Permits for Livestock, Pet Shows, Boarding and Grooming

You're required to obtain a permit to keep any type of livestock, including horses, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, and turkeys in Palo Alto. Geese, roosters, guinea hens, and peacocks are not allowed, except in areas zoned for agriculture or open space. There are special provisions for keeping more than six chickens, in addition to these rules. If you are having a party and hired a petting zoo, that also requires a permit.

DOWNLOAD: Permit Application (also used for special events)

Once you download an permit application, and when your coop is built and ready for inspection, return the application to our office (or email it to and we will schedule an Animal Control Officer to inspect. Once approved, we will collect the permit fee, and mail you the permit.

Generally, the issues we find in regards to owning livestock is maintaining a good relationship with neighbors, and coop safety. If your coop or run is less than 25ft from your property line, you must obtain written permission from that neighbor(s) to own the hens. We keep those letters on file, and if a neighbor moves away and a new one moves in, they have the option of revoking permission. The resident of a property is required to give/revoke permission, not a landlord.

Secondly is coop size and safety. The coop must be large enough to house the amount of hens you have, kept clean, and does not allow access for nuisance animals like rats/insects, and predators like raccoons.

View the Palo Alto Municipal Code relating to animal permits.