Cincinnati Animal CARE Services

How to Report an Animal Complaint

Make an Animal Complaint in Hamilton County, Ohio
Our Animal Services department is on-call 24/7 to provide animal control services to Hamilton County. Please note that we value public education and work within the constraints of Ohio Revised Code to enforce animal-related laws in our county. Thank you for your support! You are our eyes and ears in the community.

In the case of an animal complaint, please:

  1. Call our Animal Services department at 513.541.PETS (7387) or our shelter at 513.541.PETS (7387). If you reach voicemail, please leave detailed information about the complaint you are making, the address or location the complaint is occurring and contact information for you in case we have follow-up questions. We are checking our phones throughout open hours and usually respond to complaints within 48 hours depending on the urgency of the report.
  2. If you continue to have a complaint after our Officers have addressed your complaint, please contact us again to report continued issues.
  3. You may stay anonymous when making a complaint but it is helpful to have your contact information in case we need to ask follow-up questions.

Dog Licensing Hamilton County, Ohio

By law, all dogs in the State of Ohio three months and older must be licensed by January 31st of each year, or within 30 days of bringing a new dog into your family (ORC 955.01). The standard licensing period runs December 1st through January 31st. After that date, the price of a late license doubles.

Licenses are available for purchase at the shelter for $19.75.

Monday12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Thursday12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Friday12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Saturday12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Sunday12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Dog Licensing Hamilton County, Ohio
Besides being required by law, here are a few of the reasons why it’s important to license your pooch:

  • Licensing fees are far less expensive than the fines you can incur without one. Dog owners with unlicensed dogs can face legal citations and fines of $110, in addition to a $125 fee that can be issued if for an unlicensed dog running at large.
  • A license is a dog’s primary identification and provides an easy way to identify and contact the owner if your dog goes missing. Being licensed will drastically improve the chances of your dog being returned to you.
  • Revenue from dog license sales funds the county animal shelter and helps the animals in our care. License fees are needed for everything from food and cleaning supplies to water and electric bills, as well as for dog warden services, shelter staff and veterinary care for the thousands of homeless pets that go through the shelter’s doors every year. In fact, without community support from license fees, there is no way to keep the shelter going.
  • Licenses can also be purchased online through the Hamilton County Auditor’s Office.

Frequently Asked Dog Licensing Questions

Dog License

Why must I purchase a dog license?

By law (ORC 955.01), all dogs in the State of Ohio three months and older must be licensed by January 31st of each year, or within 30 days of bringing a new dog into your family. The standard licensing period runs December 1st through January 31. After that date, the price of a license doubles.

Your purchase of a dog license provides funding and support for Cincinnati Animal CARE’s activities to support the return and re-homing of lost and homeless animals in Hamilton County. A dog license also increases the chances your lost pet makes his or her way back home.

Why must I purchase a dog license? da Administrator

Pet Microchipping Hamilton County, OH

Pet Microchipping Cincinnati, OH
According to the Michelson Foundation, 1 in 3 pets become lost at some point, and 90% of them never return home without an ID. Microchipping is a simple and permanent form of pet identification that reveals your pet’s unique ID number when scanned.

At Cincinnati Animal CARE, we want to give every pet the very best chance of finding its way home. We offer microchipping to community members for a fee of $25, available during our normal business hours. An appointment is not required, but we suggest you call the shelter at 513.541.PETS (7387) in advance, to confirm availability.

With our “Free Ride Home” program, if our Animal Control Officers find your pet and its microchipped, they will return your pet to your home and avoid a trip to the shelter if your animal is microchipped and registered with current information. Please note that if you are not home or the pet is brought to the shelter for scanning by a member of the public, you will need to come pick up your pet.

Care for Community Cats

What is a Community Cat?

A community cat is a free-roaming, unowned cat that lives outside. Community cats may be friendly, or they may be feral. Being “feral” means that a cat is not socialized to people – they cannot be pet or picked up, and usually run if you get too close. Whether feral or friendly, all community cats have some things in common – they call the neighborhood (or community) their home, and are given food, shelter, and protection from members of the community.

Community cats may live in neighborhoods, near business, or anywhere outdoors! Usually, these cats do not want to come inside and do not do well in shelters. Feral cats cannot be adopted, because they are so afraid of humans and are not able to adapt to being a pet.

Community Cat Hunting

A Solution for Outdoor Cats

Just because community cats can’t be adopted, doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to help. Kind hearted people all across the world volunteer time and resources to make sure these cats always have fresh food, water, and shelter.
Community cats are unowned, and don’t “belong” to a single person. Instead, they live in and belong to the community! We believe that when neighbors, property managers, residents, business owners, and coworkers come together to help community cats – awesome things happen!

Cincinnati Animal CARE Humane’s Community Cat Program believes in a happier, healthier world for cats – starting right here in Hamilton County. Together, we can make a huge difference! Trap, Neuter, Return – or TNR – is the only effective and humane solution to the problem for feral cat overpopulation. With TNR, community cats are caught in humane traps, transported to the vet, and spayed or neutered and vaccinated. Once they have recovered from surgery, they are returned to their outdoor home.

TNR helps cats to be happier and healthier – and keeps communities happier and healthier, too! TNR means free-roaming cats are not populating neighborhoods anymore (no more kittens!) and being trapped and taken to the vet means that injuries and illnesses can be treated before the cats are released. Plus, being vaccinated prevents the development and spread of diseases in groups of outdoor cats. Not only are the numbers of cats in an area controlled by preventing litters from being born, but the cats in the area are healthier and make for much better neighbors!

Community Cat with Ear Tip

How Does the Community Cat Program Help?

The overabundance of outdoor cats is a community-based issue, with community-based solutions! Our role is to bridge the gap between concerned citizens, animal advocates, and people caring for outdoors cats the resources needed. We provide traps, equipment, and training so that you can safely and effectively trap cats in your community. We also provide transportation to and from our veterinary partners.

If you are physically unable to trap or lack transportation to be able to bring cats to the shelter, our team is here to help.

We also work hard to help make sure caregivers are able to provide food and shelter to the cats in their neighborhoods year-round, and we equip communities to work together to resolve cat-related issues and nuisance complaints.

Getting Started

Got cats? Whether you care for community cats and are looking for assistance, know someone who can use a helping hand for the cats in their neighborhood, or spotted a group of feral cats somewhere in your neighborhood or in town – complete our community cat help request form so that we can assist you!

Community Cat Photo

Frequently Asked Community Cat Questions

Community Cats

Can’t community cats just go to the shelter?

By nature, feral cats are not adoptable. Feral cats are not socialized to humans – they do not want to be petted, picked up, and especially do not want to spend any amount of time at a shelter or in a person’s home! Returning feral cats to their territory after spay and neuter is undeniably the safest and most humane way to help them.

Can’t community cats just go to the shelter? da Administrator
What about friendly outdoor cats?

Every person has probably encountered a friendly cat in their neighborhood at least once. Just because a cat is friendly and outside does not mean that cat is lost or stray. They may be someone’s indoor/outdoor pet, or they may just be a community cat. If the cat is healthy and happy – there is no reason to remove them from their neighborhood. Remember – being friendly to humans does not mean a cat doesn’t have outdoor survival skills! Even though they may be adoptable, it doesn’t mean they need to be taken to a shelter. Plenty of cats enjoy living free outdoors, and members of the community welcome them onto their property – and sometimes even inside their homes! – for shelter and food. Bringing community cats – friendly or feral – into the shelter takes the space of cats who are truly in need. Relieving the influx of community cats to the shelter means that more resources can be used saving cats who are truly in need. Empty cages means cats can be pulled from other shelters where the risk of euthanasia is high and pet cats can be surrendered when their owners are no longer able to care for them. When you look at the big picture, it is clear that leaving community cats in their communities saves lives! Of course, every situation is unique, and we make sure to look at every call from every angle. If you are worried about a cat living outdoors, call us. We will always make the decision that is best for the cat.

What about friendly outdoor cats? da Administrator
Why do the cats have to be returned?

Besides the fact that there just isn’t anywhere for these cats to go – relocating cats is not only time consuming for people, but it is stressful and even dangerous for cats. And most importantly of all – it is a temporary and ineffective solution.
Cats bond very strongly to their territory, and removing them from that territory causes a lot of stress. In order to safely relocate a feral cat, they must be confined for a minimum of 4 weeks in their new home, otherwise they will run away. Because of the stress of relocating – trapping, confinding, and acclimating to the new area – relocation is a last resort option, implemented only when the cats’ lives are in grave danger. Relocation should only be done by trained or experienced individuals.
Cats populate an area because there is access to resources like food and shelter. Because of their territorial nature, cats will defend an area from other cats to protect those resources. When you remove a group of cats from an area, it just means that they are no longer there to prevent more cats from moving in. It isn’t uncommon for people to “run off” or remove a group of cats from their yard just to have an entirely new group move in a few weeks later! In contrast – spaying or neutering all of the cats in an area prevents population growth because no more kittens are born, and the existing cats continue to monitor and protect the territory from newcomers. It’s a win-win!

Why do the cats have to be returned? da Administrator
Why don’t food bans work?

Many local governments, property managers, and HOA’s and even some countries have attempted to resolve feral cat overpopulation by banning community members from feeding cats. And all of those groups have one thing in common – they still have a cat problem.
Not only are food bans inhumane – they just don’t work. The reality is, no one will ever completely stop every person in an area from feeding cats. Cats are also extremely resilient – if they don’t get food from people, they will find their own food. While some cats do hunt, they will likely supplement their hunting by other means – usually, they head to the trash. Food bans are implemented in an attempt to settle cat related issues, but in the end, they create more issues.
Instead, we promote aggressive, targeted TNR to stabilize the number of cats in an area, and give community members who care for community cats the tools and information they need to help those cats be good neighbors. We promote a regular feeding schedule and feeding appropriate amounts during daylight hours to reduce the number of other visitors like possums, skunks, raccoons and insects; feeding at designated feeding stations; and keeping feeding stations and shelter areas clean and tidy at all times.

Why don’t food bans work? da Administrator
Why Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)?

Millions of cats enter animal shelters every year, and a large portion of those unwanted cats are kittens born to feral mothers. Shelters and rescues are overrun with cats! There are too many cats, and not enough homes for them. TNR is THE solution for ending the crisis of feline overpopulation. By spaying just ONE feral female cat, we prevent thousands of unwanted kittens. This relieved the burden on shelters, rescues, and member of the community.

Why Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)? da Administrator
What happens during TNR?

Humane traps, sometimes called box traps, are set in a safe location where the cats live or are frequently seen. The traps are designed so that they do not harm the cat in any way. Once a cat is caught in a trap, it is covered with a towel or blanket to help keep the cat calm. Then, the cat is kept in a safe, indoor place until surgery or transported to the veterinary clinic right away. While at the vet, the cat is sedated and then given a physical exam by veterinary staff.. The cat is spayed or neutered, given a rabies vaccine, and an ear tip. An ear tip is the universal symbol that an outdoor cat has been spayed or neutered, where about a ¼ inch of the left ear is surgically removed. The ear tip is done while the cat is still sedated and does not hurt the cat – it is much like getting an ear piercing! Because the cartilage is so thin at the tip of the ear, it is usually healed within a couple of days and rarely do cats even notice they’ve had one done! The cat is placed back into the trap to safely wake up from anesthesia, and, once awake, the cat is given a small amount of food and water and allowed to rest overnight. The following day, the cat can be released back outdoors.
This simple process safely and effectively improves the lives of so many cats!

What happens during TNR? da Administrator
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