FAQ - Animal Control

Animal Control

Q.
Can Animal Services pick up a dead animal on the roadside?

A. Animal Services responds to requests to pick-up dead dogs and cats only.

If the dead animal is a deer or elk, then please call Washington County Land Use & Transportation, Operations division to request a pick-up.

If the dead animal is livestock (cow, horse, sheep) and in the road, then please call Washington County Land Use & Transportation.

If the dead animal is a wild animal (coyote, opossum, skunk, etc.), then Animal Services will not pick-up the remains.

Please call your local city's public works department for assistance.

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Q.
Can Animal Services pick-up a dog that is running loose in my neighborhood?

A. It is unlawful under Code 6.04.050 for any person to be the owner or keeper of a dog running at-large. Any dog found running at large may be impounded and brought to the shelter. Redemption fees and fines will then be charged.

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Q.
Can Animal Services remove an aggressive dog from an irresponsible owner?

A. A dog is considered property, and Animal Services cannot remove someone’s property without official cause or a judge's order. As long as an owner keeps his dog(s) confined to his property and complies with animal ordinances, Animal Services cannot take any action against the owner, such as taking the person’s dog from them.

If the dog is violating the leash laws or other County Ordinances, Animal Services may cite the owner. However, Animal Services officers do not have the authority to remove the animal. To cite the owner, officers must witness violations. Or, a resident who has witnessed a violation must provide our department with a properly prepared statement in order for a formal complaint to be issued. These formal complaints are called civil infractions.
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Q.
Can Animal Services take my own cat/dog to the Animal Shelter?

A. On special cases only, Animal Services may pick-up an owner's pet for a fee. A pick-up fee and disposal fee (if the animal is dead) will be charged. The disposal fee is based on the animal's weight. Usually, this service is performed on a time-available basis, after priority calls. You may also bring the pet to the animal shelter.
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Q.
Can I remain anonymous when I call in a complaint?

A. Animal Services may accept certain complaints and keep the complaint confidential. All others must have complainant information. Animal Services officers will not release your information while they are making contact with the person about whom you are complaining. However, if the person comes to our office and asks, he may obtain a copy of the service request.
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Q.
Can I trap animals?

A. It is legal to trap nuisance dogs and cats that have trespassed onto your property. There are humane traps that do not injure animals that can be rented or purchased at some feed stores and specialty rental outlets. All trapped dogs and cats must be brought into the shelter.

Q.
How do you become an Animal Control Officer?

A. There are many ways one enters this profession. Some people have a law enforcement background. For instance one may have a degree in Criminal Justice, be a former police officer or sheriff's deputy, or have pursued training in the animal control field by taking classes from the National Animal Control Association or something similar.

Some people first get jobs as volunteers at a nonprofit agency or county or city animal shelter. This then leads into opportunities for full time or part time employment. Some start out as animal caretakers although the jobs for an Animal Control Officer and Animal Care Technician are very different. ACO's don't interact with that many animals on a daily basis and in fact are code enforcement officers who mediate neighborhood problems, enforce laws and issue citations resulting in lots of courtroom testimony. ACO's spend most of their time interacting with people not animals. If you are interested in the handling and interacting with the animals an animal care technician job may be preferable.

The training that might interest you to be an animal control officer can be found by looking up the following web sites: Humane Society University, National Animal Control Association, Washington (State) Animal Control Association, the American Humane Association and the University of Missouri's Law Enforcement Training Institute National Cruelty Investigations School.

Q.
I am the manager of a mobile home park (or apartment complex) and we do not allow large breed dogs in our park. We have a tenant who has a big dog. Can Animal Services require the owner to get rid of the big dog? 

A. Animal Services cannot enforce restrictions or contractual agreements with your tenants. Officers can only enforce violations of the Washington County animal ordinances.

Q.
I found a baby (or injured) bird can I bring it to you?

A. Animal Services encourages you to replace all baby birds back into their nest as soon as possible so the parents may continue caring for them. If the bird is injured or cannot be replaced into the nest, contact the Audubon Society in Portland for information.
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Q.
I have a problem with wild animals getting into my garbage, what should I do?

A. Wild animals are scavengers. Keep garbage cans covered with the lids locked down.

Do not feed domestic animals outside. Do not store wild bird food outside. Trapping is a last resort alternative. For information call Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at 503-971-6000.

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Q.
I received a citation or infraction. Where do I go to pay or arrange for a hearing?

A. Animal Services’ citations and infractions are adjudicated through the Justice Court at 3700 SW Murray Boulevard, Suite #150, Beaverton, Oregon 97005. If you have received an infraction for lack of a dog license, you may come into the animal shelter office up to at least 15 days before the court date and buy a dog license. If you buy the license within 15 days of the court date, there will be an additional court fee assessed. After paying for the dog license, our staff will have the citation dismissed. Be sure to bring a copy of your citation for the office to use as a reference.

Q.
I saw a raccoon or an opossum in my yard during the day. Does this mean it has rabies?

A. An opossum will hiss to warn you not to come any closer. They naturally look sick so it is difficult to tell by looks alone. Opossums, due to their low body temperature, do not carry the rabies virus as easily as raccoons do and the risk of rabies is very low.

However, a raccoon that appears sick may be suffering from distemper.
Animal Services does not pick up wildlife and has a resource list of outside businesses or agencies that provide this service. You may come to our office to pickup an informational handout on raccoons, beavers and coyotes or see more information on wildlife.

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Q.
I think an animal is being abused or neglected. What can Animal Services do about cruelty and neglect?

A. It is unlawful to commit acts of cruelty and/or neglect to animals. This includes abuse; neglect; abandonment; deprivation of food, drink or adequate and humane shelter; or confinement in a motor vehicle under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of the animal. Animal Services officers investigate cruelty and/or neglect of any domestic animal.

Call Washington County Animal Services office to report any abuse or neglect. The complainant must provide his/her name, address, phone number, cross street, animal owner's name, address, and cross street. The complainant must specify what the problem is, the type of animal allegedly incurring the cruelty, and when the complainant first noticed problem.

Abuse and/or neglect convictions are subject to fines and/or imprisonment.

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Q.
I want my problem taken care of now. So what if I lie and file a false report about its urgency?

A. Lying and filing a false report or urgency could take Animal Services away from a legitimate emergency. This could result in pets, children and adults getting injured. Criminal charges may also be pursued.

Q.
If I get a trap elsewhere and catch something, where do I take the animal?

A. It is your legal obligation to bring all trapped domestic animals (dogs and cats) to the animal shelter in the jurisdiction within which the animal is trapped.

You need a permit to trap wildlife. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has specific rules pertaining to the trapping and transport of wildlife. Please contact them at 503-971-6000.

Q.
My dog has all of its vaccinations and is not mean, but it bit a person. Now my dog must be in quarantine. What does this mean?

A. Animal Services is required by law to do a dog bite investigation, fill out a bite report and observe animals that have bitten a human where the bite broke the skin. In Oregon, when a dog, cat or ferret bites a person, it must be placed in observation for 10 days. During the observation period, the animal must be quarantined from other animals or people who do not live in the home, and can only go outside to use the bathroom. Observation might be required at the animal shelter, a veterinary clinic or your home.
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Q.
My dog likes to ride in the back of my truck. What are the laws regarding him riding back there?

A. If your dog is riding in the back of a pickup truck, it needs to be restrained by a minimum of two tethers fixed to opposite sides of the vehicle. The tethers must attach to a collar or harness that the animal is wearing. The animal can also be confined in a humane manner inside a locked animal carrier mounted in the bed of the truck. The carrier must be mounted so that it will not slide out or fall off of the truck. ORS 811.200 “Carrying dog on external part of a vehicle” is the law regarding dogs loose in/on vehicles.
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Q.
My neighbor has an aggressive pit bull. It is in a fenced area but I am afraid of it. How do I go about getting it removed from the neighborhood?

A. It is NOT against any law in Washington County to own a pit bull or any other type of dog. As long as the owner complies with animal ordinances he/she may own any breed of canine.

Q.
My neighbor’s dog gets out all the time and chases me. What can I do?

A. If you have a continuing problem with a neighbor’s loose dog and chasing you, get to safety and call Animal Services. If the dog is out when one of our officers arrives on the scene, the officer may impound the dog. In addition, the officer may speak with the dog owner/keeper or cite the owner/keeper. The officer will take any action he/she deems necessary when arriving on the scene.
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Q.
My roommate has a dog and I help take care of it when he’s at work. When I let the dog go out he won’t come back when I call. Can I be held responsible for the dog?

A. Yes, as a dog caregiver or keeper you can be held responsible for the activity of the animal and can receive citations. Work with the dog and your roommate to find a way to control the dog.
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Q.
There is a dog running in my livestock yard/barn. What can I do?

A. Animal Services responds to livestock concerns in which a dog is believed to have injured, chased, or killed any livestock. The owner of the livestock that has been damaged by any dog may take action against the owner of the dog. This action is considered a civil matter between the livestock owner and the dog owner. Animal Services will respond to a call when a dog is in the livestock yard/barn.
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Q.
What can I do about a barking dog in my neighborhood?

A. It is a violation under Code 6.04.080 sect. I for any person to be the owner or keeper of a barking dog that disturbs the peace, comfort, health or repose of any person of reasonable sensitivity by making loud, long unnecessary and continuous noises. Barking violations are subject to fines.

Often when two neighbors get together and discuss why the dog is barking, the problem is taken care of without legal process. Making the dog owner aware of the situation usually solves the problem.

Animal Services will dispatch an officer to discuss the problem with the dog owner/keeper. If the problem continues, Washington County residents can file a formal complaint called a civil infraction.
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Q.
What does Animal Services consider an emergency?

A. Situations in which Animal Services officers are to respond immediately involve a threat to humans, a potential threat or menace to humans, or the potential for an animal to be injured as follows:

--Dogs and cats actively attacking humans. Dogs threatening humans

--Domestic animals are sick or injured or where there is evidence that they are being cruelly treated

--Animals that are left unattended in vehicles during hot weather over 75 degrees

--Animals suspected of carrying rabies

--Dogs that have bitten humans. Complaints on cat bites are transferred to Washington County Environmental Health Services.

--Animals running loose in traffic that pose a potential for accident

--Dogs running loose on school grounds during school hours

--Police, Fire, Postal, or Animal Services officers requesting assistance.

Non emergency situations may include dogs running loose, barking dogs, animals that are dead and stray animals that have been restrained by residents.

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Q.
What happens to the animals when you take them from the trap?

A. Unlicensed dogs are held 3 days. Licensed dogs are held 7 days, cats are held 1-2 days. After the holding period is over, the animal is assessed for health, behavior and adoptability so that the pet can be moved into a new permanent home, a placement partner, or foster environment.

Q.
What is the limit of pets is Washington County?

A. The different cities in Washington County have their own number limits. If you live within one of the incorporated cities, please check with their zoning or planning section for their regulations. In the unincorporated parts of Washington County, you may own four or less adult dogs. County Code Compliance Officers should be notified if you feel that your neighbors are out of compliance.

Q.
When I call for service, how long will it take Animal Services to get here?

A. In most cases, Animal Services officers will arrive within two hours.

Q.
Why was an Animal Services vehicle at my house? 

A. If Animal Services had a call at your address the dispatcher can tell you the nature of the call. In many cases, the officer may have received a call to patrol in the neighborhood and simply stopped to complete a patrol report or take a cell phone call. If an officer stops at a residence on a complaint, he will leave a notice hanging on your door. Officers also routinely follow-up on expired dog licenses. If you had a previous dog license the officer may be following up on it.