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Animal Care and Control

Humane Rescue Alliance

Serving our Community 24/7


The Animal Care and Control Field Services Division is responsible for providing animal control services for the District of Columbia. Animal Care and Control includes officers, investigators, dispatchers, a wildlife specialist, and a director. These dedicated individuals serve more than 600,000 DC residents and 1.9 million visitors each year, responding to more than 1,000 calls for assistance each month that can vary from a dog running loose to a sick or injured wild animal. 

For animal emergencies, call DC Animal Care and Control (available 24/7) at 202-576-6664.


Officers and Responsibilities

Each officer receives intensive training in animal health-care emergencies, proper restraint of animals, chemical immobilization of animals, and the safe, humane capture of animals. These dedicated officers are the heart of Animal Care and Control.


Investigating Animal Bites

Investigators are responsible for investigating all animal bites that occur within the District. Investigators will respond to investigate the circumstances of the case and issue the appropriate DC Department of Health notices and quarantine procedures. These notifications may be issued for failure to have the animal properly vaccinated, failure to have a dog license, or for allowing a dog to run at large. Investigators will conduct field interviews with both the victim and owners of the animal. They also will conduct what is called a health check of the animal involved in the bite and, depending on the circumstances, will quarantine the animal for 10 days either with the animal’s owner at home or at the shelter. At the end of the 10 days, investigators will return to the owner’s home (in some circumstances the owner will come to the facility) to perform a second health check of the animal involved in the bite case.

Other duties include conducting dangerous dog investigations, hobby permit issuance, and DC Department of Health prohibited animal permit inspections.


The Silent Heros of Animal Care & Control: Dispatch

Each day our dispatchers field numerous calls for help and support. They serve as the eyes and ears for our units out in the field while maintaining excellent customer services skills.


Animal Care and Control in Action

A majority of our calls involve catching lost animals, dogs running at large, or stray or abandoned animals. The officers, however, do not simply catch dogs and bring them to the shelter. Rather, they will attempt to reunite the animal with their owner.

  • First, they will check the animal for a DC dog license or rabies tag.
  • If the animal doesn’t have one, officers will use a scanner to see if the animal has a microchip.
  • When all else fails, officers will call the Animal Care and Control Dispatch and provide a description and location of the animal.
  • The dispatcher will then take that information and look in the database to see if the animal matches a lost animal reported by an owner.

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