Animal Control Investigations
Animal Care Services Field Operations Division is responsible for protecting the health and safety of the citizens and their pets in the City of San Antonio. In addition to responding to standard call-for-service requests, ACS has specialized investigative teams responsible for cases involving animal bites, dangerous or aggressive dogs, animal cruelty, and permitting concerns.
State law mandates all animal bites or scratches that break skin must be reported to the local rabies control authority. Animal Care Services is the local rabies control authority for the City of San Antonio and all rabies exposures must be reported immediately.
If you are a citizen who has been bitten, please call 3-1-1 to report the bite immediately. If you are a representative of a veterinary clinic or medical facility who is reporting a bite, please email ACS Bite Investigation Team to obtain a copy of the Animal Bite Exposure Form. Find additional information regarding Animal Bite Investigations (.pdf).
Dangerous/Aggressive Dog Investigations
Animal Care Services takes the health and safety of both citizens and pets very seriously. San Antonio’s dangerous and aggressive dog laws are taken directly from State law (Health and Safety Code § 822.0421). Their mission is to prevent future dog bites or attacks from happening by requiring safeguards that protect people from a specific dog who has been involved in a documented, unprovoked incident.
ACS officers can begin gathering information on a potential dangerous or aggressive dog case when a bite report comes in that fits established legal criteria. However, in order for an investigation to be finalized and defensible, a sworn (notarized) affidavit detailing the facts of the incident must be provided by the victim and/or witness(es). To assist concerned citizens with this process, Animal Care Services provides notary service free of charge for ACS-related cases anytime during regular business hours. For your convenience, Animal Care Services is open seven days a week: Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Following the receipt of the legal document (affidavit linked above), Animal Care Services will begin a comprehensive investigation of the incident to determine if there has indeed been a violation of the existing law. The owners of animals who have been found in violation of this ordinance can be held liable both civilly and criminally.
Dangerous dog legally means a dog that:
(1) Makes an unprovoked attack on a person that causes bodily
injury and occurs in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being
kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the
enclosure on its own; or
(2) Commits unprovoked acts in a place other than an enclosure
in which the dog was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the
dog from leaving the enclosure on its own and those acts cause a person to
reasonably believe that the dog will attack and cause bodily injury to that
In the Chapter 5 ordinance, Aggressive dog means that an animal has been legally deemed aggressive based upon specific behaviors exhibited by the dog. Legally deemed Aggressive dogs may be classified as different levels of severity based on those behaviors.
Behaviors establishing various levels of aggressive dogs are the following:
(1) Level 1 behavior is established if:
a. A dog while in the enclosure in which the animal was being kept acts to cause a person to reasonably believe that the animal will engage in an unprovoked attack and cause bodily injury to that person; or
b. An unrestrained dog is found to menace, chase, display threatening or unprovoked aggressive behavior or otherwise threaten or endanger the safety of a domestic animal.
(2) Level 2 behavior is established if a dog, while unrestrained, causes physical injury to any domestic animal or livestock.
(3) Level 3 behavior is established if:
a. A dog, while unrestrained, kills or causes the death of any domestic animal or livestock, or
b. A dog classified as a level 2 aggressive dog that repeats the behavior in subsection (2) after the owner or keeper receives notice of the level 2 classification.
The Chapter 5 animal ordinance allows for the ACS Director to take into account mitigating factors that may have resulted in a dog's behavior including but not limited to the victim tormenting or abusing the animal as well as canine aggression directed at trespassers on the property where the dog is housed.
For more information on the community’s dangerous and aggressive dog laws, please visit the City’s Chapter 5 Animal Ordinances.
Responsible Pet Ownership Course
For more information on Responsible Pet Ownership courses mandated for owners of animals legally deemed Dangerous, please see our partner websites below:
PAWedu-Promotion of Animal Welfare
Please note: ACS will provide the owner of the Dangerous dog with information on the specifically required RPO class as well as other requirements.
Find information on Cruelty Investigations.
Find information on Permitting.