Animals Information

Domestic Animals Defined and Zoning Ordinances Relating to Animals

DOMESTIC ANIMALS - Animals that are normally considered to be kept in conjunction with a dwelling for the pleasure of the resident family, rather than for economic reasons. This shall include dogs, cats, small birds, racing pigeons, gerbils, rabbits, lizards and other nonpoisonous animals commonly sold in retail pet shops

LIVESTOCK - Any living creature maintained for commercial use or profit, but not maintained as a pet

The number of domestic animals, fowl, and horses is addressed under the Zoning Ordinance Section 2101. 

1. In any zoning district, it is permitted to maintain as domestic pets five (5) dogs or five (5) cats, or a combination thereof, not to exceed a total of five (5) domestic pets, each over six (6) months of age, provided it is on a noncommercial basis. Where a shelter and/or exercise pen is maintained, it shall be located in the rear yard at least ten (10) feet from any lot line, and no closer than fifty (50) feet to the nearest dwelling other than that of the owner.  

2. In any zoning district, it is permitted on any single family detached dwelling lot to maintain pigeons and chickens, on a noncommercial basis provided the following conditions are met: 

A. For lots containing between 15,000 square feet and 20,000 square feet, a maximum of six (6) pigeons or chickens or combination of pigeons and chickens not to exceed six (6) shall be permitted.

B. For lots greater than 20,000 square feet, a maximum of twelve (12) pigeons or chickens or a combination of pigeons and chickens shall be permitted.

C. Pigeons and chickens and any shelter, coop or exercise pen including fencing, shall be located in the rear yard, shall be at least twenty-five (25) feet from any lot line and shall be no closer than fifty (50) feet to the nearest dwelling other than that of the owner. 

D. Pigeons and chickens shall be contained on the property and shall not be permitted to roam free. 

E.  The owner shall be responsible for ensuring the pigeons or chickens are healthy and properly maintained.  This shall include visual checks to ensure the pigeons or chickens are alert, active, eating and have clean eyes and nostrils.

F.  Any pigeon or chicken that becomes deceased will be properly disposed.  

G.  Any outdoor exercise pen or grazing area shall be securely fenced to contain the pigeons and chickens and to prevent escape.  Fences shall comply with Section 2108 of this Ordinance.

H. Hens are permitted.  Roosters are not permitted. 

I.  Pigeons or chickens shall be kept for personal use only.

J.  The incidental sale of eggs is prohibited except as authorized by Section 2503.1. of this Ordinance.

K.  All waste shall be properly stored and disposed of, shall comply with Chapter 91, Manure Management and shall not be objectionable at the property line.  Any waste that enters the Township’s Stormwater system is considered an illicit discharge as set forth in Section 701 of the Stormwater Management Ordinance, as amended

L. Slaughtering shall not be permissible. 

M. A zoning permit demonstrating compliance with the criteria shall be obtained.  In obtaining a zoning permit, it ensures the small flock is registered with the Township. 

N. A detailed narrative shall be submitted with the zoning permit including the following:

  • Description of how the pigeons or chicken will be contained.
  • Description of how waste will be managed and disposed and describe how any deceased pigeon or chicken will be disposed.
  • Description of how pigeon or chicken feed will be stored. Feed shall not be stored outside the associated residential dwelling, unless it is stored in a metal latched container designed to prevent entry by wildlife or animals.
  • Photos of the proposed containment structure including construction specifications. 

O. The regulations of this Section do not apply to normal agricultural, or farming operations permitted by this Ordinance. 

3. In any zoning district, unless regulated by other provisions in this ordinance, it is permitted to maintain up to two (2) saddle horses, provided no building, corral, or stable is less than one hundred (100) feet from any lot line and is not closer than two hundred (200) feet to the nearest existing dwelling other than that of the owner. A pasture fence shall be located at a minimum distance of ten (10) feet from the property line.   

4.No manure storage facility or area shall be established closer than one hundred (100) feet to any property line.   

5.Domestic pets referred to in this Section shall not be kept for breeding purposes. 

Fence provisions are outlined in Section 2108 (PDF) of the Zoning Ordinance and requires a permit Zoning Permit Application (PDF).

Contact the Planning and Zoning Department for further information regarding the number or type of animals allowed under the Zoning Ordinance and the process to obtain permission for conditional use.

Dog Licensing and Other Dog Owner Responsibilities

Responsibilities of Dog Owners

Animal Complaints

To report a violation of the above Zoning Ordinance, or any Zoning Ordinance violation, do not hesitate to contact the Planning and Zoning Department.

The unsanitary or unsecure condition of a property causing the infestation of insects, rodents or other animals may be addressed under the Property Maintenance Code. Contact the Code Compliance Department for further information.

Nuisances such as barking dogs, leash and curb ordinances are all enforced by the Manheim Township Police Department. Under the Pennsylvania Dog Law, the Township is required to address stray dogs, which can be a safety problem for citizens.

Chapter 167: Animals of the Codified Codes addresses these and other issues not already addressed by the Zoning Ordinance. Contact the Manheim Township Police Department at (717) 569-6401 for further information.

To report a violation of the nuisance ordinances, call 911 if it is an emergency, or dial 717-664-1180 to report non-emergency violations.

Stray or Feral Cats

The Township does not have the trained staff and resources to provide animal control services such as trap/neuter/release for stray and feral cats. Local animal control firms and local animal protection and cruelty organizations offer these types of services to private homeowners and businesses.

Raccoons, Squirrels, Skunks, Groundhogs and Other Wildlife

Wildlife, such as raccoons, squirrels, skunks, and groundhogs sometimes become a nuisance in residential areas. Wildlife management is the responsibility of the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The Pa Game Commission offers some solutions to this problem on their Nuisance Wildlife webpage.

Here are the phone numbers for the Southeast Regional Office of the Pa. Game Commission:

610-926-3136 or 610-926-3137

Another solution is to contact a wildlife pest control agent.