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Animal Control/Law Enforcement

The Humane Society of Washington County is the only animal welfare agency in the county that is responsible for maintaining and enforcing humane treatment of animals in Washington County. The Field Services Department, comprised of a supervisor, three officers, and a dispatcher, are responsible for investigating and trying, if necessary, allegations of animal cruelty. Situations of hoarding, neglect, abuse, abandonment or violence are handled through this department.

Due to the agency’s contract with the Washington County government, we are able to work closely with law enforcement to ensure that justice is served for all animals in Washington County. If you fear that an act of animal cruelty may be occurring, please call us at 301-733-2060 and ask to speak to our Field Services Department. They will be able to determine the best course of action to address any allegations brought to our shelter.

Field Services/Animal Control FAQ

Who do I call if I find an injured animal? 

Injured animals should be reported to our Field Services Office. The office is staffed from 8am – 5pm Monday through Friday and can be reached through ext. 203. The number to call after business hours is our answering service at 301-790-7577.

Who do I call if I see an animal that is being abused? 

Reports should be made to the Field Services Department 301-733-2060 x203. Please be able to provide as many details as possible.

What can I do about all the stray cats in my neighborhood? 

Most likely, the stray cats are not stray and are being taken care of by one or multiple persons in the community. It is not recommended they be brought to the shelter. However, if the cat is sick, ill or injured please call our Field Services Department at 301-733-2060 x203 Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm. If after hours, call the emergency number at 301-790-7577. If you would like information on deterrents, please visit the Alley Cat Allies website.

My neighbor’s dog barks all night-what can I do? 

Call our Field Services Department at 301-733-2060 x203. Officers will respond during regular business hours.

How old does a dog or cat need to be before it gets fixed and gets a rabies vaccination? 

We recommend spaying/neutering at the earliest age possible. We regularly alter adopted animals at eight (8) weeks of age. Dogs, cats and ferrets are required by law to have a rabies vaccination at four months of age. The first rabies vaccination is for one year. All subsequent vaccinations can be one year or three year shots, with the exception of ferrets which need one every year.

Do I need to get a license for my dog in addition to the rabies shot? 

Yes, a dog license is different than proof of rabies vaccination. You obtain a Washington County dog license at the HSWC or your veterinarian’s offices and other locations. Proof of current rabies vaccination is required for a license. Revenue collected from the sale of dog licenses funds our spay/neuter SNAP program.

Who do I call if I find a lost dog after regular business hours? 

If you find a lost dog after regular business hours, please hold onto the dog until our facility opens the next business day. Please complete the online “Lost & Found” report. You can call our offices during regular working hours and report the found dog. You may also request an officer to pick up the dog. If an officer is available, they will schedule a pick up during regular business hours.

Who do I call if I get bitten by an animal? 

If you are bitten by an animal contact your family physician and seek medical attention if needed. The medical provider should complete a rabies exposure report and forward it onto the appropriate agencies. If no medical attention is required, contact the HSWC during regular business hours or either the Washington County Sherriff’s or Hagerstown Police Department if after hours.

How many dogs may I have before I need a kennel license? 

Residents of Washington County may own five (5) dogs before they are required to obtain a kennel license. Owning six (6) or more dogs requires a kennel license.

Where do I get a kennel license? 

Applications for a kennel license are only available from the Humane Society of Washington County.

What should I do if I have a wildlife concern?

There are several options. You may call the Department of Natural Resources at 1-877-463-6497 or visit their website. Other alternatives for humane wildlife solutions are located at http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/wild_neighbors/. Finally, you may also seek information about wildlife conflict resolution and prevention through Humane Wildlife Services at 1-866-948-6263 or http://www.humanewildlifeservices.com/.

What constitutes an emergency during holidays and after hours?

Holidays & After Hours Emergency Number: (301) 790-7577

During holidays and after hours, Field Services will respond to the following:

1. Sick or injured domestic animals
2. Sick or injured wild animals that have come in contact with domestic animals or people
3. Public safety threats (i.e. a stray dog that has bitten and is still loose in the area, a dog that is chasing people or fighting with other dogs)
4. Animals without shelter in extreme weather
5. Animals that are cruelly beaten
6. Animals without water/proper shelter in extreme conditions
7. Loose livestock on the highway posing a traffic hazard, after the request from law enforcement
8. Assist law enforcement (dogs running at large are not included unless they are in their possession)
9. Animals confined in vehicles in extreme conditions