How Many Pets (Dogs/Cats) Can You Own in Delaware?

A pet owner carrying his pet cat and dog

As in most states, there is no statewide law in Delaware restricting the number of animals you can own. That said, individual municipalities may have their own rules regarding pet ownership. Ultimately, the maximum number of pets you can have in Delaware depends on where you live and the rules there.

Your City Clerk or local Animal Control, if you contact them, ought to be able to inform you about the pet ownership laws in your locality. Meanwhile, I've made a list of some Delaware cities and the maximum number of pets that can be owned in them.


For starters, we have the city of Dover, where owning more than 3 dogs over the age of six months is not allowed. However, the number of cats you can own in Dover is not restricted. As required by state law, all pet dogs living in Dover must be vaccinated and licensed. For more info, please refer to CITY OF DOVER ORDINANCE.


According to Chapter 5, Sec. 5-4. of the Newark Code of Ordinances, it is unlawful to own more than six animals within the city. All six animals can be dogs or cats or any combination of dogs and cats. However, this restriction does not apply to puppies and kittens under the age of five months. Pet fish also are excluded from this restriction. If you are caught with more than 6 pets, you'll pay a mandatory minimum fine of not less than $250 for the first offense. For the second offense, you'll be fined $500, and $750 for each subsequent offense.


Like Newark, the Town of Smyrna restricts the number of animals per household to 5. You may keep a litter of puppies, kittens, or other young animals until they reach the age of five months. This restriction does not apply to pet fish. As in other Delaware towns, you must not allow your animals to be at large or constitute a nuisance in Smyrna town. All pet dogs living in the town are required by town ordinance to be licensed.


According to the Animal Ordinance of the City of Seaford, no person may keep more than 5 pets on any residential lot/parcel within the city limits. The maximum number of dogs allowed to be kept on any residential lot is 3. If you are a cat person, you can own up to 5 cats in Seaford, DE. However, the total number of cats and dogs combined must not exceed five.

Top 8 Dog Parks in Delaware

According to Delaware Today, the following Delaware dog parks offer ample space for socialization, exercise and play:
  1. Elsmere Dog Park
  2. New Castle County Bark Park
  3. Lums Pond Dog Park
  4. Charles E. Price Memorial Park
  5. Little Creek Bark Park
  6. Killens Pond Dog Training Area
  7. Milford Dog Park
  8. Milsboro Dog Park

Does Delaware have breed-specific legislation?

In law, breed-specific legislation (BSL) is the blanket term for laws that prohibit or restrict the ownership of dog breeds that tend to attack humans or other animals unprovoked. On Friday, June 2nd, 2017, Delaware became the 19th state to prohibit its municipalities from passing breed-specific legislation.

So, no, there are no breed-specific legislation laws in Delaware. However, the state has "Vicious" or "Dangerous" dog laws. In the city of Dover, for example, a dog is deemed Dangerous or Vicious if it has a propensity to attack human beings or other domestic animals unprovoked. 

Unlike BSL, a vicious or dangerous dog law does not discriminate against particular dog breeds. Any dog with a propensity to attack people or other animals in public places without provocation will be considered dangerous and then restricted.
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