Navajo County

Proudly Serving, Continuously Improving Since 1895

Navajo County Animal Care and Control
Frequently Asked Questions

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Licensing

Why do I have to license my dog?

State law requires all dogs over the age of three months to be vaccinated against rabies. The license requirement is to allow city or county agencies to ensure that the dog has a current rabies vaccination. It also gives animal control agencies a way to identify the owner of an impounded animal so they can get the animal back home.

My dog always stays in my house, does it have to be licensed?

Yes. All dogs over the age of three months, must be licensed regardless if they never leave the yard. You would be surprised how many animals are impounded every month and the owner says, “But it has never been out before!” Remember, you dog’s license is his ticket home!

How do I get a license?

You can get a license at the Public Works offices in Heber, Holbrook and Show Low or at any participating veterinarian, shelter or animal clinic in the County. A complete list with hours of operation and addresses is located on the licensing page. Licenses can also be obtained via the web through our Internet application process. You must have a current valid rabies vaccination certificate for each dog to obtain a license.

I have more than 5 dogs; can I get a kennel permit for $75 instead of licensing them individually?

Yes, but be careful. A kennel permit is only meant for kennel operations and has strict limitations. If you ever remove the dog from the property for any reason other than to transport the animal to another permitted kennel, to receive medical treatment, or participation in a sponsored exhibition, it becomes an unlicensed animal and subject to enforcement under section 2.1.

How much does a license cost?

$5 per dog if purchased at a participating veterinarian, shelter, animal clinic or Public Works office. Licenses obtained through our Internet application process are free.

Where can I get a license?

Licenses can be obtained at participating veterinarians, shelters, and animal clinics throughout the County or at Public Works offices in Heber, Show Low or Holbrook. For addresses and hours of operations see the licensing page. Licenses can also be obtained via the web through our Internet application process.

How long is a dog license good for?

Our licenses now run for the duration of the rabies vaccinations which means that a dog license can be good for up to three years. All dog licenses now expire on the expiration date of the current rabies vaccination certificate.

What happens if my dog is caught running loose?

All dogs picked up running at large will result in a citation issued to the owner with no exceptions. If a complaint is received about your dog running at large and bona fide evidence is provided by the complaintant, a citation will be issued. For the saftey of our citizens and pets, Navajo County has a zero tolerance policy on dogs running at large.

Do cats need to have licenses?

If you are a resident of the unincorporated area of Navajo County, your cat does not need to be licensed. However, some cities or towns may require cats to be licensed so check with your city or town.

Vaccinations

What vaccines does my new dog need?

Please see a veterinarian for more information about vaccines and your dog’s health. Vaccines are an important part of keeping your dog healthy. Beginning at six to eight weeks of age, puppies should be given a vaccine that protects against distemper and parvo. Your dog will need yearly boosters to remain protected from these diseases. All dogs over the age of three months are required to be vaccinated for rabies and licensed. The first rabies vaccine is good for one year. Licenses must be renewed annually.

Can I give my dog a rabies vaccination myself?

No. Arizona state law requires that a rabies vaccination be administered by a licensed veterinarian and a copy of the vaccination certificate be forwarded to the appropriate animal control agency.

Can I give my dog or cat other vaccinations, like parvo, distemper, corona, etc. myself?

Yes. You can purchase these various vaccinations through pet supply companies or from local feed stores. Rabies vaccinations can only be administered by a licensed veterinarian.

What vaccines does my new cat need?

Vaccines are an important part of keeping your cat healthy. Beginning at eight to nine weeks of age, kittens should be given a vaccine that protects against feline distemper and other diseases. NCAC also recommends that you have your cat tested and vaccinated for Feline Leukemia (FELV).

All cats over the age of three months should also be vaccinated for rabies. The first rabies vaccine is good for one year. Please see a veterinarian for more information about vaccines and your cat’s health.

Cats

What is the difference between a stray and a feral cat?

A stray cat is an un-owned animal that you see in your neighborhood that is friendly and enjoys human contact. A feral cat has had little or no human contact during its natural life. Many people consider feral cats to be nuisances because they reproduce at an alarming rate, resulting in more cat problems and public health concerns.

NCAC is concerned about the health, safety and welfare of cats in our communities, as well as the public’s health. There are many years of documented proof that the traditional ways of dealing with feral cats don’t work. The catch and kill method of population control, i.e., trap a cat, bring it to a shelter, ask the shelter to euthanize the cat, has not reduced the number of feral cats. Even though the cat is gone, it leaves an opening for another cat to move into the cat colony, which can cause fighting, spraying territory and more breeding. NCAC in partnering with the Humane Society of the White Mountains is taking a proactive stand in the way we believe feral cats should be handled and controlled. The Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) of feral cats is a proven, humane method of feral cat population control. Through TNR, cats are humanely trapped and sterilized. The cats are ear-tipped (one centimeter is removed from the tip of the left ear) to identify they are part of a managed colony, and returned back to the environment in which they were living. Volunteer caretakers provide food, water and clean, unobtrusive shelters for the cats.

NCAC advocates the development of a TNR program in every community where feral cats are a problem. The program stabilizes feral cat populations, reduces birth rates, and improves the overall health of cat colonies. With the support of neighborhood volunteers, the felines live safely and peacefully within their territory. Typical feral problems are practically eliminated and the incidence of disease and malnutrition are greatly reduced.

National studies have shown that when cats are removed from an area, more cats move in. If you sterilize the population, you will stop the constant flow of kittens and the colony will keep other cats from moving into the area. Eventually, through natural attrition, the colony dies out. TNR also helps to stop many of the undesirable behaviors that come with unsterilized cats such as loud mating, territorial fights and spraying. To learn more about feral cats and TNR, call Altered Tails at (602) 943-SPAY or visit them on the web at alteredtails.org.

I have a problem with stray or feral cats. What can I do?

Animal Control has cat traps. These are live traps that do not injure the cat. If a person captures a cat in the trap, they call Animal Control. Traps are not set on weekends or holidays. For safety of the animal, traps are not set out during heat advisories.

Bites

If my dog or cat bites someone, will animal control kill it?

No. In accordance to Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S 11-1014), an unvaccinated dog or cat that bites any person shall be confined and quarantined in a county pound or, on request of and at the expense of the owner, at a veterinary hospital for a period of not less than ten days. The quarantine period shall start on the day of the bite incident. If the day of the bite is not known, the quarantine period shall start on the first day of impoundment. At the end of ten days, the owner can take the animal home after paying the quarantine impound fee.

If a bite occurs do I have to report it?

Yes. State law requires that anyone with knowledge of a bite report it immediately to County Animal Control.

If a dog bites me or a member of my family can I demand it be destroyed?

No. All orders for the destruction of an animal must come from a court of competent authority.

Can my dog be given a rabies test if it bites someone rather than be quarantined?

No. There are no rabies tests that can be performed on live animals.

Quarantine

Does every dog have to be quarantined?

In accordance to Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S 11-1014), an unvaccinated dog or cat that bites any person shall be confined and quarantined in a county pound or, on request of and at the expense of the owner, at a veterinary hospital for a period of not less than ten days. The quarantine period shall start on the day of the bite incident. If the day of the bite is not known, the quarantine period shall start on the first day of impoundment. At the end of ten days, the owner can take the animal home after paying the quarantine impound fee.

Does my dog have to be quarantined at the shelter?

No. Another option is to quarantine the dog at a veterinary hospital at the owners’ expense and with approval from Animal Control. A third option of home quarantine may also be available if you and your pet qualify. If a current rabies vaccination certificate can be shown to the Enforcement Agent at the time of the bite response, and the owner qualifies by agreeing to comply with the strict home quarantine requirements, a home quarantine may be considered dependent upon the totality of the circumstances and at the discretion of the Enforcement Agent as per Arizona Revised Statutes.

Where do you keep the animals?

Animal Control contracts with the Humane Society of the White Mountains located at 3212 N Porter Mountain Rd in Lakeside.

Neutering

Why should I have to have an animal spayed or neutered when I adopt from an animal shelter?

Arizona State requires that all shelters that do adoptions have a sterilization program in effect. The problem of stray and unwanted animals can only be reduced by eliminating unwanted litters of puppies and kittens.

Microchips

What is a microchip?

A microchip is a small identification device about the size of a grain of rice that is implanted on a dog's back just under the skin at the base of the neck. Animal control agencies or shelters who might take possession of a stray dog can scan the animal with a hand held scanner to help locate the dog's owners. It is another avenue to reunite pets and owners. It is also a method to prove ownership if your dog is stolen, since it cannot be removed like a collar and tags.

County Ordinances

I moved to the country to let my dog run free. Why do I have to pen it up?

The State of Arizona requires that all dogs be confined to their property or be on a leash if not on the owner's property. It is commonly known as a "leash law" and exists throughout the entire state. The Navajo County Animal Control Ordinance reflects that same requirement.

Is it legal for an owner to chain up his/her dog?

No. Navajo County Ordinances prohibit the use of tie-outs such as chains, leashes, wires, cables, ropes or similar retraining devices for the purpose of animal containment. (See Navajo County Ordinance 3.1.2)

Is a dog house adequate for shelter?

That depends. If you are providing shelter from the rain, yes. However, when we are experiencing high summer temperatures, the dog is not able to get relief from the sun by lying in an oven-like dog house. There must be shade that is provided at all hours of the day and has adequate ventilation. Navajo County Ordinance 3.1.2 reads:

Any such artificial shelter shall be structurally sound and maintained in good repair to protect the animal from injury and from the elements, and of sufficient size to permit the animal to enter, stand, turn around and lie down in a natural manner. Any shelter which does not protect the animal from temperature extremes or precipitation, or which does not provide adequate ventilation or drainage, shall not comply with this section.

Reporting Complaints

Do I have to give my name and address if I file an animal control complaint?

Yes. All calls are logged in through Navajo County Sheriff Dispatch. All contact information must be given so that the Animal Control Officer knows where to go and who to talk to respond to your complaint.

Who do I call if I have a skunk or other pest problem?

NCAC does not respond to calls about skunks or other pests in homes, under homes, or on property. There are Pest Control businesses throughout the County that specialize in removing these pests. Here is a list of pest control companies that we have contacted that do handle these types of problems. Check with them for their fees.

Lost and Found

If I find a stray, what should I do?

If you find a stray dog or cat, contact Animal Control and report it. If you desire to have it picked up, we will do so as quickly as possible. If you would like to keep the animal, you may do so. If the owner calls to report a lost animal, Animal Control will put you in contact with the owner to get the pet back home.

If I have found a lost pet and the owner does not call, can I keep it?

In Arizona, the law states that if you keep a dog or cat and care for it for six consecutive days, you automatically become the owner of the animal. If you desire to keep the dog or cat for yourself, it is wise for you to contact Animal Control to report finding the animal. That way you have proof as to the length of time it has been in your possession should the original owner come along at a later date and want the animal back.

I lost my pet, what do I do?

Contact NCAC and put in a lost pet report and then contact the animal shelters in your area to see if your pet might have been picked up by a well-meaning person and taken to the shelter for safe keeping.

You can now also search our NEW Navajo County Animal Care & Control database to see if NCAC has found or picked up your pet and taken it to a shelter. Please note that this database only includes animals that have been picked up by NCAC and does NOT include any animals brought in to a shelter by a private citizen.

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