Your Pet and the Law

Fairfax County, Virginia

The Department of Animal Control Services handles the following:

  • Uniform enforcement of County and State Laws dealing with domestic and wild animals.
  • Removal of stray dogs and livestock from streets and public areas, eliminating potential health and safety hazards.
  • Investigation of animal cruelty complaints
  • Large Animal/Livestock Services. A small barn is available for temporary housing of large animals
  • Sale of Dog Licenses -- at the Animal Shelter, by mail, and at the County Government Center
  • 24-hour emergency service for injured stray and unwanted animals
  • Provision of temporary housing for all stray and unwanted animals
  • Quarantine services for animals which have bitten humans
  • Radio dispatched vehicles for roving patrols and law enforcement
  • Animal adoptions -- to County residents. An adoption fee is charged and the spaying/neutering cost collected. Non-County residents may adopt a dog or cat 6 months of age or older, providing the dog or cat is/or will be spayed or neutered prior to leaving Fairfax County. The Animal Shelter will assist with the arrangements.
  • Issuance of hunting and shooting permits.

For more information, call, write or visit:

Fairfax County Animal Shelter
4500 West Ox Road
Fairfax, VA 22030
TTY: 703.691.3255

Animal Warden's Office (for animal violations) 703.830.3310
Animal Shelter (lost, found animals) 703.830.1100
County Health Department 703.246.2411
County Police Department 703.691.2131
Dog License Information 703.222.8234

To Redeem Impounded Pets
Visit the Animal Shelter: See website for hours. Stray animals are held for 5 days at the Shelter prior to adoption or euthanasia or 10 days if wearing a collar, tag, or tattoo.

To Adopt Pets
Visit the Animal Shelter: See website for hours.

Alexandria, Virginia

Pet Licenses: Cats and dogs four months or older must have licenses. Details...

Animal Shelter:
4101 Eisenhower Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22304
See website for hours.

Alexandria is one of dog-friendliest cities in America. There is an off-leash dog park within a mile of virtually every residence in the City.

Loudoun, Virginia

Dog Licenses: The Commonwealth of Virginia requires Loudoun County to require all dogs four (4) months of age and older to be licensed. Beginning in 2009, the county will issue dog licenses to run concurrently with the rabies vaccination effective period for each individual dog. Details...

Department of Animal Care & Control:
39820 Charles Town Pike
Waterford, VA 20197
Eastern Loudoun: 703-777-0406
Western Loudoun: 540-882-3211
See website for hours.

State Laws

Any vehicle operator who strikes an animal should report the accident to the Department of Animal Control or the Police Department as soon as possible.

The owner of any animal or fowl which has died is the responsible for having the body cremated or buried. The State Highway Department is responsible for pick-up of dead animals on state right-of-way. Call 703-383-VDOT. Most Animal Shelters will accept small animal carcasses for disposal. In Fairfax County call 703-830-1100.

It is against the law to allow animals to trespass on, destroy or damage another person's property. Animals must not frequently and habitually make loud and objectionable noises or be kept in such a manner as to cause unsanitary conditions. Nuisance noises may be reported to Animal Control, 703-830-3310, or the Police Department, 703-691-2131. A complainant may also request that the owner of the animal abate the noise violation. If the violation continues, that person, along with another complainant, not a member of the same household, may go to a magistrate and swear out a warrant against the animal owner. The complaining parties may appear in General District Court for action against the animal owner.

It is against the law to allow animals to run loose on public property or private property of others. Dogs must be restrained by a dependable leash and controlled by a responsible person when off the property of the owner. Animal Control is authorized to pick up dogs at large. The agency also may pick up other animals that pose a public nuisance or threaten public safety or health.

Citizens shall not keep or permit to be kept any wild, exotic, or vicious animal as those terms are defined in the County Code.

It is against the law to maliciously kill, disfigure, or poison animals. All pets must be humanely treated with proper food, water, shelter, and exercise. It is also against the law to overload, torture, or cruelly beat any animal.

If you have a problem with a sick or injured wild animal, you may call your County Animal Warden (in Fairfax 703-830-3310), or the volunteer Wildlife Rescue League Hotline, 703-440-0800. All other wildlife problems should be referred to a private pest control or exterminator service or the State Game Warden at 540-899-4169.

If your pet or any warm-blooded animal bites any person, you must:

  • Notify the Department of Animal Control or the Police.
  • Confine the animal for ten days for rabies observation. (This may be done at the County Animal Shelter, a licensed veterinary hospital, or at your home, if approved by the Animal Warden investigating the case and you have a valid rabies certificate for your pet. If quarantined at home, the animal must be kept confined in an enclosure where it cannot bite again.)
  • If you are bitten by any animal, it must be immediately reported to the Department of Animal Control or the County Police Department.

Rabies continues to be a statewide problem. Animals most likely to carry rabies are raccoons, skunks, cats, bats, and foxes. Rabies is transmitted through animal bites or other contact with a rabid animal's saliva through a break in the skin. Have your pet inoculated against rabies and keep the immunity up to date. Prevent contact with wildlife by having pets sleep indoors, walking pets on a leash and feeding cats and dogs inside. For more information, call the rabies infoline, 703-324-BITE.

County Animal Wardens are responsible for enforcing state laws and County ordinances dealing with animal control and cruelty to animals and for assisting citizens having problems with wild animals. The primary function of wardens is to help and protect citizens while dealing with animals as humanely as possible. The cooperation and assistance of all citizens, however, is necessary to provide for good human/animal relationships in our communities.