Richmond VA > Animal Care and Control > Animal Control

Last Updated: 2013-05-08

With Pets


Richmond Animal Control enforcement division is responsible for protecting the health and safety of the citizens and their pets in the City of Richmond

Animal Care Officers provide a variety of services to the citizens in both the City of Richmond including:

  • Answering calls concerning suspected abuse or cruelty to animals
  • Injured/Dangerous animals
  • Livestock issues
  • Barking dog, nuisance cats and other animals that present a problem to the community

Cruelty to Animals:

Cruelty to animals is a serious offense. Cruelty comes in many forms such as an animal not having food, water or shelter to an animal being locked in a hot car or an animal being beaten or tortured in some way. Animal Care Services rely on good neighbors to report these acts of cruelty. If you witness an act of cruelty, please call 311 and make a detailed report including your call back number so we may get more information if needed. You can remain anonymous if you wish, but it's important you provide 311 representatives with as much information as possible. An Animal Cruelty Investigator will move forward with a case if cruelty or neglect can be legally proved. Call 1-877-TIP-HSUS to report dog fighting--callers to the animal fighting tip line could receive a $5,000 reward.

Responsible Pet Ownership

The City of Richmond and Richmond Animal Care & Control enforce laws regarding the humane treatment of companion animals and laws pertaining to the protection and well being of citizens and pets. A few of the key regulations are listed below:

Spay/neuter your pets! Sec. 10-288. Breeding Permit

City or Richmond residents owning cats and dogs are required to have their pets spayed or neutered by the time the pets reach four months of age. Only a breeder who has purchased a breeder’s permit may be excluded from enforcement of this law. The cost of a breeder’s permit is $100.00 and is available for purchase at Richmond Animal Care & Control. Low Cost Clinics: Richmond SPCA (Richmond) /804- 804-521-1330; Jessica Beath Spay/Neuter Clinic (Hanover) / 804-752-7729; Richmond Animal League (Chesterfield) / 804-379-9725; and Prevent a Litter (Richmond City) / 804-359-6369.

Keep your pet healthy! Sec. 10-172. Vaccinations

Cats and dogs four months of age and older must be vaccinated against rabies. Your pet’s rabies tag should be attached to your pet’s collar. RACC will be hosting rabies clinic throughout the city and/or the clinics listed above can provide low cost options.

Ensure your pet’s safe return! Sec. 10-146. Pet license

City of Richmond residents must purchase an annual license for each pet they own. The cost is $10.00; licenses may be purchased online by clicking this link to download the application, or visit Richmond Animal Care & Control. The license tag should be attached to your pet’s collar. If your pet goes missing and is found by an individual or is brought to an animal shelter, the license information registered with the City of Richmond will help reunite you and your pet. We strongly recommend that you have your pet micro-chipped. In the event that your pet goes missing and loses its collar, your contact information will be intact for scanners used at vets and animal shelters.

Sec. 10-86. Animal Excreta or Waste

City residents are required to clean up waste from both cats and dogs in all public places and private property. When not disposed of, pet waste seeps into rivers and contaminates our drinking water.

Shhh your dog! Sec. 10-173. Be a good neighbor

Pet owners must control the behavior of cats and dogs so as not to become a public nuisance. Pet owners will be held accountable for a pet’s excessive barking and the damaging public or private property.

Leash your dog!

The free roaming of dogs is prohibited. All dogs must be confined to one’s home and walked on a leash when off property.

Love me like family! Sec. 10-92 Cruelty to animals

A person shall be guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor for inhumane treatment if a pet is deprived of food, water, adequate shelter or veterinary care. No animal may be chained, and dogs may not be tethered for more than one hour during a 24-hour period. Rescue Of Chained K-9's (ROCK) can provide free fencing to help secure your dog if you are unable to keep your dog inside your home.

A person shall be guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor for participating in the following activities:

  • The fighting of dogs, cocks or any animals, and/or betting or wagering of money or anything of value based on the outcome of a fight. State Code: 3.2-6571
  • Abandonment of any animal on public or private property. State Code: 3.2 6504
  • A person shall be guilty of a class 6 felony for promoting or engaging in the fighting of dogs for amusement, sport or gain or the wagering of money or anything of value. State Code 3.2-6571

Animal Bites:

Please contact the Health Department in the city in which the bite takes place. They will offer guidance on quarantine periods and next steps to ensure your safety and the safety of the animal. City of Richmond Health Department 804-205-3912.

How to contact Enforcement:

Dial 804-646-5573 to report all animal related concerns. A call for service will be started and your request will be dispatched to the appropriate division.

Please dial 911 for any animal related emergency after hours and an officer will be dispatched.

Contact Information:

Animal Care & Control
City of Richmond
1600 Chamberlayne Ave.
Richmond, VA
23222 USA
Map It
Phone: (804)646-5573
For an Animal Control Officer on weekends or for after-hour emergencies: (804)646-5123
Adoption Phone Number: (804)646-5575
Fax: (804)646-5586


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