Animal Services


The mission of the Office of Animal Control is to enforce city and state codes, rules, and regulations and to investigate animal neglect and cruelty cases for the purpose of protecting the health and safety of Baltimore’s human and animal residents.

The Office of Animal Control operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It receives an average of 65 calls a day and approximately 22,000 complaints annually.

Animal Control receives the majority of its complaints and cases through the city’s 311 system. Below are the categories for animal-related calls:

  1. Animal in Danger/Injured/Abused/Neglected
  2. Animal Attack - Against Human
  3. Animal Attack - Against Another Animal
  4. Aggressive Animal
  5. Animal Trapped in Vacant Building
  6. Wildlife (sick, injured, or found inside living space)
  7. Stray Held
  8. Unsanitary conditions
  9. Failure to Restrain
  10. Barking Dog
  11. Wild or Domestic Animal Trap Request
  12. Dead Animal Pick-up (stray or wildlife)

Animal Protection

If you witness an animal being abused or an animal attack in progress, please call 911. If you are concerned about an animal being neglected or suspect abuse, please call 311 or access the Customer Service Request Online.

Animals picked up by Animal Control are turned over to the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, Inc. (BARCS) to find their owners or to find new owners if deemed adoptable.

How to Apply for a Pet License

Step 1: Have your pet(s) vaccinated for rabies, and keep the rabies vaccination certificate.

Step 2: Purchase a pet license tag. 

All cats and dogs over age four months must be licensed.  Pet licensing is extremely important as a means of confirming that pets have been inoculated against Rabies.  Rabies inoculation is necessary, even for pets that remain indoors, because bats frequently gain entry to homes and are then pursued by pets, making bites likely.  Licensing helps reunite lost animals with their owners and provides critically needed revenue to support open admission shelters, such as BARCS.

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)

In February 2009, Baltimore City implemented the Trap-Neuter-Return Program. Regulations defining the responsibilities of feral cat caregivers and the Animal Control Program were promulgated during this time also. Click here for the trap-neuter-return regulations.

BARCS Community Cat Program

This is a Free spay/neuter and rabies vaccination program for outdoor cats in Baltimore City.

Have an outdoor cat colony in your neighborhood? Please call 443-240-8530 or email us

For additional spay/neuter resources.


Regulations Regarding Animals

File(s) available on this page for download requires special software to view. If you do not have that software, you can obtain it from the following source(s):

Portable Document Format (PDF):