About ACS

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Losing your pet is stressful—both for you and your pet. Please include Animal Care Services in your search for your pet. It is always recommended that you walk through the kennels in the facility (more than once) to assure your pet is not here. If your dog is licensed or microchipped; we will attempt to contact you so you can be reunited with your pet. It is vitally important any phone numbers connected to your pet’s license or microchip are on file and up to date. Visit our Lost Pets page for more information.
Animal Care Services offers adoptions of both dogs and cats seven days a week at the shelter at 4710 State Highway 151. Low cost adoptions include each pet’s sterilization, initial vaccinations, registered microchip and de-worming. Adoption ready pets can be seen in person at the shelter or on our Pet Search page as well on our ACS Adoptable Pets Facebook Page. Adopt…Don’t Shop!

Not in a position to add a permanent new addition to your family? Animal Care Services offers a variety of other ways to help pets in need.

  • Consider becoming a temporary pet parent through the ACS Foster Program. Find out more on our Foster page.
  • Volunteer your time. We have plenty of opportunities available for you, your family, your school, organization or business. Visit our Volunteer page today!
  • ACS always graciously accepts donations to help the pets in our care.

Caring for a pet throughout their entire lifetime can be costly. ACS has a variety of ways that we support pet owners in San Antonio:

  • Spay/Neuter Services: Animal Care Services partners with several of San Antonio’s spay/neuter clinics to offer low cost (and often free!) pet sterilization opportunities for local dog and cat owners. See if you qualify.
  • Low-Cost Vaccination Clinics: Animal Care Services hosts weekly low cost pet shot clinics at the shelter. Held every Monday from 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm (no appointment needed) in the ACS Annex Building, the clinics offer pet owners the opportunity to purchase low cost shots for their companion animals as well as get their dog or cat microchipped as required by City law. All pets should be on a leash or in a carrier. More information can be seen at www.petshotzinc.com or by calling 210.232.1004 or 210.735.1004.
  • Microchipping: Animal Care Services offers microchipping  (FREE for City of San Antonio residents only) anytime during regular business hours – no appointment needed. Lost pets with a microchip have a significantly higher chance of returning home when brought into a veterinary clinic or shelter. Reminder: effective April 30, 2015, it is City law that all pets residing in San Antonio city limits have a registered microchip.

While Animal Care Services cannot recommend or endorse a specific service, we understand that the cost of caring for a sick or injured pet can become expensive. Find various financial resources for your sick or injured pet here.

Stuff happens…but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your pet. The ACS Pet Pantry is a donation-funded program that helps pet owners in need by providing temporary access to food, cat litter and other pet resources. As donated supplies are available, Animal Care Services may provide assistance for dog and cat owners who find themselves temporarily unable to provide food for their pets. There are some qualifications including proof of government assistance, a current picture ID and all pets should be sterilized and vaccinated for rabies in accordance with the law. Find operating hours and additional information here.

Responsible pet ownership begins with education. That’s why Animal Care Services has a robust Community Outreach Program designed to support the shelter’s mission of enhanced enforcement, increasing live release, controlling the roaming population, and engaging and educating the community.

  • The Comprehensive Neighborhood Sweeps Initiative (CNSI) is a yearlong series of neighborhood block walks, enforcement sweeps and clinics that addresses the community’s animal issues by targeting resources in identified areas of greatest need. Volunteers are always needed to assist with block walks and clinics. Volunteer Today!
  • The ACS Education & Outreach team are specially trained to provide educational programs on "Animal Bite Avoidance" and "Responsible Pet Ownership." They visit almost all public and private elementary schools annually. In addition, programs and speakers are available for middle schools, high schools, neighborhood association meetings, community events, and other forums. Proper pet care and training are discussed, as well as reviewing the many responsibilities that go with pet ownership. To schedule an ACS speaker for your event, call 210.207.6665 or email us.  
  • Even kids can learn responsible pet ownership. Every summer, ACS hosts a kid’s camp called Animal Allies. The week long summer day camp engages kids in the "No Kill" goal by highlighting the importance of responsible pet ownership and care. Featuring training seminars, “hands on” activities and guest speakers from a variety of pet related professions, Animal Allies is open to children from ages 10 to 15 years old. Registration for the weeklong camp is $150 and includes all materials, activities, an Animal Allies camp t-shirt as well as daily lunch and snacks. Parents can sign up their kids by emailing the ACS Volunteer Coordinator.

Citizen Call-for-Service requests are dispatched to ACS through the City’s 3-1-1 Customer Service line. San Antonio residents should call 3-1-1 (210.207.6000) to report any animal-related concern. All calls are prioritized and dispatched to the Field Operations division. Citizens can also make a report/request to 3-1-1 using the City’s Online Service Request system. The City of San Antonio Animal Care Services does not respond to any animal-related service in unincorporated Bexar County. Bexar County residents should call Bexar County Animal Control at 210.335.9000.

High risk areas within the City limits which have confirmed packs of roaming dogs may be addressed utilizing a specialized “sweeps” team within the Field Operations Division of ACS. Residents should contact 3-1-1 and include as much information as possible for the customer service representative including detailed descriptions and locations of any animals.

When available, ACS will loan humane dog traps to residents who have signed and completed a Department animal trap loan contract. Traps can be loaned for up to 7 days if the resident agrees to monitor the trap regularly and release any contained animals to ACS. Although no deposit is required, residents agree to take legal responsibility for the trap while it is in their care. ACS traps cannot be used to trap wildlife and any trapped wildlife will not be picked up or accepted by Animal Care Services. For more information on animal trap loans, residents can come by ACS located at 4710 State Highway 151 or call 3-1-1 (210.207.6000).

It is not against the law for a cat to live outside in the City of San Antonio provided they are sterilized. The City of San Antonio promotes Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) for the humane management of our city’s community cats. In partnership with the San Antonio Feral Cat Coalition, the ACS Community Cat Program is addressing feral cat issues in this most humane, effective way with education and resources.  The ACS Community Cat Program can be reached at 210.207.6696 or via email. The San Antonio Feral Cat Coalition hosts TNR workshops throughout the community. They can be reached at 210.877.9067

Outdoor cats that inflict property damage or pose a public health risk may be subject to impoundment through a feline nuisance affidavit. A nuisance affidavit is a legal document that details reported violations of the law by a cat and/or the cat’s owner. An Animal Care Officer will use the information in the affidavit to investigate the violation and if confirmed, the resident will be able to humanely trap the specific cat that is creating a nuisance on their property.

All animal bites and scratches must be reported to Animal Care Services within 24 hours by calling 3-1-1. Biting animals are required by State, County and City law to be quarantined for rabies observation for 10 days from the date of the bite, regardless of the vaccination status of the animal. The law also requires all dogs, cats, and domestic ferrets must be annually vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Failure to vaccinate your pet for rabies may result in a citation. Children should be cautioned to never interact with wild animals; especially skunks bats and raccoons. Find out more information regarding Animal Bite Investigations.

By law, dogs and cats must have a registered microchip. Microchips can be obtained at ACS - FREE for City of San Antonio Residents only,  or through any community animal shelter, or private veterinarian at their listed pricing. 

Animal Bites FAQs

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Any time a warm-blooded animal (dog, cat, skunk, fox, bat, etc.,) bites or scratches a person, there is a danger that the animal is infected with rabies. Therefore, the following precautions should be taken: 

  • Call 3-1-1 (210.207.6000) immediately to capture/quarantine the animal. 
  • When you call 311 (210.207.6000), identify the animal. Provide a description of the animal, including color, breed, and the owner’s name/contact information, if known. If it is an owned dog, cat or ferret, it must be quarantined and observed for signs of rabies. If it is a wild animal, Animal Care Services will submit the wild animal for laboratory testing. 
  • Immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and hot water as a first aid procedure. 
  • Consult a physician as soon as possible to determine whether anti-rabies treatment is needed.
  • The City of San Antonio designates a State of Texas Certified Animal Care Officer to handle animal bite cases (VTCA-Sec.826.017, DC6-Sec. 3). 
  • The Animal Care Officer enforces the Rabies Control Law including the Rules of the Texas Board of Health, and enforces the City of San Antonio Code of Ordinances pertaining to animal control (VTCA-Sec. 826.017, CD6-Sec. 3). 
  • The Animal Care Officer is responsible for investigating animal bites, (VTCA-Sec. 826.017, VTCA-Sec. 826.041(c), TAC-169-.25 (c), CD6-Sec. 6-239 (b)).
Dogs, Cats and Ferrets

Regardless of vaccination status, the biting animal must be quarantined for ten (10) days or humanely destroyed. A pet that has current rabies vaccination may be quarantined at home if approved by a Supervisor at Animal Care Services or at a Vet Clinic who has been approved by the State as a quarantine facility. If humanely destroyed, the Animal Care Officer will be required to submit the brain to the State Laboratory for testing. If the animal is to be quarantined, the observation period will be ten (10) twenty-four hour periods or 240 hours from the time of the bite (VTCA-Sec. 826.042, TAC-169.22(19), TAC-169.25(b), TAC-169.27(a), CD6-Sec. 6-240). 

High-Risk Animals

If the biting animal is a known carrier of rabies, such as skunks, bats, foxes, coyotes or raccoons, they shall be humanely destroyed and submitted for rabies testing (TAC-169.22 (11), TAC-169.27(c), CD6-Sec. 6-240 (e)). 

Low-Risk Animals

Opossums, shrews, moles, squirrels, gophers, mice, rabbits, rats, and armadillos do not need to be quarantined or tested, unless the Animal Control Officer has reason to believe that the biting animals has rabies (TAC-169.22(18), TAC-169.27(d), CD6-Sec. 6-239(c )).

Quarantine means placing the dog or cat in a State approved facility that provides absolute isolation with no possibility of escape. The quarantine observation period is 10 days from the date of the bite or scratch. After the observation period the dog or cat will be checked by a veterinarian licensed in the state of Texas. If the veterinarian deems the dog or cat healthy, he/she will be released from quarantine. While in quarantine, the dog or cat cannot have contact with other animals or persons and must be observed daily by a qualified person (VTCA-Sec. 826.002(9), TAC-169.27(a), CD6-Sec. 6-240).

  1. The Animal Care Officer in charge of the bite case may authorize home quarantine if: The biting animal was currently vaccinated and was not stray/loose or roaming beyond the owner’s property at the time of the bite (VTCA-Sec. 826.002(11), TAC-169.22(A), TAC-169.22(28), TAC-162.27(2), TAC-169.27(4), CD6-Sec 6-2, CD6-Sec. 6-231, CD6-Sec. 6-240(c-2), CD6-Sec. 6-240(c-3)). 
  2. The victim is a member of the family of the biting animal (VTCA-Sec. 826.015, PPM-S-Pol-IV). 
  3. The dog/cat owner’s personal vet observes the dog/cat at least on the first and last days of the quarantine period (TAC-169.27(3), CD6-Sec. 6-240(c-4)). 

Once an animal has been placed in quarantine, only a licensed veterinarian may release the animal from quarantine. If the veterinarian determines that the quarantined animal does not show clinical signs of rabies, they will sign a quarantine release form provided by the Animal Control Division (VTCA-Sec. 826-043(a), CD6-Sec. 6-240(c-4)).

If the animal becomes sick or dies while in quarantine, Animal Care Services (ACS) will submit the animal for testing to determine if the biting animal exposed the victim to rabies. The victim shall be notified by the City’s Metro Health Department if the quarantined animal becomes sick or dies, so that they may receive consultation for treatment of rabies (VTCA-Sec. 826.043(b)).

Texas State Law requires the owner of a biting animal to pay the cost of quarantine (VTCA-Sec. 286.043(c), CD6-Sec. 6-240(f)).

  • Texas State Law requires that owners of dogs, cats, and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies by four months of age and given a second inoculation against rabies one year later, then tri-annually thereafter (VTCA-Sec. 826.021, TAC-169.29, CD6-Sec. 6-231). 
  • Texas State Law requires that rabies vaccines for animals must be administered by a licensed veterinarian, or under the direct supervision of a veterinarian. Rabies vaccine can be only sold to veterinarians. Veterinarian cannot legally sell vaccine to their clients. Veterinarians must issue a completed rabies vaccination certificate for dogs, cats and ferrets (VTCA-Sec. 826.021(b), VTCA-Sec. 826.023, TAC-Sec. 169.29(b), CD6-Sec. 6-232).