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What services do animal control provide?

When it comes to protecting animals in your area, many different organizations play different roles. For example, you may live in an area where there is a local Humane Society or SPCA. Animal control is another organization that is responsible for the safety and care of animals in your area. However, it’s not always clear what services they offer in your area. In this article, we’ll look at the different animal control services provided by your municipality.

What is animal control?

Animal control is part of your municipal law enforcement services. In other words, they are part of the local government structure and services. In some areas, they may have their own shelter where they take animals they’ve seized.

Local governments are able to make laws and policies that affect animals in the area, including pets and wild creatures. When these laws are created, it’s up to animal control officers to enforce them. It’s important to know that animal control laws can vary from city to city. If you’re not sure what policies are in place in your current city or town, you can call the city office and find out.

What services does animal control provide?

Animal control officers are responsible for enforcing the laws regarding the care and safety of animals in the area. They offer various services, such as:

Rescuing animals in distress

Animal control is responsible for investigating alleged animal abuse. If a complaint is made, officers will go out and investigate the situation. If they deem it unsafe for the animals, officers will remove the animals from the home. Sometimes the pet owner will also be charged.

Reuniting lost pets and owners

Often, an animal control officer will capture what appears to be a stray animal but turns out to be registered to an owner. Pet owners can have their animals tattooed with an identifying marker so that if they do get lost, they can easily be found. The numbers tattooed on the pet will be registered in a database. When the animal is found, that database can provide contact information for the owner.


Keeping the community safe is the number one priority of animal control and your municipality. One of the services that some animal control units do is organizing vaccination clinics, particularly for rabies. Dogs, cats and pet ferrets are at a higher risk for the disease and should be vaccinated. Clinics run by animal control are often less expensive and more likely to attract pet owners for that reason.

Spay/Neuter programs

Your municipality has an interest in preventing a large number of stray animals from wandering around the area. One of the ways to reduce the number of unwanted animals in the community is through subsided spay or neuter programs. When the cost is lower, more pet owners are likely to get their animals fixed. This, in turn, reduces the number of stray cats and dogs patrolling the neighbourhoods. It is also a cost reduction for animal control officers who are responsible for finding and capturing stray animals. So, it can be seen as an investment into a safer neighbourhood and less time, effort, and money spent on catching strays.

Responding to nuisance complaints

When residents in the municipality have a complaint about animals in their neighbourhood, it’s up to the animal control officers to investigate. These can be complaints about the noise of a pet, such as a dog barking too loud. They can also be about safety concerns, such as a dog attack or potential threat.

Animal control officers have the authority to issue citations or warnings if they find an animal owner is not caring properly for their pet. They can also remove an animal if they find the owner is negligent.

Sometimes animal control officers will give presentations or educational seminars to the community or schools. These will instruct the public on issues like animal welfare or control laws.

Manage animal shelters

When animal control officers capture stray animals, they’ll bring them back to a shelter. This temporary home provides security and healthcare for these animals. Once the animals are deemed to be in good enough condition, they will be adopted out.

Investigate alleged animal attacks

Sometimes animals get out of control and bite or attack someone else. When this happens, animal control officers will be called in to investigate. They’ll need to determine if the animal involved is in good health or if there is an underlying problem that caused the attack. Animal control officers will run tests to see how aggressive the animal is and if it poses a danger to the community. They’ll want to ensure there will be no future incidences. Unfortunately, sometimes these situations end with the animal being put down.

On top of these duties, animal control can also be involved in other tasks, such as:

    • Provide input or information for lawmakers
    • Write reports about incidents or animal control issues
    • Provide testimony in court, particularly if there is an animal attack case going on

Animal control VS wildlife control

Some people are not clear on the difference between animal control and wildlife control.  Your municipal animal control service may or may not help with wildlife problems. Their main concern is domesticated animals. However, if you’re having trouble with wildlife on your property, you’ll need to call a professional wildlife control company.

Wildlife control companies are businesses that have no connection to your local government. Their focus is on removing and reducing problems caused by animals such as raccoons, bats, mice, etc. Some of their services include:

  • Home inspection
  • Animal trapping
  • Home cleanup
  • Removal of dead animal
  • Education
  • Relocation

If you’re dealing with a wildlife control problem, contact Swat Wildlife for a free quote today.


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