Animals

Landowners, neighbors, and anyone interested in purchasing land should be aware of Douglas County’s Animal Regulations. It is important to check the Douglas County Zoning Resolution (DCZR) regarding animals to ensure that you are in compliance both in quantity and type of animals allowed in your area. This is particularly important if you are using the land for agricultural, or kenneling and boarding operations.

What are the types and categories of animals allowed?

This is a brief summary of the animal regulations and is meant to be used in conjunction with the DCZR:

  • Household pets including, but not limited to, dogs and cats shall be permitted in all zoning districts allowing for residential use provided that no more than four animals of more than four months of age are kept by the occupant of any residential unit. Kennels, boarding facilities and commercial activities are not allowed.
  • Poultry, fowl and small livestock shall be properly housed (e.g., chicken coop, rabbit hutch) and shall be located in accordance with the required accessory use setbacks. These animals are typically allowed on 2.3 acres or greater, but may be allowed on less. Call Planning Services at 303-660-7460 to check.
  • Hoofed animalsinclude: horses, cattle, mules, llamas, sheep, goats or swine. They are categorized by animal unit and restrictions are shown in the chart below.
    • Horse/mule/cow/llama: 1 = 1 animal unit
    • Miniature horse/swine/sheep/goat/alpaca: 4 = 1 animal unit
  • Exceptions:

    • Young animals less than 6 months of age shall not count toward the allowable unit.
    • Non-domestic or exotic animals are permitted only as a “Use by Special Review” upon approval by the Board of Douglas County Commissioners, in the A-1* and LRR** zoning districts.
    • A non-domestic animal is generally considered to be an animal not normally adapted to live and breed in a tame condition.
    • An exotic animal is generally considered to be an animal introduced from another country that is not normally kept as a household pet or farm animal.

Refer to the “Use by Special Review” Section of the DCZR for more information.

Animal Regulations

Setbacks

Definition of a setback: The required minimum horizontal distance between the location of structures or uses and the related front, side, or rear lot line measured perpendicular to such lot line.

The following setback information is for barns, corrals, arenas, paddocks, run pens, round pens, or parking areas.

Lot Size
SETBACK FROM A
Street
Side Lot Line
Rear Lot Line
2.3 – 4.49 acres 25′ 25′ 25′
4.5 – 8.9 acres 50′ 25′ 25′
9 – 34.9 acres 100′ 50′ 25′
35+ acres 100′ 50′ 50′
Temporary catch pens and loading chutes are exempt.

Vegetation Requirements

Vegetation requirements apply to all land having permitted livestock. The site, excluding that area which is allowed to be devegetated, must be maintained with vegetative groundcover. Vegetative groundcover includes native or introduced grasses and forbs, but does not include weeds on bare dirt. In areas where exposed shelf-rock or caprock is the natural terrain, this will be considered to be vegetative groundcover.

The maximum land area that may be devegetated is as follows:

Lot Area
Maximum Devegetated Area
2.3 – 4.49 acres 25% of the total site
4.5 – 8.9 acres 1.25 acres or 20%, whichever is greater
9 – 34.9 acres 2 acres or 15%, whichever is greater
35+ acres 5.2 acres or 10%, whichever is greater, to a maximum of 10 acres

All corrals, outdoor arenas, paddocks, run pens, round pens, unpaved or ungraveled parking areas shall be included when calculating the maximum area devegetated. The area within the required minimum setback shall be fully maintained with vegetation. A variance from the above vegetation standards may be sought from the Board of Adjustment.

Waste and Odor Regulations

The following regulations shall apply to all lands having permitted livestock. County regulations pertaining to nonconforming use shall not be applicable with respect to these waste and odor regulations.

  • Manure shall be removed in a regular and reasonable manner or otherwise composted or spread in such a manner as to protect surface and groundwater, minimize the breeding of flies, and to control odors. Manure shall not be buried.
  • In the agricultural zoning districts, manure piles shall be set back a minimum distance of 100′ from any lot line, well, stream or body of water.
  • In the residential zoning districts, manure piles shall be set back from the lot line in accordance with the zoning district accessory use setback requirements.
  • Animals shall not be allowed to create excessive odor problems or present a health hazard to surrounding lands.
  • Adequate drainage facilities or improvements shall be provided by the landowner and constructed to protect any adjacent land from run-off containing contaminants such as sediment or organic wastes.

Zone District Animal Limits

Animal/District Agriculture – 1 (A-1) Large Rural Residential
(LRR)
Rural Residential
(RR)
Estate Residential (ER) Suburban Residential (SR)
Dog/cat/pot-bellied pig 4 per du**; 5+ by USR* 4/du; 5+ USR 4/du (No USR) 4/du (No USR) 4/du
Horse/llama/mule/cow(1 animal = 1 unit)ORGoat/sheep/pig/miniature horse/alpaca(4 animals = 1 unit)The number and type of animals allowed is based on zoning and lot size. A minimum lot area of 2.3 acres is required (exception may include grandfathered use or a variance). 2.3-4.49 acres:1 animal unit per 1/2 acre (of this total, 1 horse may be boarded)4.5-8.9 acres: 1 animal unit per 1/2 acre (of this total, 2 horses may be boarded)9-34.9 acres: NO LIMIT on own livestock (Boarded horses: 2 by right; 3-8 by admin. approval; 9+ by USR)35+ acres:NO LIMIT on own livestock (Boarded horses: 4 by right; 5-12 by admin. approval; 13+ by USR)80+ acres:NO LIMIT on own livestock (Boarded horses: 4 by right; 12 by right with 200′ setback; 13-18 by admin. approval with 200′ setback; 19+ by USR; if 200′ setback cannot be met, see 35+ acres limits)160+ acres:NO LIMIT on own livestock (Boarded horse: 4 by right; NO LIMIT with 500′ setback from adjacent residential uses; if 500′ setback cannot be met then see 80+ acres limits) 2.3-4.49 acres:1 animal unit per 1/2 acre (of this total, 1 horse may be boarded)4.5-8.9 acres: 1 animal unit per 1/2 acre (of this total, 2 horses may be boarded)9+ acres: NO LIMIT on own livestock (Boarding horses: 2 by right; 3-8 by admin. approval; 9+ by USR) 2.3-4.49 acres: 1 animal unit per 1/2 acre (of this total 1 horse may be a boarded horse)4.5+ acres: 1 animal unit per 1/2 acre (of this total 2 horses may be boarded) 2.3+ acres:1 animal unit per 1/2 acre (of this total 1 horse may be a boarded horse) NO
Poultry/fowl Less than 2.3 acres:4^2.3-8.9 acres: 30 per lot9+ acres: NO LIMIT Same as A-1 Less than 2.3 acres:4^2.3+ acres: 30 per lot Less than 2.3 acres:4^2.3+ acres: 30 per lot Less than 2.3 acres:4^
Small livestock Less than 2.3 acres:4^2.3-8.9 acres: 50 per lot9+ acres: NO LIMIT Same as A-1 Less than 2.3 acres:4^2.3+ acres: 50 per lot Less than 2.3 acres:4^2.3+ acres: 50 per lot Less than 2.3 acres:4^
Buffalo/ostrich/emu 2.3-8.9 acres:prohibited9+ acres: NO LIMIT Same as A-1 NO NO NO
Non-domestic/exotic USR USR NO NO NO
Bees Principal use Principal use Accessory use Accessory use Accessory use/du

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tropical fish, gerbils/hamsters, parakeets and similar small household pets, not raised for commercial purposes and kept indoors, are permitted with no limits.

* USR: Use by Special Review
** du: dwelling unit
^ Poultry/fowl are limited to female chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus). Slaughtering of poultry/fowl or small livestock is not permitted. 

Grazing Capacity

Grazing on fragile land in combination with the semi-arid climate may lead to a loss of vegetation, water contamination and erosion problems when maintaining horses and other livestock on smaller parcels of land. The potential for damage requires involved stewardship of the land. The landowner must be sensitive to the number and type of livestock kept, amount of land that is devegetated, and proper management of manure.

The following chart is intended as a very simplistic representation of the amount of time livestock can be pastured without damaging the vegetation on the land. Unique characteristics of the land may further limit grazing capacity. The chart is based on a grazing standard of 30 acres of pasture per head of livestock.

More specific information regarding successful livestock management on small parcels can be obtained by contacting the Natural Resource Conservation Service at 720-544-2810.

No. of Horses
LAND AREA
30 Acres
10 Acres
5 Acres
2.5 Acres
1
24 hrs/day
8 hrs/day
4 hrs/day
2 hrs/day
2
12 hrs/day
4 hrs/day
2 hrs/day
1 hr/day
3
8 hrs/day
2.6 hrs/day
1.3 hrs/day
40 min/day
4
6 hrs/day
2 hrs/day
1 hr/day
30 min/day
5
4.8 hrs/day
1.6 hrs/day
50 min/day
24 min/day
6
4 hrs/day
1.3 hrs/day
36 min/day
N/A
8
3 hrs/day
1 hr/day
30 min/day
N/A
10
2.4 hrs/day
50 min/day
24 min/day
N/A