FAQ - Animal Control

Animal Control

What does Animal Services consider an emergency?

Animal Services officers prioritize calls that involve an immediate threat to humans, or for injured animals as follows: --Dogs and cats actively attacking humans. --Domestic animals are sick or injured and in immediate need of assistance. --Animals that are left unattended in vehicles during hot weather over 75 degrees. --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. Many times, calling 911 or the police non-emergency line at 503-629-0111 for situations that require immediate response can get assistance to the scene more quickly. Our officers do not have the ability to respond with lights and sirens, and must obey all traffic laws and speed limits in their travels.

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Can Animal Services help me with a problem skunk, raccoon or other wild animal?

Animal Services is not authorized to assist citizens with wild animals. Please review the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife page on living with Oregon wildlife or call them at 503-947-6000. They also have a list of Wildlife Control Operators, which are businesses/individuals who are permitted by ODFW to deal with certain nuisance wild animals for a fee.

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

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

It is unlawful under Code 6.04.230 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 may then be charged.

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

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 any County Ordinances, Animal Services may cite the owner. A dog found to have committed dangerous behavior may require restrictions for the owner to keep it on its property.

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Can Animal Services take my own cat/dog to the Animal Shelter?

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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Can I remain anonymous when I call in a complaint?

The information provided to Animal Services becomes a public record and is not confidential. We are unable to take or act on anonymous information.

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Can I trap animals?

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.

How do you become an Animal Control Officer?

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.

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? 

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

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

Please read the Audubon Society of Portland guide on what to do if you find a baby bird and call their wildlife care center hotline at 503-292-0304 for additional assistance and information. The wildlife care center can also give you advice on injured wildlife, but they are unable to accept non-native, exotic or domestic animals for treatment.

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I have a problem with wild animals getting into my garbage, what should I do?

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 should be a last resort alternative. For information visit the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife page on living with Oregon wildlife or call them at 503-947-6000. They also have a list of Wildlife Control Operators, which are businesses/individuals who are permitted by ODFW to deal with certain nuisance wild animals for a fee.

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

Animal Services’ citations and infractions are adjudicated through the Justice Court at 3700 SW Murray Boulevard, Suite #150, Beaverton, Oregon 97005.

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

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

Providing false information to an Animal Services Employee is a violation of County Code that can result in a fine of up to $1,000. 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.

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

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 has specific rules pertaining to the trapping and transport of wildlife. Please review the information on their Wildlife Control Operators page and contact them at 503-947-6000 with additional questions.

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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?

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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My dog likes to ride in the back of my truck. What are the laws regarding him riding back there?

According to ORS 811.200, it is illegal for a person to carry a dog upon the hood, fender, running board or other external part of any automobile or truck, unless the dog is protected by framework, carrier, or other device sufficient to keep it falling from the vehicle.

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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?

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.

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

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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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?

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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There is a dog running in my livestock yard/barn. What can I do?

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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What can I do about a barking dog in my neighborhood?

It is a violation under Code 6.04.260 for any person to be the owner or keeper of a dog that is committing a Continuous Annoyance, which means any repeated barking, whining, screeching, howling, or other sounds caused by a dog or dogs which can be heard beyond the boundary of the dog's property. A dog allowed to be a Continuous Annoyance for a total of five (5) or more minutes out of any fifteen (15) minute period can result in a maximum fine of up to $500 per occurrence. 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 and may issue citations if the Continuous Annoyance is not abated.

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

Dogs and cats without licenses, tags, or microchips are held 3 business days. Licensed, tagged, or chipped dogs are held 7 business 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.

What is the limit of pets is Washington County?

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.

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

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

Why was an Animal Services vehicle at my house? 

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.