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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.

When does an animal become available for adoption?

When a stray animal is brought into the shelter, the animal is held 3 business days for a possible owner to reclaim the animal. After 3 business days, the animal will be evaluated on his/her behavior. If the animal passes the behavior evaluation, then the animal will be made available for adoption. The animal will stay at the shelter as long as the animal displays good behavior and health.

Where can I get my pet spayed or neutered? How about vaccinations?

Check the Yellow Pages under "Veterinarian" or "Veterinary" for a location nearest you. In addition, the shelter has a list of low-cost spay/neuter and low-cost vaccination resources around the Sacramento area:

Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Flyer Acrobat icon

Low-Cost Vaccination Flyer Acrobat icon

Low-Cost Services Flyer Acrobat icon

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 City of Sacramento Animal Care Services responds to calls within the city limits and accepts animals only from residents who reside within the city limits. 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?

According to Section 9.44.340 of the Sacramento City Code, poultry and livestock are NOT allowed in the city limits of Sacramento.

However, effective on November 1, 2011, residents within the city limits of Sacramento may now 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 City of Sacramento Animal Care Services 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. Call Monday through Friday, between 7:30 am and 8:30 am, for an appointment to set up a trap. The trapper will charge a $25 fee for the trap set-up, and the first animal trapped is picked up at no additional cost. Any subsequent animals are $12.50 each. Please call to confirm pricing.

    Animals will be exterminated, not relocated. If you have an animal in a private trap, it is important to mention that if you leave a voicemail. The trapper does check voicemail throughout the day.

  • Contact private wildlife companies, such as Creature Catchers (530-885-7378) and Critter Control (800-700-8715). Animals will be exterminated, not relocated.

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.

Also, New American Poultry Company will accept live chickens, slaughter them, and dress them for $2.50 per bird under 5 pounds. You can contact this company at (916) 441-1466.

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 mail your application to the shelter or you can go in-person to the shelter's Main Office (Wednesday - Friday from 12:00 pm - 5:30 pm and Saturday - Sunday from 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm) or to the shelter's Reception Center (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 City of Sacramento Animal Care Services offers a rabies vaccination clinic on the first Wednesday of each month from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Operated in conjunction with a mobile clinic called VIP, this clinic offers the rabies vaccination for $5.

You may also obtain a rabies vaccination from VIP (800-427-7973) or Yolano Veterinary Services (916-487-3596), who are both mobile clinics that offer all types of vaccinations at various locations on the weekend. Please call for times and locations.

The Sacramento SPCA offers vaccinations at their on-site clinic every Monday (excluding holidays) from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The shelter is located at 6201 Florin-Perkins Road, with a cross-street of Goethe Road.

What can I do if my pet is missing?

We recommend checking all three of the animal shelters in Sacramento: the City of Sacramento Animal Care Services, the County of Sacramento Animal Care and Regulation, and the Sacramento SPCA. We also recommend distributing flyers in your neighborhood, placing a lost-animal ad in the newspaper, and checking any local veterinarian offices.

How do I know if a deceased dog or cat was possibly picked up by animal control or brought in by a citation?

We do NOT picture deceased animals on the website nor is there a list of deceased animals posted on the website. In order to view a list of deceased animals, you will need to come into the shelter and view the Daily Intake Log, which shows all stray animals (alive and deceased) that came into the shelter on a daily basis.

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, a 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. With that number, the shelter can call the appropriate microchip company, who can will check their computer database for the 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 locator.

Any shelter or vet can microchip your pet. Our shelter charges $5 per microchip, which includes microchip registration with the manufacturer, FOUND ANIMALS, who maintains a nationwide database of all the registered microchips that they sell. 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 the data base at any time, free of charge, regardless of the chip manufacturer:

Also, any dog or cat that is adopted through our shelter will receive a microchip prior to leaving the shelter. Any lost pet returned to the owner will be offered a free microchip.

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"