Animal Control Services


Animal Control Officers get involved in a wide array of encounters between animals and humans, whether it’s a report of stray dogs, raccoons roaming around in living rooms, or possums poking into trashcans. ACOs are trained law enforcement officers responsible for enforcing county ordinances and state laws that pertain to animals and their treatment. The primary function of a Fairfax County Police Department Animal Control Officer is to help protect county residents while dealing with pets and animals as humanely as possible.

Animal Control Officer duties include:

  • Enforcement of county codes and state laws that pertain to domestic, as well as wild animals
  • Investigation of animal cruelty complaints
  • Investigation of dog attacks or bites to humans and animals
  • Response to emergencies involving sick or seriously injured domestic animals, including potential human exposure to the rabies virus
  • Removal of stray dogs from streets and other public areas
  • Response to reports of dog attacks on livestock

Animal Control Section hours of service:

  • Seven days a week
  • 6 a.m.- 12:30 a.m. call 703-691-2131 to report an incident

What to report and how to make a report:

Call the Fairfax County Police non-emergency dispatch number at 703-691-2131 to report:

  • Dog bites
  • Animal cruelty or neglect
  • Sick or injured wildlife
  • Human exposure/encounters with potentially rabid wildlife

Fairfax County Animal Control Officers will respond to the following wildlife encounters/emergencies:

  • In a home or business that poses a threat to humans or pets
  • Between humans or domestic animals that could result in rabies exposures
  • When wildlife shows signs and symptoms of rabies
  • When wildlife poses a threat to humans or pets
  • When wildlife appear sick or injured

Fairfax County Animal Control Officers do NOT respond to the following:

  • calls reporting wildlife nuisances
  • when wildlife poses no real threat to humans or pets
  • Examples:
    • Wild animals living under decks, storage sheds, porches
    • Wild animals living in populated areas
    • Wild animals in attics, basements, garages and sheds
    • Wildlife has damaged gardens, flower beds or shrubs

Dog licenses are mandatory in Fairfax County

A license will ensure quick identification and reunion if your dog becomes lost or missing. 

  • All dogs age 4 months and older must be licensed
  • Licenses are good for one year and expire December 31
  • New licenses must be purchased by January 31
  • Animal Control Officers enforce the dog license code

How to obtain a dog license in Fairfax County:

The fee for a dog license is $10 for dogs. No license fee is charged the owners of service dogs aiding blind, deaf or mobility-impaired residents.  The fee to replace a lost license tag is $1.

To obtain a dog license you must have the following:

  • A copy of dog license application
  • A check payable to County of Fairfax County
  • A current certificate of rabies vaccination

Mail or deliver the required paperwork to:

  • County of Fairfax, Department of Tax Administration, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 223, Fairfax, VA 22035
    • 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Monday - Friday
    • 8 a.m.- 6:30 p.m. Thursday
  • Animal Shelter, 4500 West Ox Road, Fairfax
    • 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday
    • 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday
  • More information:  703-222-8234

Penalties for an un-licensed dog:

  • A class IV misdemeanor
  • Up to $250 fine

Learn more about the rabies virus.

  • Rabies is a deadly disease, to both humans and animals
  • All dogs and cats over four months old must be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed vet
  • In Fairfax, the rabies virus has appeared in raccoons, foxes, skunks, bats, and occasionally dogs, cats and ferrets
  • Minimize contact between pets and wildlife.
  • Report animal bites: 703-691-2131
  • Report animals acting strangely or altercations between wild and domestic animals: 703-691-2131
  • Learn more about this deadly virus at: www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/DEE/Rabies/

Preparing to care for your pets in an emergency:

  • The Fairfax County Animal Services Division encourages pet owners to be prepared.
  • Create a disaster kit for your pets
  • Check out the Virginia Department of Emergency Management suggestions on what to include in your pet disaster preparedness kit:

      www.vaemergency.com/prepare/pets


Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

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