About the Animal Services Division
For more information, contact the Division at 240-773-5960 or 240-773-5925. Recorded information and answers to frequently asked questions about Division services are available 24 hours a day at 240-773-5054.
Until the late 1970's, animal control functions in Montgomery County were handled by the Department of Environmental Protection. It was soon recognized that the citizens and animals of the County would be better served by an agency dedicated solely to animal control and humane issues. On December 31, 1979, the Department of Animal Control and Humane Treatment (DACHT) came into being. At that time, the Department had 17 full-time employees, including eight Animal Control Officers.
The Department was established to investigate complaints about animal cruelty and to protect the public from dangerous and nuisance animals. The Department also provided rabies control, and the licensing and inspection of animal-related business facilities such as pet shops and riding stables. The Department was also given the responsibility to provide safe, humane care for homeless or lost pets at the County animal shelter. The animal shelter had previously been operated by the Montgomery County Humane Society, Inc. under a contract with the County. The new Department continued to contract with the Humane Society for shelter operations.
Shortly after DACHT was established, the rabies epizootic in raccoons that still exists in Montgomery County began. The Department's responsibilities multiplied rapidly as health and animal control officials worked together to control the spread of rabies. As part of the County's rabies control efforts, rabies handling procedures were revised and updated, and both cats and dogs were required to have a current rabies vaccination and County license.
During the 1980's and 1990's, the Department's responsibilities continued to grow. Rabies control continued to be an important function. Calls for service from the public continued to climb as the County population topped the 800,000 mark.
In Fiscal Year 1996, County Executive Douglas Duncan proposed abolishing Animal Control as an independent Department, and moving its functions into a new Division of the Montgomery County Police Department. On February 22, 1996, the County Council approved this proposal, and the Police Department's Animal Services Division came into being.
Currently the Division has 15 full-time employees, including 10 Animal Services Officers.
Facts and numbers
- The Division responds to and investigates over 8,000 complaints annually. These complaints include animals at large, nuisance complaints, cruelty and neglect complaints, noise complaints, unsanitary conditions complaints, animal attacks, aggressive/dangerous animals, etc...
- Care is provided for over 9,000 animals each year at the county animal shelter. This care is provided by the Montgomery County Humane Society as part of its contract with Montgomery County.
- The Division licenses and inspects approximately 150 animal-related businesses annually including commercial kennels, pet shops, riding stables, pet grooming facilities and animal fanciers.
- The Division investigates approximately 1,200 animal bites annually, protecting the public from rabies and dangerous animals. Each year in Montgomery County, approximately 60 animals prove to be positive for rabies after laboratory analysis. Testing and surveillance of rabid animals is coordinated with the state and local Health Departments.
- The Division provides all administrative support for the Animal Matters Hearing Board, which holds approximately 40 hearings annually.
- The Division administers the pet licensing program, via a private contract, which requires all dogs and cats to be licensed. The Division also administers and oversees contracts for the operation of the animal shelter and for deer carcass removal and disposal from county roadways and right-of-ways.
- The Division conducts six annual rabies vaccination clinics.