Animal Facts

What is Animal Control?

What is Animal Control?

Local authorities, usually acting through an animal control organization, are responsible for upholding laws related to animal care and control. This includes laws regarding feeding pets, spaying/neutering pets and caring for outdoor cats.

Learn more about your local animal control agency by reaching out to the city government or exploring our “Guide to Local Government.”

Animal Control Laws Differ in Every Area

Laws that apply to Trap-Neuter Return and outdoor cats differ across each state and city. To protect yourself and your pet, it’s important to know the regulations in your area.

Our informative document “How to Locate Laws Relating to Cats” provides helpful advice.

Be mindful when interpreting the meaning of “owner” in your local laws. Some rules can be so broad, they could potentially include caregivers for community cats who, unfortunately, are not part of that group. Recently, some states have explicitly excluded caretakers from being considered “owner” to prevent confusion.

What can you do now to be proactive and secure your property?

  • Post “No Trespassing” signs in both public and private areas.
  • Make sure your attorney’s contact information and name are stored safely in a wallet.
  • Maintain all veterinary medical record dossiers, such as vaccinations, spay/neuter
  • certificates and more. Store them in an easily accessible place for quick retrieval.

Follow the guidelines for caregivers and select a quiet location for shelters and feeding stations. Doing so reduces the likelihood that someone might call animal control first in the first place.

If possible, microchipping the community cats you TNR with is a great idea; it serves as permanent proof that the cat belongs in your veterinarian’s records and could help save their life.

When Animal Control Arrives at Your Door

Be polite but firm when speaking with an animal-control rep. These scenarios can guide your interactions, though keep in mind that more often than not it’s less. Any remarks made during an encounter could reveal something damaging about your case or prompt authorities to conduct a comprehensive investigation.