Monday 21 December 2009

Dogs and the Law in Israel

When I was in Mercaz Klita, someone tried to persuade me to take their dog as there was a problem of jealousy with their new baby. Some months later when I moved out of Mercaz Klita once again I was asked to take care of a dog on two occasions. At the time I did not know nor had anyone told me the laws of owning or caring for a dog. The truth is that according to Torah, one is not permitted to own any dangerous creature, of which some dogs are included.

This post has been prepared for us by Tzvi Szajnbrum, Attorney at law

Since the subject of owning a dog in Israel is not well known to the public, I would like to provide some basic concepts about owning and maintaining a dog in Israel.

As you may already know, implementing these laws and regulations is not an easy task and in spite all the good will and efforts, many of the regulations are not well implemented.

The law and the practice:
The main problem is when a dog’s owner is sued. When sued he will be the one solely responsible to explain why he didn’t follow the rules (which are almost impossible to accomplish). The cases when the dog’s owner is not found guilty when his dog attacks another person are so rare I can’t even recall one case.

The law provides that every dog over three months old must have a valid license. License fee payment will be given after vaccination against rabies and marking the dog with a microchip under his skin.

The license is valid for one year. If a dog changes owners, it is mandatory to re-license the dog.

The law provides that the Secretary of Agriculture may demand that a dangerous dog be licensed for third party insurance against bodily injuries and property, but such an obligation is not set as a legal regulation. Municipal veterinarian doctors may refuse to give or renew a license at his discretion, for various reasons including offenses committed by the dog or the dog’s owner.
If the license was canceled, the dog’s owner must hand over the dog within 24 hours to one of those stipulated by law such as a protected facility determined by the local authority.

National Registration Center:
A National Registration Center was established by the Ministry of Agriculture, and it includes the dog’s details.

The Registration Center will have registered biting dogs and the registration of owners holding two or more biting dogs. The Municipal Veterinary doctor needs to report to the registry center dogs that have been marked by him, given or revoked licenses, and if an aggressive dog was brought to his attention.

Holding (owning) a dog:
A dog’s owner must keep the dog in his yard. The yard must be marked with a sign: “Watch out for the Dog”. The fine for ignoring this regulation is 3,000 shekels. When in a public place the dog must be held by a leash by a person who can control the dog. The maximum leash length for a “normal” dog, determined by regulations of 2005, is up to five meters. If a dog is defined as “dangerous” then the limit is two meters and they must be muzzled even at home if a child under the age of 16 years is present.

Taking possession of a dog – Detention by the authorities:
If the dog has no valid license or is being held because of non-compliance of the regulations, the municipal veterinarian doctor or inspector is allowed to catch the dog and move him to a municipal detention location. The owner can then turn to the authorities and ask to have the dog returned to him within ten days of receipt of notification of detention. According to the considerations of the municipal veterinarian doctor, he can issue a license or cancel or prescribe conditions for the dog that broke the regulations. If not contacted, the municipal veterinarian doctor may give the dog to the security forces or another organization. If this is not possible, then the doctor may order to have the dog put to sleep, with the expenses will falling on the dog’s owner.

Dangerous dogs:
Which dogs are considered dangerous?
- A dog over the age of three months who bites and has caused bodily injury or damage;
- A breed that is considered dangerous;
- A breed that the Minister, with the approval of the Knesset Finance Committee, has stated is a dangerous breed;
- A cross breed of dangerous dogs;
- If there are physical attributes and behavior of a dangerous dog.
When preparing a list of dogs declared dangerous in Israel, two characteristics of dogs were taken into account: the degree of aggressiveness and extent of damage he might cause. Eight species of dogs are considered “dangerous” by law:
1. American Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Am staff)
2. Bull Terrier
3. Duguay Argentine (Dogo Argentino)
4. Japanese peafowl (Tosa)
5. Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Stapp English) (Staffordshire bull terrier) (Staffie)
6. Pitt Bull Terrier
7. Brazilian filet (Fila brasileiro)
8. Rottweiler

Holding a dog without a valid license and allowing the dog to go outside the yard - is liable to six months in prison. Holding a dangerous dog in violation of the regulations or gives false information on essential issues about the dog - is liable to one year in prison.

The law prohibits breeding dangerous dogs in Israel. One must spay or neuter a dangerous dog before the age of six months. If authorization is given not to spay or neuter due to life-threatening danger to the dog, the dog must be prevented from mating.

There are around a quarter of a million dogs signed up with the authorities and around five thousand of them are considered “dangerous dogs”.


  1. We live in a Yishuv and have neighbours (Olim) whose large dogs keep "escaping" currently on a daily basis. We have tried reasoning with them, tried to get the Mazkirut involved, tried getting the dog catcher (who won't come if somebody else does not catch them for him because he says by the time he has arrived dogs have disappeared). What else can we do?

  2. Hi Jonny

    Thank you for commenting on our blog post. I am sorry to read of your situation. This post was a guest post written by a lawyer. Why not contact him and ask if he has any advice for you.

    You can also try calling the Israeli SPCA to find out if they have any ideas for you or would assist? Also, try calling the local vet, they often have good ideas to help with problem situations with animals.

    If any other readers have ideas, please post a comment below.

    Hatzlachah. Please let us know if you find a good solution.


  3. Good evening. If one were to own a dog considered as a dangerous breed or cross breed and had adopted it from another country whilst one lived there, would one be allowed to bring it into Israel if one had the correct paperwork? We are moving back to Israel and adopted a big soft rotty about six years ago. He has never attacked or bitten anything- just likes to slobber. Would we be able to bring him into Israel with special remission? Would he need a rabies jab coming from a country without rabies?

  4. Dear Reader

    Thank you for commenting on our blog post.

    The post that you have responded to is a guest post written by a lawyer. I am not a lawyer.

    If you are making Aliyah, I would recommend that you ask this question to your Shaliach or to the Jewish Agency. You can also ask a lawyer or ask the SPCA or similar organization in Israel.

    If any of our other readers have answers, please post below.

    Good luck with your move to Israel and your fact finding about your dog.


  5. What idoes The spca stand for and what is their phone number and address?

  6. SPCA stands for "Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals" The SPCA is international. I am not sure the contact information in Israel but you can google it.

    You can find out more about the SPCA in this article

    I hope this helps




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