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. Police/Fire/Sheriff/City Work Crew Standby
  2. Aggressive Animal
  3. Animal Bite Pickup
  4. Animal in Danger
  5. Animal Attack
  6. Animal at Risk
  7. Trapped In Vacant Building
  8. Stray Held
  9. Unsanitary Conditions

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

If you have fewer than three dogs and cats:

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

Step 2: Fill out the attached dog and/or cat application (one for each animal).

Step 3: Bring the completed application, rabies vaccination certificate, proof of spay/neuter if applicable, and the correct application fee (as indicated on the application) to the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) at 301 Stockholm St., Baltimore, MD 21230.

If you have three or more dogs and cats, you will need a kennel (multi-pet) license:

Step 1: Apply for proper zoning classification.

Step 2: Fill out the regular dog/cat license for each animal. These must be completed before a multi-pet license will be approved.

Step 3: Call the Animal Control Program at 410-396-4698 to schedule an inspection by a health official.

Step 4: Bring rabies vaccination certification for all animals, notice of approval from the health inspector, and the $80 kennel license fee to 301 Stockholm Street, Baltimore, MD 21230. There, you can fill out the license application.