Animals

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Does my dog or cat need a license?
Any dog four months of age or older that has been in or established residency in the city for more than fifteen days must be licensed with the City of Westminster.  Dogs that are visiting for less than fifteen days must not be licensed, however, must be wearing a current license tag from the city in which it resides.

Cats do not need to be licensed. 
Does the City have any dog parks?
The City of Westminster does not have off-leash dog parks.  Dogs are allowed in all of our parks as long as the dog is kept on a leash no more than six (6) feet in length and in the hands of a person capable of controlling the dog.  Always remember to pick up after your dog.
How do I adopt a pet?
The Westminster Adoption Group & Services (WAGS) has pets available for adoption.  You can also visit their facility or website at http://www.wagspetadoption.org/  to see what pets are currently available.  Please keep in mind that you must meet certain criteria to be able to adopt a pet.  Please call WAGS at (714) 887-6156 to get more information.
How do I apply for an animal maintenance permit?
If you wish to maintain more than the legal limit of pets allowed, you must apply for an animal maintenance permit.  You may request an application in person only at the Police Department front counter.  The non-refundable permit processing fee must be paid at the time of application.  It takes approximately 30-60 days to complete the process.  At the discretion of Senior Animal Control Officer, the permit may or may not be granted.
How do I complain about barking dogs or other noisy animals?
If a neighbor's pet is bothering you due to noise, it’s preferable that you first try to contact the neighbor personally to see if the problem can be resolved prior to filing a formal complaint with Animal Control.  If you have already contacted the neighbor and the problem has not been resolved, contact Animal Control to file a complaint.  If you are complaining about a barking dog, you must fill out a Barking Dog Information Report to formally file your complaint.  The Barking Dog Information Report can be mailed to you upon request or you may come to the Westminster Police Department front counter to request one. 
How do I get a license for my dog?
You may request a license application by telephone or you can download an application on our website.  The license application must be submitted with a copy of the pet's rabies vaccination certificate valid through the whole license year.  You may also include a copy of the pet’s spay or neuter certificate to receive a discounted license.  Dogs that are not spayed or neutered must pay the regular license fee.  You may bring the license application with the required certificates to the Police Department front counter, City Hall front counter, or you may submit it by mail.  Currently, you cannot license your pet online. 
How do I give my dog or cat away for adoption?
Animal Control currently does not offer an owner relinquishment program.  If you need to surrender your pet, you may do so by transporting the pet yourself to the Westminster Animal Care Center.   Please contact them at (714) 887-6156 for further information and the fee schedule for pet relinquishment.

Please keep in mind that adoption is not guaranteed.  Many health and behavior factors are taken into consideration before a pet is deemed adoptable.
How do I have a deceased animal removed?
Contact Animal Control at (714) 548-3201 to have a deceased stray animal removed from your property.  Request for disposal of owned deceased animals is provided, however, a disposal fee is charged. Contact Animal Control for information on this type of service.
How do I report a stray dog or cat?
Contact Animal Control at (714) 548-3201. If no one is available to answer your call, you may leave a message and an Animal Control Officer will follow up.  Messages are checked several times a day.  If your call is urgent, such as the stray animal causing a traffic hazard or is aggressive, please contact Police Dispatch at (714) 548-3212.

There are no leash laws pertaining to cats.  If you are reporting a stray cat that is able to be handled safely and would like it to be picked up, contact Animal Control.  The cat must be confined in a transportable container such as a sturdy box or carrier.

How do I report an abused or neglected pet?
Contact Animal Control at (714) 548-3201 to report the incident.  You will be asked to provide the exact location of the pet and a description.  If the matter is urgent and requires an immediate response by an Animal Control Officer, contact Police Dispatch at (714) 548-3212. 
How do I volunteer to work with animals?
The Westminster Animal Care Center and Westminster Adoption Group & Services (WAGS) has a volunteer program.  Please contact them at (714) 887-6156 for more information.
What are the leash laws?
All dogs must be on a leash no longer than six (6) feet in length, and in the hands of a person capable of controlling the dog whenever on public property. 

Dogs and other animals cannot be on any private property without the consent of the property owner.
What are the limitations on the maximum number of pets permissible?
The City of Westminster allows up to three dogs over the age of 4 months or three cats over the age of 4 months or any combination thereof.  Any more than that would require the pet owner to apply for an animal maintenance permit.  If you have, or maintain, more than the number of pets allowed without a permit, you are in violation of Westminster Municipal Code 6.12.020 and may be subject to citation.
What can be done about stray feral cats?
Feral cats are wild and most of time cannot be handled safely.  Cats will not be picked up unless properly confined.  Animal Control provides traps for rent to Westminster residents on a first come first serve basis.  Please call Animal Control prior to coming to the Police Department front counter to make sure a trap is available.  Valid identification and a deposit are required for the issuance of a trap.
What can I do about nuisance wildlife coming onto my property?
Animal Control does not respond to calls regarding wildlife unless it is deceased, injured, or orphaned.  If you are reporting injured wildlife, it must be confined placing a box or other such item like a laundry basket over it.  If it is able to be handled safely, you may place it inside a transportable container such as a sturdy box or carrier.  Once the animal is properly confined, call Animal Control at (714) 548-3201 for pick up.

Residents are able to trap wildlife in humane traps and relocate it themselves.  Animal Control will not relocate healthy wildlife that has been trapped.  If you are uncomfortable or uneasy trapping wildlife, you may contact a licensed private animal trapping and removal service found in your local yellow pages.

If you are reporting mallard ducks, please keep in mind that they are federally protected birds and in most cases cannot be removed.  Animal Control is restricted by the California Department of Fish and Game to remove healthy wildlife from private or public property.  If you have questions about wildlife removal, contact the California Department of Fish and Game at (858) 467-4201.

What do I do if I have a problem with rats and/or other pests?
You may contact Orange County Vector Control at (714) 971-2421 for rat problems.  You may also visit their website www.ocvcd.org for more information.  Any other type of pest removal, such as gophers and mice, is the responsibility of the property owner.  The property owner may contact a private pest control company for these issues.  Other types of wildlife may be protected by state or federal law.  Contact Animal Control at (714) 548-3201 to discuss your individual situation.
What do I do if I have a sick or injured pet?
It is the pet owner's responsibility to obtain veterinary care for the sick or injured pet.  There are many local veterinary offices that can care for your sick or injured pet.  If your pet becomes sick or is injured after hours or on a weekend, search online or look in the yellow pages for 24 hour emergency veterinary facilities. 
What do I do if I have been bitten by an animal?
If you have been bitten by an animal and there is a skin break, Animal Control may have to quarantine the animal or have it tested for rabies.  Dogs and cats are routinely subject to quarantine if they have caused a skin break with their teeth to a human.  Dog owners having knowledge that their dog or cat has bitten another person are required to report the incident to Animal Control immediately.

Not all animals are subject to quarantine.  Animal Control does not routinely examine low risk animals such as rabbits, rodents, hamsters, or guinea pigs.  To report an animal bite, contact Animal Control at (714) 548-3201.

What do I do if I have lost my pet?
Contact Animal Control if your pet is missing.  We will create a lost pet report with the pet description and owner information in case the pet is found at a later date.

If you are missing a pet,  please make a strong effort to personally check the Westminster Animal Care Center and any other shelters nearby.

What do I do if there is a dangerous animal on my property such as a snake?
Contact Animal Control at (714) 548-3201 to have the animal removed.  If no one is available to answer your call, you may contact Police Dispatch at (714) 548-3212.  Try to keep the dangerous animal under observation until the Animal Control Officer arrives, but do not approach it. 
What information do you provide about rabies?
Rabies is a viral disease affecting most warm-blooded animals.  Orange County is declared a rabies area by the State of California because cases of rabies are still found in bats.  Even though only two or three bats test positive for rabies each year in Orange County, it is confirmed that rabies is still present in the county.  Strict quarantine procedures will apply to an animal subject to quarantine.  It has been many years since a dog has been confirmed to be infected with rabies in Orange County, however, due to rabies being present in the county means we must look seriously at any animal bite to determine if quarantine is necessary.  Please call Animal Control if you have any concerns.
Where can I get my pet spayed or neutered?
Most veterinary hospitals offer spay and neuter services.  Search online or check your local yellow pages for veterinary hospitals that offer low cost spay and neuter services.
Where is the animal shelter?
Westminster Animal Control contracts shelter services.  They are located at:

                Westminster Animal Care Center
                6621 Westminster Boulevard
                Westminster, CA 92683
                (714) 887-6156

You may contact them to view or inquire about animals that have been impounded or that are available for adoption and their hours.
Who do I contact about bees?
There is no public agency that will remove bees from private property.  If the bee hive is on private property, the property owner is responsible for contacting a private pest control company or a private bee keeping service for the removal of the hive.

If the bee hive is on public property, you may contact the City of Westminster Corporation Yard at (714) 895-2876.  They will contact the appropriate service to eliminate the hive. 

If bees are actively swarming and attacking humans please call 9-1-1. 

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