Sacramento County Code: Title 8 ​Animals 
"Animal Control", "Animal Control Division", "Department of Animal Care", or "Department of Animal Care and Regulation" means the Department of Animal Care and Regulation which is established as the regulatory agency for rabies and control of animals in the County.

"Animal Control Center" or "Animal Shelter" means the facilities provided by the County for the impoundment, relinquishment, quarantine and adoption or sale of animals.

The Department of Animal Care and Regulation enforces the state and County laws regarding animals existing within the County. The director and officers have the authority to enforce County ordinances including impounding animals, issuing citations for violations and issuing quarantines of animals. You can often see our officers in the field responding to calls and working with community members to improve the quality of life for both the animals and the residents of Sacramento County.

Animal Bites:

If vaccinations and licensing are current, the dog may be quarantined at the owner's home, depending on circumstances such as:   

  • Appropriateness and availability of confinement area  
  • Cooperation of the owner 
  • Relationship to the owner (such as family member) 
  • Severity of the bite 
  • Address or location of the bite occurrence.

If the bite occurred on the owner's property, and the owner is related, the dog may be impounded if the situation warrants it. Every effort is made to work these details out to everyone's satisfaction and safety - but public safety must be a priority.

If the vaccinations are not current, the dog will most likely be impounded by Animal Care staff. Animal Care will quarantine the dog for 10 days from the date of the bite, as required by law.     For information about vaccinations or the rabies virus contact the Department of Health and Human Services 24-hour hotline at 916-875-5881. You may also visit the Center for Disease Control website at

Note - If the owner is not reached immediately, it may be several days before Animal Care is able to obtain information on the status of the animal's vaccination history. Bite victims should call the hotline or get medical advice from their doctor as soon as possible, especially if the dog is a stray since the dog may not be located to quarantine.

Owned dogs that bite are not euthanized unless the owner signs a euthanasia request or fails to pick up the animal after quarantine. Owners are required to pay for the quarantine period which is $12 per day. Owners can pick up their dog after the quarantine period as long as the dog is not deemed vicious by the Department. Dogs without known owners are euthanized once they are determined to be biters and if circumstances warrant it.   

Dogs on Leash:

Dogs must be kept on an <8’ leash or restrained at all times when off the owner’s property, unless the dog is: an on-duty canine law enforcement officer; enrolled and participating in an training/obedience course with permission; trained to assist owner with livestock herding; accompanying owner while hunting on land in a lawfully designated area.


If an animal has been abandoned or is being kept in an unsafe or unsatisfactory condition, a notice to impound the animal within two (2) business days is posted at the location by the officer. This two day period is required by law. However, the responding officer has the authority to impound an animal based on the circumstances of a case to protect both the public and the welfare of the animal. Animals may be impounded for any of the following reasons provided in Section 8 of the County code:

  • The animal is behaving or maintained in a manner that is hazardous, or may be a nuisance or danger to the public
  • The animal is not being maintained or properly cared for, or has been abandoned by the owner
  • The animal is required to be quarantined  
  • If the impounded animal has a current Sacramento County license, the officers will contact the owner and the animal will be impounded for seven (7) calendar days. Within these seven days, the animal may be redeemed after fees have been paid.
  • If the impounded animal does not have a current license, the animal will be impounded for three (3) calendar days. If the animal is redeemed within this period, fees, including licensing fees​​ and other associated fees must be paid.

To Redeem Your Animal:

You must take the following steps to ensure that the redemption of your animal is done correctly and in a timely fashion:

  • Obtain your animal control number - Visit the ACR's lost pet site to get your animal control number
  • Get rabies vaccination history - The Shelter cannot release a dog until the history is verified. You can get your information from your vet and fax to (916) 875-5519.
  • Get license status - The dog cannot be release unless the licensing information is up-to-date. Find out about licensing.

Feral Animals:​

Are required to be held a minimum of three (3) days if brought into the shelter. Our officers do not trap stray or feral cats.

Vicious Animal Hearings:

If anyone encounters a dangerous or vicious animal, they can file a vicious animal affidavit stating the name and address of the victim, a description of the injuries, witnesses, the time and date of the incident and owner information within thirty (30) days of the incident. Once the affidavit is filed:

  • The shelter initiates an investigation of the incident within seven (7) days of filing
  • Within fourteen (14) days, the shelter will serve or mail a notice of the time and date of a vicious animal hearing and copy of the original affidavit to the owner of the animal
  • If the animal is found to be vicious under the law, the owner must pay a special registration fee, in addition to other fees and the animal must be implanted with a special microchip which identifies the animal as vicious. The animal must also be kept properly licensed and vaccinated
  • If the animal is deemed to be a significant threat to the public safety and health, the shelter has the authority too ensure that the animal is destroyed.

To learn more about the procedural provisions of animal hearings, please visit Chapter 8.36 of the Animal Code.

Permits for Kennels, Catteries and Wild Animals Facilities:​

No person may maintain a kennel, cattery or wild animal facility within the County without an annual permit. Exceptions are listed in the County Code. The shelter has the authority to conduct an investigation of applicant's background and the physical condition of the premises if necessary and the shelter has the authority to deny or revoke a permit if the conditions are not met.