Baltimore City
Health Department

Animal Control Program


The Animal Control Program's mission is to enforce city and state codes, rules, and regulations and to investigate animal neglect and cruelty cases for the purpose of protecting the health and safety of Baltimore’s human and animal residents.

The Bureau operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It receives an average of 85 calls a day and approximately 31,000 complaints annually.

Animal Control receives the majority of its complaints and cases through the city’s 311 system. Below are the categories for animal-related calls:

  1. Aggressive Animal
  2. Animal in Danger
  3. Animal Attack
  4. Trapped In Vacant Building
  5. Stray Held
  6. Healthy Unwanted
  7. Unsanitary Conditions
  8. Trap Request

To report or file an animal-related complaint or concern, please call 311 or access the Customer Service Request System online.

Animals picked up by Animal Control are turned over to the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, Inc. (BARCS) to find their owners or find new owners if deemed adoptable.

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)

In February 2009, BCHD implemented the Trap-Neuter-Return Program. Regulations defining the responsibilities of feral cat caregivers and the Animal Control Program were promulgated during this time also. Click here for the trap-neuter-return regulations.

At this time, Community Cats of MD, Inc. is the main organization operating Baltimore City’s TNR Program. Please contact this organization directly if you wish to participate and become a caregiver.

How to Apply for a Pet License

Step 1: Have your pet(s) vaccinated for rabies, and keep the rabies vaccination certificate.

Step 2: Apply online, in person, or by mail” and that link should then go directly to:

Multi-pet Permit No Longer Required

Pet owners with three or more dogs and cats are no longer required to obtain a Multi-pet Permit (Private Kennel License) in Baltimore City.

The provision was repealed in December 2012 because it was recognized that there are many households in Baltimore that can care for three or more animals, particularly indoor cats, without incident and that people were not purchasing  pet licenses to avoid drawing attention to the need for a kennel license.

All cats and dogs over age six months must still be licensed.  Pet licensing is extremely important as a means of confirming that pets have been inoculated against rabies.  Rabies inoculation is necessary, even for pets that remain indoors, because bats frequently gain entry to homes and are then pursued by pets, making bites likely.  Licensing helps reunite lost animals with their owners, and provides critically needed revenue to support open admission shelters, such as BARCS.


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