Common City Ordinances

Common Ordinances You Should Know

This summary of selected Cleveland Heights ordinances includes those areas and issues that are most commonly encountered by citizens on a regular basis. View all City Ordinances and the City Charter.

  1. A - D
  2. F - L
  3. M - R
  4. S - Z

Animal Control Regulations

  • Dogs must be licensed by the county and wear a tag (Ohio R.C.955.05). Licenses are available through the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer. Dogs should also wear an I.D. tag with the owner's address and phone number.
  • Only two dogs or cats, or a combination of one each, are allowed per dwelling (505.02).
  • Only domestic animals are permitted as pets in the city of Cleveland Heights (505.03).
  • Animals are not permitted to make noise (i.e. barking, howling) that disturbs other residents (505.04). At night and during the early morning, barking becomes a greater nuisance. A constantly barking dog signals problems for neighbors and for the animal. Loud and constant barking is disturbing and may mean that your dog is cold, frustrated or lonely.
  • Animals (except for guide dogs) may not be brought into stores or malls (505.05).
  • Animals are not permitted in Public Parks (505.06).
  • Animals must be kept under control and not permitted to run at large (505.07). To protect our pets and neighbors, a pet must always be kept on a leash when going for a walk or any other time the pet leaves its home. This will reduce the chances of the pet wandering away and possibly hurting itself and others. Cats should be kept indoors and provided toys, companionship and a clean litter box. Stray cats may fight noisily and become a nuisance to neighbors.
  • Your pet may void excrement and urine only on your own property or between the curbs of city streets. You must pick up and properly dispose of fecal matter left by your pet (505.08).
  • Wild animals are prohibited as pets (505.09).
  • A vicious dog must be confined on its owner's property. Vicious dogs must be properly leashed and muzzled if off of owner's property. Vicious dogs must be registered with the City and a permit must be obtained (505.091). (See below.)
  • Pit bulls and pit bull crosses are considered vicious dogs (505.091). (See below.)
  • Animals may be impounded if in violation of Cleveland Heights Animal Control ordinances. A fee and all kennel charges must be paid in order for the animal to be released.

Vicious Dog Ordinance    

Cleveland Heights Ordinance #71-1987 added Section 505.091 to the Animal Control section of our Codified Ordinances and deals specifically with vicious dogs and Pit Bull Terriers. The owner of a vicious dog has a great responsibility to neighbors and the public. In order to meet that responsibility, regulations have been established that must be followed. It is believed that dog owners who follow these requirements will reduce the likelihood that their dog will be involved in a bite. In addition, neighbors and people who pass by the dogs when the dogs are in the yard or are being walked will be less likely to feel threatened by the dog.

The city defines a vicious dog in three ways:

  1. Any dog with a propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack, to cause injury or to otherwise endanger the safety of other human beings or other domestic animals; 
  2. Any dog which, without provocation, attacks a human being or another domestic animal; 
  3. Any pit bull terrier, which shall herein be defined as a Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed of dog or any mixed breed of dog which contains as an element of its breeding the breed of Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pitbull Terrier as to be identifiable as partially of the breed of Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier by a qualified veterinarian duly licensed as such by the State of Ohio; 

If you have a vicious dog, the following is necessary to comply with the law:


The vicious dog must be registered with the City of Cleveland Heights within 10 days of the date the dog is first brought into the city and thereafter on an annual basis on or before January 31 of each calendar year. To register, you must show proof of $100,000.00 liability insurance that insures you against any claim, loss damage, or injury to persons, domestic animals or property resulting from the acts of your dog. Such insurance must be maintained and proof of it may be requested by a law enforcement officer. You must bring a photo of the animal and pay $20 to register.


When your dog is at home, it must be securely confined indoors or, if outside, confined in a securely enclosed and locked pen or dog run area. The pen or dog run must have secure sides and a secure top.


When you take your dog off of your property, you must have it muzzled and it must be securely leashed on a chain no more than three (3) feet long, with at least 300 pounds of tensile strength.

If you do not comply:

  • If it is believed that a vicious dog is being kept in violation of Cleveland Heights law, the City will petition the court to seize and impound the dog. 
  • Those who violate this section are guilty of a second degree misdemeanor (subject to 90 days in jail and $750 in fines). A subsequent violation will be a first degree misdemeanor (subject to six (6) months in jail and $1,000.00 in fines). 
  • Any vicious dog which attacks a human being or another domestic animal may be ordered destroyed if the court feels the dog represents a continuing threat. 
  • Section 505.091 (Vicious Dogs) of the Codified Ordinances of the City of Cleveland Heights will be strictly enforced. Strict criminal liability is contemplated. 

Bicycles & Skateboards

The City requires licenses and registration for all bicycles operated within the city. Cyclists can buy their permits at the Treasury Window on the entry level of City Hall. They need to supply the color, make and model/serial number of the bike. The registration fee may be waived by the City if, at the time of registration, the applicant offers a satisfactory proof of ownership of a bicycle helmet and signs a pledge agreeing to wear the helmet at all times when riding the registered bike. Bikers should, of course, follow traffic safety rules. Bicycles and skateboards should not be ridden on sidewalks in areas that have posted signs prohibiting it. Skateboarders and rollerbladers can use the Skate Park in Cain Park. 


Parents and guardians shoulder the responsibility for enforcing curfew violations. All persons charged with curfew violations will be referred to Juvenile Court.

  • Children under 12 cannot be out on public streets, highways, sidewalks, public parks or public grounds from the onset of darkness until 6 a.m. 
  • Young people 12 or older, but under 16 years of age, cannot be out on public streets, highways, sidewalks, public parks or public grounds from 10:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. 
  • No one 16 years of age or older, but under 18 years of age, can be out between 12 midnight and 6 a.m. 

Exceptions to these rules are when:

  • children and teens are accompanied by parents, guardians, or members of the family who are 18 years or older; 
  • they are on errands or other legitimate business under the parents' direction; or 
  • they are engaged in gainful and lawful employment during curfew hours. 

In addition, no unsupervised persons under the age of 18 may be on public streets in the Coventry business district, the Cedar Lee business district and Severance Town Center between the hours of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Door-to-Door Solicitation

Those who sell door-to-door must first apply in person for a license from the City Manager's Office. Persons who volunteer to solicit on behalf of and for any public, religious, educational, civic or charitable organization are exempt from obtaining a license. No person, whether licensed or not, shall engage in any profit or nonprofit solicitation before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m., or on Sundays or any legal holiday. Peddlers or solicitors are prohibited from knocking at the door or ringing the doorbell when a sign is posted at the home's entrance which reads 'No Peddlers or Solicitors Allowed'.

Estate Sales

A permit is required for estate sales or liquidation of household property conducted by a liquidator. The permit may be obtained from Community Relations, upper level of City Hall. For more information, contact Community Relations at 216-291-2323 or email.

For a complete list of Codified Ordinances, click here.