Animal Control Services

The Salem Animal Shelter has the privilege of sharing our facility with the Animal Control officers that serve our community. They are sworn officers of the Salem Police Department that have been additionally trained in animal control safety and protection on local, state, and national levels. This division consists of an Animal Control Police Supervisor, and 4  Animal Control Police Officers. Please visit the Animal Control section of the Salem Police Department’s website for more information on the department.

If you have an animal-related emergency, please call 911 or 540-375-3078

Overview of Regulations Concerning Animals in Salem

Please see the City Code for complete Animal Control Regulations for Salem, Virginia. You are also welcome to call Animal Control at 540-375-3078, or Email Animal Control

Animal Licensing Fees:

Effective January 1, 2011 - All dogs and cats (cats as of Jan. 1, 2011) are to be licensed in Salem by January 31 of each year, and you are required to produce a current rabies certificate to obtain the license. Licenses can be obtained at the City of Salem Treasurer's Office located at 114 North Broad Street in Salem.

License fees for dogs are as follows

  • Male Dog - $10
  • Female Dog - $10
  • Unsexed Dog - $5 (spayed or neutered)
    • Kennel for 20 dogs or less - $15
    • Kennel for over 20 dogs - $25
    • Must apply and obtain a Kennel license from the Department of Planning and Development

Special Note: If you have a dog that has been deemed dangerous by any General District Court or Circuit Court of the State, you must pay an additional $50 over and above the regular license fee.

License fees for cats are as follows

  • Male Cat - $10
  • Female Cat - $10
  • Unsexed Cat (spayed or neutered) - $5

Parks and School Facilities

Dogs, cats, and other animals are not allowed in city parks or school facilities. There is a public dog park located next to the animal shelter on Indiana Street where all dogs that are current on their rabies shots are welcome to play and socialize with their owners. Learn more on the Salem Rotary Dog Park webpage.


The boundary line of each lot of tract of land is the lawful fence for any horse, mule, cattle, hog, sheep, or goat. It is unlawful for the owner or manager of any such animal to permit it to run at large beyond the boundaries where the animal is confined. Any person violating this law is subject to a fine of up to $250. All dogs must not be allowed to run at large even if they have their rabies vaccination and city tags. Cats do not have to be kept under restraint; however, pet owners are responsible for their pet's actions.

Stray Dogs 

A stray dog is one that is not known to you and that you know does not belong in your neighborhood. Call the Salem Police Department to report the dog; don't wait until it chases you or your children or bites one of them.


All dogs and cats four months of age or older are required to be vaccinated against rabies by a veterinarian licensed by the state.

Zoning Regulations  

Ownership of more than three cats and more than three dogs per family is prohibited in any residential district.

Bites from Animals 

Every year people in the City of Salem are bitten by animals and most are children. In most cases, medical treatment is required. In all cases, the possibility of rabies transmission is seriously considered. All animal bites of human beings must be reported to the Salem Police Department Animal Control at 540-375-3078 immediately.

Cruelty to Animals

The Code of Virginia prohibits cruelty to animals and provides that anyone violating this section shall be guilty of a felony or Class I Misdemeanor. Don't hesitate to report any violation--the animal deserves your help!

Dead Animals

The owner of any animal or grown fowl that has died from disease should properly cremate or bury the animal forthwith. If an animal is unclaimed by the owner (as in the case of pets hit by cars), these dead animals are the responsibility of the Salem Streets and General Maintenance Department. Call 540-375-3039 to report such an animal, giving a location for pickup and proper disposal.

Female Dogs in Season

Every female dog in season must be properly confined. 


If your dog does not have a collar or license, it will be held for five days starting with the day after impoundment. If it has not been claimed at the end of the holding period, the animal may be placed up for adoption or humanely euthanized at the discretion of the City. Dogs with collars or licenses will be held for an additional five days. Every effort is made to return the animal to its home.

Area Animal Control Agencies

Contact local agencies.