Frequently Asked Questions


Where is Animal Services Located?

On the West Slope of El Dorado County:

El Dorado County Animal Services
6435 Capitol Avenue, Diamond Springs, CA
(530) 621-5795

In South Lake Tahoe:
El Dorado County Animal Services
1120 Shakori Drive, South Lake Tahoe, CA
(530) 573-7925 


What are the hours of operation?  

For a complete list of hours click here


What about Animal Emergencies after hours? [Top]

Call (530) 621-6600 or 911 to report an animal emergency after hours. Animal Services will respond after hours to the following emergency situations:

  • Stray injured animals, other than wildlife. (For injured wildlife, call Sierra Wildlife Rescue at (530) 621-4661 or Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care at (530) 577-2273.)
  • Loose livestock.
  • Stray dogs in the act of being aggressive or biting, or that have already bitten someone.
  • Stray dogs in the act of attacking livestock

How long does it take for an Animal Services officer to respond to my call?[Top]

Officers respond as quickly as possible, but response times can be affected by:

  • How many officers are available to respond
  • What other higher priority calls need to be serviced first and
  • Current location of officer.

El Dorado County Animal Services has a very limited number of officers available each day to respond to calls in the County. Calls with highest priority involve an immediate danger of injury or harm by an animal to a human or another animal.  Reports of stray animals that are not posing an immediate danger may not be responded to immediately due to other priorities. 

What if a dog or other animal bites me? [Top]

All animal bites must be reported. Seek medical attention and then call Animal Services at (530) 621-5795 or (530) 573-7925 as soon as possible to report the bite.  By law, animal bites must be investigated for everyone’s protection.  Bite investigation does not automatically mean the animal is impounded, however, rabies vaccination and license will be verified. Additional actions may be required. 

What if my dog bites someone? [Top]

The incident must be reported to Animal Services.  An investigation will be conducted.  Depending on the situation (the severity of the bite, the behavior of the dog and whether the dog has a history of aggressive behavior) the investigating officer may require the dog to be quarantined or take additional action steps. Your cooperation in the process is greatly appreciated and helps everything go much smoother.  

What about dogs roaming loose in my neighborhood? [Top]

El Dorado County ordinance requires dog owners to keep their dogs confined to their property in an enclosed area or on a leash at all times.  If a loose dog is acting strange, is aggressive or has bitten someone, call Animal Services, or after hours, call the Sheriff’s Dispatch at (530) 621-6600.  If a dog is loose in your neighborhood, contact Animal Services and every attempt will be made to send an officer to the scene. If the officer witnesses the dog roaming, the dog will be impounded or the owner will get a citation.  If the dog has returned to the residence before the officer arrives, the dog can't be impounded, but a warning notice will be posted at the residence.

I found an injured deer, what do I do?[Top]

Contact Animal Services at (530) 621-5795 on the west slope of El Dorado County, or at (530) 573-7925 in South Lake Tahoe.

A dead animal is on the road, what should I do? [Top]

Requests to pick up dead animals on roadways in El Dorado County are handled by different agencies, depending on the type of road and situation. If a dead animal is creating a traffic hazard call 911.

  • On Highways (such as Highway 50, 49, or 193) - Call the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) at (916) 859-7810.
  • For County maintained roads - Call El Dorado County Department of Transportation at (530) 642-4909.
  • On City maintained roads - Call Animal Services at (530) 621-5795 on the west slope of El Dorado County or (530) 573-7925 in South Lake Tahoe. El Dorado Hills residents may call (916) 358-3555, ext 5795.
  • Dead animals on private property and private roads are the responsibility of the property owner.  If requested, and resources are available, Animal Services may be able to assist with pick up of the dead animal for a fee. 

How many dogs and cats can someone legally own in El Dorado County? [Top]

In El Dorado County, 4 dogs and 4 cats are allowed per parcel. Dogs must be licensed with El Dorado County Animal Services. Cats are not required to be licensed in El Dorado County.  People with 5 or more dogs must obtain a commercial or noncommercial animal permit. Commercial permits are issued to people who want to sell dogs. Noncommercial permits are for people who want more than 4 dogs but do not plan to sell them.  Individuals with 5 or more cats must obtain a cattery license.  The first step in getting a commercial or noncommercial animal permit, or a license for a cattery, is to contact El Dorado County Planning Services for a special use permit at (530) 621-5355.

Can anyone have livestock on their property in El Dorado County? [Top]

The property must be zoned as agricultural and have at least one acre of land for livestock to legally be on the property. Check with Planning Services at (530) 621-5355 to see if your property is zoned as agricultural.

How do I get a dog license or replace a lost dog tag? [Top]

Click here for more information.

Why do I have to vaccinate and license my dog?[Top]

California law requires all dogs to be vaccinated against rabies and licensed. Vaccination prevents the spread of rabies, a serious disease that is usually fatal. Rabies is endemic (which means always present) in some wild animals in El Dorado County and requires constant vigilance. Animals that typically carry rabies (such as skunks & bats) can get into yards and homes, and could bite and infect your dog. Your dog could then bite you or others and infect them. The cost of a rabies vaccination is a small price to pay for your protection. Licensing is required to help identify your dog. If your dog strays from home, he/she may get picked up by Animal Services or by the public. A dog with a license attached to its collar can sometimes be returned to the owner the same day it is found! Additionally the license helps identify an animal that is injured and needs veterinary treatment.

How much do adoptions cost at your shelter?[Top]

Fees to adopt animals from the Animal Services shelters include vaccination, behavior and medical assessment, spay/neuter, licensing, and microchip. We do our best to keep the fees as low as possible. See a list of our fees.

Can I bring my pet to you for adoption at your shelter? [Top]

The El Dorado County Animal shelter is primarily a holding and adoption facility for stray pets, and for pets that are confiscated due to animal neglect or abuse. The shelter generally does not accept owned animals for the purpose of adoption. However, if there is a family crisis that requires the pet to be immediately relinquished, the shelter may accept the pet if there is space available. Under this circumstance, the shelter staff will discuss the pet's temperament and medical history with you and will make the pet available for adoption only if it is determined that it is a healthy, adoptable animal. Unfortunately, there is a chance that it may ultimately have to be euthanized if it does not get adopted and the shelter runs out of room for other incoming animals.

We always recommend that you find a new home for your pet rather than relinquish it to a shelter. As soon as you determine that you need to find a new home for your pet, you should notify friends, family members, co-workers, your veterinarian and neighbors and they may be able to help you. Shelter staff and local rescue groups can also give you advice on the best way to find your pet a good new home.

Do you have a Foster Care program? [Top]

Yes. We use approved foster parents to care for adoptable pets that: 1) need to be in a more home-like environment, 2) may need medical attention and 3) need to be moved elsewhere due to lack of space at the shelter. If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, see our Foster Care page.

What if I see a skunk during the day that is acting sick? [Top]

Contrary to what many people think, skunks are not nocturnal. They are crepuscular which means they come out mostly at dawn and dusk. However, they may come out any time of the day or night if there is food available. During late summer and early fall, skunks may be seen more frequently during the day as a result of the young exploring their new world. Signs of a sick (rabid) skunk may be lack of fear, aggressiveness, paralysis or partial paralysis (particularly in the back legs) and disorientation. An animal unable to stand as a result of rabies may make walking movements while lying on its side (paddling). If you see these signs, call our office.

How can I trap a feral (wild) cat in my neighborhood? [Top]

We can lend you a humane trap and provide instruction on how to trap the cat. You can then bring the cat to the shelter. Or on the West Slope of El Dorado County, you can call Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode, at (530) 642-2287 and they may be able to help you trap the cat and/or sterilize it.

My Neighbor's Dog Barks Continuously.  What Can I do? [Top]

Noise complaints are one of the most difficult complaints we encounter.  Each case is handled a little differently depending upon the situation. Animal Services appreciates your cooperation and patience in attempting to solve the problem. 

For details about Barking Dogs and Other Noise Programs - Click here   

My dog barks continuously.  What can I do? [Top]

There may be several reasons, but most likely she is lonely or bored; this is especially true if she is left alone for long periods of time. All dogs are "pack animals". They like to be inside the house when their humans are home. Most behavior problems such as barking, digging, chewing and hyperactive behavior are caused from leaving a dog in a backyard by themselves for too long. 

Try increasing the dog’s interaction with the family and her exercise, and also provide her with chew-toys and other things to keep her busy during the day.  Some individuals find that bringing a dog in at night with the family helps keep the dog happier and reduces noise.  If the dog tends to be very active or you worry about her having free access to the house, you can try keeping her in a crate at night (preferably in a room with you) and then letting her out first thing in the morning when you feed her.  Learn more about why dogs bark and how to prevent it.

What should I do if I know an animal is being abused or neglected? [Top]

Contact Animal Services immediately.  El Dorado County Animal Services takes all cases of suspected animal abuse or neglect seriously. Although anonymous tips are helpful, signed written statements from witnesses are most helpful. Animal Services must comply with all pertinent legal procedures when investigating complaints.  Cooperation of concerned individuals is always needed. 

Look for these signs to determine animal abuse or neglect:

  • General conditions where the animals are kept - Do the animals have inadequate shelter?  Do they lack food and water?
  • Do any of the animals appear sickly or extremely thin?
  • Do the environmental conditions seem unhealthy for the animals? Are animals standing in or living with large amounts of feces? 
  • If it is a breeding facility, are the mother and father dogs available for viewing at the facility; are they healthy?
  • Be suspicious if a breeder insists on meeting you somewhere other than where the animals are kept. 
  • Any intentional animal fighting (such as cock fighting) is illegal and should be immediately reported to Animal Services.

Why does Animal Services sometimes seize animals from private property? [Top]

Animal seizures are actually a last resort, and generally involve severe cases of animal neglect or abuse.  Our officers are required to follow all legal processes, including obtaining search warrants to go onto private property, except in emergency (exigent) situations. We often take veterinarians with us to assess the health of the animals. Animals are removed and provided with medical care, shelter, and sometimes special diets to get them back to good health. If, during the investigation, it is determined that the animals can be returned to the owner, fees are paid to reimburse the county for the animals’ rehabilitation and shelter. If the animals are not returned to the owners, due to the investigation showing the situation is not suitable or the owners give up custody or do not pay necessary fees, the animals are evaluated and adopted out to loving homes.

Animal abuse or neglect cases often involve possible criminal charges, therefore we cannot discuss or release any information to the public during an active investigation.