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Animal Care and Control


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The Washington Humane Society (WHS) Animal Care and Control Field Services Division is responsible for providing Animal Control Services for the District of Columbia.  Animal Care and Control includes Officers, Investigators, Dispatchers, a Wildlife Specialist, and a Director. These dedicated individuals serve the over 601,723 residents and 1.9 million visitors each year. Animal Care and Control responds to over a 1,000 calls for assistance each month that can vary from a dog running loose to a sick or injured animal. 

For animal emergencies, call DC Animal Care and Control (available 24/7) - 202-576-6664.

Officers and Responsibilities
Animal Care and Control In Action
Stories from the Field
Contact DC Animal Care and Control (Available 24/7)

Officers and Responsibilities


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Each Officer receives intense training in animal health care emergencies, proper restraint of animals, chemical immobilization of animals and the safe humane capture of animals. These dedicated Officers are the heart of Animal Care and Control.

Investigators are responsible for investigating all animal bites that occur within the District. Investigators will respond to investigate the circumstances of the case and issue the appropriate DC Department of Health notices and quarantine procedures. These notifications may include not having proper vaccinations, no dog license, or when owners allow their dog to run at large. Investigators will conduct field interviews with both the victim and owners of the biting dog. In addition the Investigator will conduct what is called a health check of the animal involved in the bite, and depending on the circumstances, will quarantine the animal for 10 days either with the animal’s owner at home or will quarantine the animal at the shelter depending on the circumstances. At the end of the ten days, the Investigator will return to the owner’s home – in some circumstances the owner will come to the facility – to perform a second health check of the animal involved in the bite case. Other duties include conducting dangerous dog investigations, hobby permit issuance, and DC Department of Health prohibited animal permit inspections.

The Animal Care and Control Dispatchers are the silent heroes of Animal Care and Control. Each day they field numerous calls. After receiving calls they must determine the appropriate response and dispatch it appropriately. They serve as the eyes and ears for our units out in the field while maintaining excellent customer services skills.

Animal Care and Control In Action


A majority of our calls do involve catching lost animals, running at large dogs or stray or abandoned animals. The Officer’s, however, do not simply catch dogs and bring them to the shelter. The Officer will attempt to reunite the animal with their owner.

  • First, The Officer will look for a DC dog license or rabies tag.
  • If they don’t have one on them, they will use a scanner to see if the animal has a micro-chip.
  • When all else fails, the Officer will call the Animal Care and Control Dispatch and provide a description and location of the animal.
  • The dispatcher will then take that information and look in the database to see if the animal matches a lost animal reported by an owner.

Watch Officers in Action on the WHS YouTube Channel


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Our nation’s capital is a very diverse place in the country and that includes the animals we help each day.  A typical day may include responding to a sick or injured dog or cat, but did you know we also respond to requests for sick or injured wildlife such as raptors, deer, and foxes?  Many people relate to animal control as the “dog catchers,” but it is not uncommon for us to respond to help duck, geese, or rounding up a litter of orphaned baby raccoons. Wildlife in the District is commonly overlooked. Our Officers respond to resident requests when these animals are either trapped, sick or injured. They also respond when wildlife such as opossums, raccoons, squirrels, bats and birds become trapped in a residence house or apartment.  

The Wildlife Specialist provides community outreach through education and wildlife conflict resolution. When residents call to complain about any wildlife that may be on their property our Wildlife Specialist will offer solutions beyond simply capturing and relocating our resident wildlife.

For more urban wildlife tips and information, check out

CatNiPP Community Cats Program
Animal Care and Control is proud to be part of the WHS CatNiPP program. For tips and information on the WHS CatNiPP program, check out

Stories from the Field Reports on the WHS blog!




Contact DC Animal Care and Control (Available 24/7)

District of Columbia Animal Care and Control Facility
(Operated for the District of Columbia Department of Health by the Washington Humane Society)

1201 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002