Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC) is responsible for protecting the health and safety of the citizens and their pets in the City of Richmond. Animal Control Officers handle a variety of situations in the City of Richmond including:
- Investigating suspected abuse or cruelty to animals
- Abandoned animals
- Injured or sick animals
- Aggressive animals and animal fighting
- Livestock and poultry issues
- Animal bites
- Various other animal related situations that present a problem to the community
Cruelty to Animals
Cruelty to animals is a serious offense. Cruelty comes in many forms, such as an animal not having food/water/shelter, an animal being locked in a hot car, or an animal being beaten or tortured in some way.
It shall be unlawful for any person to tether a dog for more than one hour cumulatively within any 24-hour period, whether or not the tethered dog has been provided adequate space. Tethering is prohibited:
While the owner/custodian is absent from the property.
- During inclement, adverse, or extreme weather conditions.
Richmond Animal Care & Control relies on good neighbors to report suspected acts of cruelty or abuse. If you witness animal cruelty or abuse, please call 804-646-5573 and make a detailed report, including your call back number so we may get more information if needed. You can remain anonymous if you wish, but it's important you provide as much information as possible. An Animal Control Officer will be assigned to investigate all reported situations of suspected animal abuse or cruelty.
Responsible Pet Ownership
The City of Richmond and Richmond Animal Care & Control enforce laws regarding the humane treatment of companion animals and laws pertaining to the protection and well-being of citizens and pets. A few of the key regulations are listed below:
City of Richmond residents owning cats and dogs are required to have their pets spayed or neutered for pets four months of age or older. Only a breeder who has purchased a breeding permit may be excluded from enforcement of this law. The cost of a breeding permit is $200.00 per pet and is available for purchase at Richmond Animal Care & Control.
- Richmond SPCA (Richmond) / 804-804-521-1330
- Richmond Animal League (Chesterfield) / 804-379-9725
- Prevent a Litter (Richmond) / 804-359-6369
Cats and dogs four months of age and older must be vaccinated against rabies. Your pet’s rabies tag should be attached to your pet’s collar. Rabies vaccinations must be given by a veterinarian and can be done at any animal hospital or clinic. Richmond Animal Care & Control hosts rabies clinic in the city periodically throughout the year.
City of Richmond residents must purchase an annual license for each dog or cat they own that is four months of age or older. The cost is $10.00 for each pet. License information can be found by going to the License/Permit Your Pet link found on the left side of this page. The license tag should be attached to your pet’s collar. If your pet goes missing and is found by an animal control officer, an individual or is brought to an animal shelter, the license information registered with the City of Richmond will help reunite you and your pet.
In addition to licensing, we recommend you have your pet micro-chipped. In the event that your pet goes missing and loses its collar, your contact information will be intact and can be found with the use of microchip scanners used by animal control officers, veterinary clinics, and animal shelters.
City residents are required to clean up waste from both cats and dogs in all public places and private property. When not disposed of properly, pet waste seeps into rivers and contaminates our drinking water.
Pet owners must control the behavior of cats and dogs so as not to become a public nuisance. Pet owners will be held accountable for a pet’s excessive barking and the damaging of public or private property.
The free roaming of dogs is prohibited. All dogs must be kept under restraint or confined in an enclosure. Dogs must be walked on a leash when off the owner’s property. The City of Richmond leash law does not apply to cats.
Please contact the Health Department or Animal Control Department in the city or county in which the bite has occurred. They will offer guidance on quarantine procedures and steps to ensure your safety and the safety of the animal. Animal bites in the City of Richmond should be reported to Richmond Animal Care & Control at 804-646-5573 or the City of Richmond Health Department at 804-205-3912.
The City of Richmond permits the keeping of up to six hens in all residential districts of the city. If you are interested in keeping chickens, please follow the License/Permit Your Pet link on the left side of this page. Roosters are not permitted.
If you are experiencing a problem with nuisance wildlife, please call the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries toll-free wildlife conflict helpline at 1-855-571-9003.
Call 804-646-5573 to report all animal related concerns. A call for service will be started and your request will be dispatched to an animal control officer.
Please dial 911 for any animal related emergency after hours and an officer will be dispatched.
City of Richmond – Animal Related Ordinances: A complete list of the animal related laws in the City of Richmond can be found by clicking on: City Code.
Virginia – Comprehensive Animal Laws: A complete list of the animal related laws in the Commonwealth of Virginia can be found by clicking on: Virginia Code..