Animal Protection serves the community by defending threatened animals from abuse or neglect, working closely with law enforcement to contain or help aggressive animals, assisting other agencies with wildlife such as coyotes or bats and ensuring that City ordinances related to animal welfare are followed.

Our officers serve to protect, not control, both human and animal life, through a variety of services aimed at educating and supporting the public, and working to keep pets and families together.


Austin Animal Protection Officers



Animal Protection enforces City of Austin ordinances, including:

Animal Cruelty

In the event of suspected animal cruelty call 3-1-1 (or 9-1-1 if the animal is in immediate danger) to report the suspected cruelty. Animal cruelty investigations are handled by Austin Police Department. 

Animal Cruelty & Neglect in Austin Infographic

Fencing and Dog House Program

To assist citizens and dogs using a tether as a primary means of restraint, Animal Protection has a fencing assistance program. We will accept fencing donations and offer them to citizens who need to correct their tethering violations.

Need help with fencing or a doghouse?

For questions, contact the Resource Officer at (512) 978-0519 for more information.


As Austin grows, our opportunities for interacting with wildlife increase. Animal Services does not remove or relocate healthy native animals; instead, we work with residents to resolve conflict with wildlife humanely. Learn more

Animal Bites

Call 9-1-1 if a person has been attacked, bitten or scratched by a domestic or wild animal and they need emergency care; if emergency care is not required, call 3-1-1 instead. Travis County citizens of the unincorporated areas should call 512-974-2000 for all animal protection and control issues.

All animal bites must be reported to Animal Protection. If medical attention has been received after a bite, download an Animal Bite Report and fax it to (512) 978-0617.

Owners of dogs involved in bite cases must provide a current rabies vaccination certificate to Animal Protection. If the animal is not currently vaccinated or if the vaccination status is unknown, the animal must be placed in quarantine and observed by a veterinarian.

Animals that are currently vaccinated and were restrained at the time the bite occurred may qualify for home observation.

Rabies & Disease Prevention

Animal Protection is the rabies control authority for the City of Austin and unincorporated Travis County. Learn more about rabies and disease prevention

Dangerous & Vicious Dogs

Animal Protection handles dangerous and vicious dogs in Travis County. Call 9-1-1 if a dog seems dangerous and is threatening.

If you suspect a dog is dangerous or if a dog kills or severely injures a pet or person, you can seek a "dangerous dog" or "vicious dog" designation. You must submit a signed bite affidavit to Animal Protection.

"Vicious Dog" is a legal designation defined by the City of Austin and applied to dogs who have been determined by a court to be a danger to pets or people. A Vicious Dog may not be kept within the city limits of Austin. Vicious Dog Information

"Dangerous Dog" is a legal designation defined by the State of Texas and applied to dogs who have been determined by a court to be a danger to people. Owners of registered dangerous dogs are ordered by court to:

  • Register the dog as dangerous with the City of Austin and pay an annual $50 fee.
  • Restrain the dog at all times on a leash in the immediate control of a person or in secure enclosure.
  • Purchase $100,000 of liability insurance.
  • Attach the issued dangerous dog tag to the dog’s collar or harness and insure that the tag is worn at all times.

The information about dangerous dogs in Austin is updated regularly but may not contain all current information. The City of Austin and APD do not authorize secondary dissemination of this information, and neither shall be responsible for any errors or omissions produced by secondary dissemination of the information.

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View Animal Protection's 6 minute video on Anti-tethering.

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