Permit requirements for building a pet enclosure

Winny

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2023
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My father recently got a new pup and is interested in making a cage like enclosure in his yard to accommodate the little guy. He wants to set-up a fence, but only in a small section of the property. But, he wants it to be big enough to where his dog can run around and have some room to do it.

What rules do we have to follow in Michigan when it comes to setting up an enclosure like area for a dog? What permits are required for setting up a dog fence for example? How big does the enclosure need to be?
 
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Michigan, United States

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I imagine you'd only need a building permit, that or a permit to enact a fence/cage. I see you need a permit if it's an exotic animal, for a dog, you probably don't need that.

Really the best thing you can do here, is to reach out to your local animal control office, and or your county zoning department to see what permits you may need to file in regards to this. I doubt you'll need much else.
 
My father recently got a new pup and is interested in making a cage like enclosure in his yard to accommodate the little guy. He wants to set-up a fence, but only in a small section of the property. But, he wants it to be big enough to where his dog can run around and have some room to do it.

What rules do we have to follow in Michigan when it comes to setting up an enclosure like area for a dog? What permits are required for setting up a dog fence for example? How big does the enclosure need to be?

I doubt most people would bother with permits for a small fenced area, even if technically required. If nothing else, I'd say your dad should at least call MISS DIG before he starts digging post holes, just to make sure he's staying clear of underground utilities. Personally, that might be as far as I'd go in terms of due diligence and planning.

Does your dad plan on keeping the dog outside year-round? If so, then I imagine he'll want to add some kind of insulated enclosure, in addition to the fencing, so that the dog has a place to shelter during the winter months. I personally had two outdoor dogs (beagles) when I was a kid growing up in southern Michigan. Our dogs had an outdoor wire-fenced enclosure that was built directly adjacent to our pole barn. We had a doggie door cut into the barn, which led to an insulated enclosure where the dogs could go to keep warm during the winter months. I highly doubt my parents got a permit when they modified the pole barn to add the insulated enclosure, even though a permit would have almost certainly been required.

I guess I'd recommend your dad really make sure he's got the enclosure situation fully figured out before considering permit requirements. If he ends up doing something structural and beyond basic wire fencing, as might be expected with an insulated enclosure, then he should probably go ahead and contact his local building department and get started with the permit process, if a permit is required.
 
I imagine you'd only need a building permit, that or a permit to enact a fence/cage. I see you need a permit if it's an exotic animal, for a dog, you probably don't need that.

Really the best thing you can do here, is to reach out to your local animal control office, and or your county zoning department to see what permits you may need to file in regards to this. I doubt you'll need much else.
Thanks, I'll keep that in mind. :)
I doubt most people would bother with permits for a small fenced area, even if technically required. If nothing else, I'd say your dad should at least call MISS DIG before he starts digging post holes, just to make sure he's staying clear of underground utilities. Personally, that might be as far as I'd go in terms of due diligence and planning.

Does your dad plan on keeping the dog outside year-round? If so, then I imagine he'll want to add some kind of insulated enclosure, in addition to the fencing, so that the dog has a place to shelter during the winter months. I personally had two outdoor dogs (beagles) when I was a kid growing up in southern Michigan. Our dogs had an outdoor wire-fenced enclosure that was built directly adjacent to our pole barn. We had a doggie door cut into the barn, which led to an insulated enclosure where the dogs could go to keep warm during the winter months. I highly doubt my parents got a permit when they modified the pole barn to add the insulated enclosure, even though a permit would have almost certainly been required.

I guess I'd recommend your dad really make sure he's got the enclosure situation fully figured out before considering permit requirements. If he ends up doing something structural and beyond basic wire fencing, as might be expected with an insulated enclosure, then he should probably go ahead and contact his local building department and get started with the permit process, if a permit is required.
I'll let my dad know. I don't think he intends to keep the dog outside year-round, but he said he would use it for when he takes the dog out for longer than a couple hours or so. It'll mostly be used in the spring/summer season as I don't think he intends to keep the little guy out too long in this cold weather. It's been really cold as of late and the little guy will run out, do his work and then quickly hobble back up the porch steps inside, it's quite cute to see. We might build him a dog house to go inside the enclosure, and I figure we could weatherize that.

Good to know we probably wont need a permit, that's good. I will also check about the posts, won't want to end up hitting something important.

But yeah, we probably got like a few months of snow left, so he won't be building this until at least the spring, and knowing how long our winters last, I am not expecting us to have this started anytime soon haha. :D So we should have enough time to figure it out.

Thanks for the help! :)
 
I will also check about the posts, won't want to end up hitting something important.

In practice, I think homeowners/contractors generally use MISS DIG for larger projects or where there's any uncertainty at all about where underground utilities are located. For my dad's stump grinding business, there's obviously a lot of digging involved. He generally just asks homeowners to confirm their personal knowledge of where the water and gas lines run and rarely calls MISS DIG to check himself. Still, it's a free service, so your dad definitely shouldn't hesitate to call them if the fence posts will be dug close enough to known utilities such that there'd be any margin of error not having the lines professionally marked.
 
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