighbor does have three dogs (under the limit), four chickens (over the limit), but no ducks or rabbits. So maybe they can have one of the chickens pass as another poultry animal.
Timothy Eberly/unsplash

When I moved to Boise almost three decades ago, there were several houses along Cole Road that had alpacas. One of those houses, a corner house, has since been demolished and is now home to a couple “professional offices.” I’d prefer to see the alpacas than the stucco buildings. I’m just guessing that homeowners who still have alpacas and horses have been grandfathered in so they can keep their animals without being in violation of city code. That’s only fair.

But what if you just love goats, and you want a goat in your backyard to eat the grass (and fertilize it at the same time), and then provide you with fresh goat’s milk? I mean, what’s really wrong with that? As ecologically friendly as it might be to have a goat cut your grass rather than using a gas mower, the answer is, “No.” No goats allowed.

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Articles on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday about travel, relevant local/regional items, some finance. Always with a slant to ask you to think.

Boise, ID

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