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What does it cost to get and take care of a pet?

According to the most recent study by the American Pet Products Association, total U.S. pet expenditures in 2015 were $60.28 billion. 

That same report found that 65% of the 79.7 million households in the U.S. have at least one pet, meaning the average home spends $756.33 per year, or $63.03 monthly, on pet-related purchases.

For the complete article, please read The Ultimate Guide To Saving Money On Pet Care

NOTE: This article is simply a resource guide and is NOT affiliated with the Front Street Animal Shelter.

What should I do to keep my home and yard safe for my pet?

Home is a place where every life should be safe and protected from potential threats. When family members can't take steps to protect themselves, it is up to those who can to ensure their safety. For many, pets are considered a part of the family, and as with infants or small children, they must be protected from things that can harm them. The best way to do that is to pet-proof the home.

For the complete article, please read Pet-Proofing - Keeping Your Home & Yard Safe for Dogs or Cats

NOTE: This article is simply a resource guide and is NOT affiliated with the Front Street Animal Shelter.


How many dogs and cats are allowed per household?

Each household within the city limits of Sacramento is allowed to have no more than 3 dogs and 7 cats. A dog is counted towards that limit if the dog is over the age of 4 months, while a cat is counted towards that limit if the cat is over the age of 2 months (see Sacramento City Code 9.44.370).

In addition, it is permissible for a resident within the city limits of Sacramento to own a potbelly pig. A potbelly pig cannot be more than 22 inches high at the shoulder or weigh more than 150 pounds. Also, any male potbelly pig over the age of 4 months must be neutered (see Sacramento City Code 9.44.320). The number of potbelly pigs allowed is no more than 3, however, this limit is connected to the limit of dogs. In other words, a resident is not allowed more than a combination of 3 dogs and potbelly pigs.

How do I know if I live in the city limits or the county limits of Sacramento?

Sacramento is divided into two parts, the city limits and the county limits. The easiest way to distinguish whether you are in the city or county limits is to view your street sign attached to the pole, street lights, traffic light, or any other structure on the corner of the street. If it is green colored, then you are in the city limits. If it is white colored, then you are in the county limits.

If you are serviced by the Sacramento Police Department, then you are in the city limits. If you are serviced by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, then you are in the county limits.

Animal control service is based on jurisdiction. The Front Street Animal Shelter responds to calls within the city limits and accepts animals only from residents who reside within the city limits of Sacramento. The Sacramento County Animal Care and Regulation responds to call from residents within the county limits. However, you may adopt from any Sacramento shelter regardless of your residence.

Where are the off-leash dog parks in Sacramento?

Check out the list of off-leash dog parks in the City of Sacramento as well as the dog park rules.

What can an owner do about a barking dog?

You can use an anti-barking training device, such as a static-shock collar and a citronella-spray collar. They can be purchased at most local pet stores.

You may consult with a local animal behaviorist, who can be referred to you by your veterinarian, the Sacramento Dog Training Club at (916) 482-5194, or the Sacramento Council of Dog Clubs at (916) 483-3602.

For additional information, check out the shelter's Barking Complaints & Solutions section.

What can a neighbor do about a barking dog?

If at all possible, we recommend speaking to the dog owner first before contacting animal control. You may also want to speak to your neighbors and see if it they have the same problem as you do. We advise you to keep a written log so that you can document the times and the duration of the barking, the contact you may have with the owner or with animal control, etc.

For additional information, check out the shelter's comprehensive Barking Complaints & Solutions section.

What can be done about stray cats coming onto my property?

Within the city limits of Sacramento, cats are recognized as free-roaming animals, regardless of whether they are owned, stray, friendly or feral. Unlike dogs, cats may roam freely throughout the city, are not required to be on a leash, and do not need to be confined onto the owner's property.

To prevent stray cats from overrunning your property, from being a nuisance, and from constantly breeding, you may pick them up and confine them in an enclosure (such as a cardboard cat carrier, a sturdy box with a lid and holes for ventilation, or a cat crate/carrier) if they are friendly.

However, if they are aggressive or timid, we highly recommend trapping them in a humane manner. The City of Sacramento Animal Care Services does not offer the service of trapping cats nor renting or selling traps. You may rent or purchase a humane cat trap at a local feed store, such as Western Feed (1600 34th Street, Sacramento CA 95816. 916-452-4741).

Also, the City of Sacramento Animal Care Services does NOT offer pick-up service for stray cats that have been contained or trapped. You may surrender a stray cat at the shelter's Reception Center. This building is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is located about 100 feet north of the shelter's Main Building.

Am I allowed to tether my dog in the backyard?

Effective January 1, 2007, California law prohibits tethering, chaining, fastening, or restraining of dogs to any stationary object. Violations can be punished by a fine up to $1000 and/or 6 months in jail.

Chained or tethered dogs can injure or strangle themselves to death when their chains or tethers become entangled with other objects, or their collars become embedded in their necks. Also, chained or tethered dogs can become aggressive due to intense confinement, lack of socialization, and the inability to escape from perceived threats, and are more likely to bite or attack someone who approaches.

However, an owner is permitted to attach a dog to a running line, pulley, or trolley system (use of a choke collar or pinch collar is prohibited). An owner may also tether a dog pursuant to requirements of a camping or recreational area or tether a dog no longer than is necessary to complete a temporary task that requires the dog to be restrained for a reasonable period (i.e. cannot exceed 3 hours in a 24-hour period).

Is poultry or livestock allowed within the city limits of Sacramento?

Effective November 1, 2011, residents within the city limits of Sacramento may own a maximum of three (3) chickens per residential parcel. For more info, please read the requirements for keeping chickens.

Does animal control trap or relocate wildlife?

Effective January 1, 2010, the Front Street Animal Shelter no longer responds to calls of trapped healthy wildlife. Specifically, we do not trap nor relocate healthy wildlife. Because relocation violates federal law and the only other option is extermination, we cannot in good conscience exterminate healthy, viable animals.

The city of Sacramento is situated around two major rivers that produce an abundant population of wildlife, whereby residents must learn to cohabitate with in order to preserve the natural conditions and habitats of this region.

A citizen seeking alternatives may try one of the following options:

  • Contact the County Wildlife Trapper at 916-875-6603.

  • Contact private wildlife companies, such as Creature Catchers (530-885-7378) and Critter Control (800-700-8715).

The Humane Society of the United States offers humane solutions to resolving wildlife conflicts. Check out their informative guide Acrobat icon.

What can an owner do with unwanted roosters?

You can check out the website of the following organizations and contact them for more info:

In addition, if you happen to be interested in adopting a chicken, you may contact the above organizations.


Am I required to purchase a dog or cat license?

Yes, a pet owner is required to purchase a City of Sacramento license for a dog or a cat that is 4 months of age or older. According to city code 9.44.490(A), a license authorizes a person to own, harbor, and keep a dog or cat within the city limits of Sacramento.

What do I need in order to purchase a dog or cat license?

In order to license your pet, a dog or cat must be at least 4 months old and must have a current rabies vaccination. If your dog or cat is spayed or neutered, then you will need to provide proof from a veterinarian in order to receive a discount on the license fee. If your dog or cat is spayed or neutered AND you are a Senior Citizen who is 62 years or older, there is an additional discount on the license fee. For more information, please see our Licensing page.

How can I apply for a dog or cat license?

You can license your pet online, by mail, or in-person. To license online, please see our Licensing page.

The shelter is located at 2127 Front Street (with a cross-street of Broadway). The shelter's Main Building is open on Wednesday - Friday from 12:00 pm - 5:30 pm and Saturday - Sunday from 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm, while the Reception Center  is open on Wednesday - Sunday from 9:00 - 5:00 pm. If you are licensing your pet for the first time, you will receive your pet's license tag by mail or in-person. If you are renewing an existing license, you will simply re-use the original tag. If you have lost your pet's tag, we can issue a replacement tag for $5.

Where can I get a rabies vaccination for my pet?

The Front Street Animal Shelter offers a rabies vaccination clinic on the first Wednesday of each month from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The clinic is operated by a mobile clinic called VIP Petcare and is held in front of the shelter.

For more info about local vaccination clinics and programs, please see our Vaccinations page.

Are there any programs that help low-income residents with the cost of a license?

You are eligible to receive a 1-year complimentary license if (1) you are a resident within the city limits of Sacramento, (2) your pet is spayed or neutered, and (3) you participate in one of the following programs:

  • Lifeline (AT&T)
  • PG&E and SMUD Assistance Programs
  • City Utility Rate Assistance Program

Proof of program participation is required. You must apply in person or by mail.


How does a microchip work? Where can I microchip my pet?

A microchip is inserted into the scruff of the animal's neck. When an animal comes into a shelter, an animal care technician scans the animal's body with a portable, hand-held scanner. If an animal has a microchip, an identification number will register on the scanner. The technician will call the appropriate microchip company and provide the microchip number to the company, who can check their computer database for the registered owner's name, address, and phone number(s). Afterwards, the shelter will attempt to make contact with the owner. Please note that a microchip is NOT a GPS device or tracking device.

Any shelter or vet can microchip your pet. Our shelter charges $5 per microchip, which includes microchip registration with the Found Animals, who maintains a nationwide database of microchips. Microchip registration and updates are free for the life of your pet. If you already have a pet that is chipped, you may add it to your existing Found Animals account at any time, free of charge, regardless of the microchip brand.

Also, a microchip is included with any dog or cat adoption, and a microchip is offered free-of-charge to pet owners who reclaim their lost pet at our shelter. The more pets we chip, the fewer end up in shelters, lost and alone.

What microchip companies are out there and how can I identify a particular microchip?
  • 24PetWatch - 866-597-2424 - contains 10 digits and begins with "0A"
  • AVID - 800-336-2843 - contains 9 digits with numerals only
  • Banfield - 800-838-6738 - contains 10 digits and begins with "0D"
  • Home Again - 866-738-4324 - contains 10 digits with numerals and/or letter(s)
  • ResQ/PetLink - 877-738-5465 - contains 15 digits and begins with "98102"


What is rabies?

Rabies is a very serious disease that affects the brain and spinal cord of mammals (if an animal has hair or fur, it is a mammal). Cats, dogs, raccoons, coyotes and foxes are mammals, as are people. Rabies is caused by a virus and almost always causes death. It is usually a disease of animals, but it can spread from an infected animal to a person.

For more info, please read our Rabies page.