Animal Shelter FAQs
Q. How do I see what animals you have available for adoption?
You can come by our shelter at 7665 Howells Ferry Road or visit www.petharbor.com or our website at www.mobilecountyal.gov/government/departments/animal-control/
Q. What do I need to bring when I come to adopt an animal?
You will need to bring a valid driver's license, your lease agreement stating you are allowed to have pets if you rent and current proof of rabies on all the dogs or cats you currently own.
Q. Does the animal I adopt have to be spayed or neutered?
Yes. All animals adopted from our shelter must be spayed or neutered before they are placed into their new homes.
Q. Can I take the animal to my own vet to have them spayed or neutered?
No. We have contracted with local vets for the procedure to ensure compliance with Alabama State Law.
Q. How do these pets come to us?
- Stray animals rescued or impounded by an Animal Control Officer and not claimed by their family.
- Animals surrendered by their families.
Q. What can we tell you about our adoptable animals?
- If the animal was surrendered by its family, we obtain as much information as possible about their behavior.
- If the animal was a stray we rely on information from our Animal Control Officers and the staff as they interact with the animal on a daily basis.
- All adoptable animals must pass a health and behavioral assessment.
If you adopt from us:
- All animals must be spayed or neutered and microchipped.
- Animals housed at the shelter have received preventive vaccinations.
- Animals will receive the 1-year rabies vaccination and the Alabama Rabies Tag.
- Adoptable dogs and puppies (6 months and older) are tested for signs of Heartworms and are provided a heartworm treatment, no matter if the dog’s outcome on its test is positive or negative during the animal stay at the shelter.
- A flea treatment is provided to all adoptable animals at the shelter.
Q. What can you tell me about Animal Bites?
Facts about animal bites:
- Every year in the United States, animals bite nearly five million people.
- Almost one in five of those who are bitten require medical attention, half of these are children.
- Most children who are bitten are between the ages of 5 – 9 years old.
- Male adults are more likely to be bitten than females.
How to avoid a bite:
- Look for warning signs:
- Aggressive: hackles up, growling or barking, ears erect body stiff or tense, a stiff-legged stance with tail held high and possibly moving rapidly.
- Frightened: ears back, body crouched, head held low, and tail tucked between his legs.
- Never touch or approach an animal you don't know to be friendly.
- Never threaten or tease any animal.
- Even a small dog or cat can inflict a painful bite.
- Teach children to be safe.
If you are bitten or scratched by an animal:
- Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water.
- Apply a sterile dressing.
- Seek immediate medical help. Ask the physician about a tetanus booster and/or rabies vaccination.
- Remember as many details as possible. Write down a description of the animal, time and location of the incident and try to remember where the dog went.
- Alabama law requires that all animal bites be reported. Call 251-574-7940 to make a report. The animal will need to be quarantined for rabies observation.
Q. What can I do about Barking Dogs?
A few things in life are as annoying as having to listen to the constant bark, howl, whine or cry of another person's dog. The first reaction of many people faced with a barking dog problem is to call the authorities. But this is not always the best solution. This problem has been looked at nationally and the conclusions reached have been uniformly the same: Barking is a neighborhood problem.
Here are a few facts about the owners of barking dogs that may help you deal with the situation:
- The owner of a barking dog often doesn't know the dog is barking.
- Owners may leave for work with a quiet dog in the backyard and return home to a quiet dog. The dog may only be barking because its owner is gone.
- The dog barking may be a comfort to the owner. Barking may tell the owner the dog is well and the property is protected. The owner may assume it gives neighbors the same feeling.
- The owner may be desensitized to the barking. People that are around barking dogs all of the time learn to tune out the noise.
- The owners may assume that because they haven't had anyone complain about the noise, the barking doesn't bother anyone.
Owners of barking dogs falling into the above categories are best dealt with as neighbors.
Letting the owner know that the dog's noise is disrupting your life can be very effective. People that do not first attempt to solve the problem as neighbors often begin long-term neighborhood feuds. Politely tell the person--in person, by text or email, or by phone--exactly what the nature of the annoyance is, Communicate things such as "I can't sleep"; "I can't hear my television"; "I work nights and sleep days"; or "I can't study because of the noise your dog is making". Neighborhood communication is a very important part of neighborhood security.
Beware: There is no ordinance or state law in Alabama that addresses dog barking or limits the time period dog barking is allowed within the unincorporated areas of Mobile County.
When to call Police:
If a normally quiet neighborhood dog is barking you should check on the situation. Your neighbor might need assistance or they might have left the dog in the care of someone who is not showing up. If you need assistance in this situation, contact the Sheriff Department at 251-574-8633.
Q: What can you tell me about Leash Laws?
A leash is a great way to protect your pet from the dangers of the outside world such as cars, wild animals, and other people's pets. By keeping your pet on a leash, you are also acting as a good neighbor.
The Mobile County Dog Control ordinance requires that a person who owns an animal, such as a dog, shall control it at all times. In a public place, with some exceptions, the Mobile County Dog Control ordinance requires that an owner shall have his/her animal under control and shall not allow it to roam neighborhoods or have access to other people's property.
Controlling an animal means to simultaneously monitor, direct, and restrict an animal's movement and activities in a humane manner.
Control by leash means to control an animal by securely attaching a leash, chain, or an item which is physically capable of restraining the animal, including electronic collar, to the animal which is in the secure possession of a person physically and mentally capable of monitoring, directing, and restricting the animal's movements and activities.
Control by command means to control an animal by visual or audible commands, or a combination thereof, to which the animal responds promptly and accurately. Control by the command is only allowed if the following criteria are met:
- The animal is engaged in an activity that precludes it from accomplishing that activity if restrained, AND
- The animal is in an area normally associated with that activity, AND
- The activity is conducted in a manner that minimizes the impact on the general public.
All three of the above criteria must be met in order for a pet to legitimately be off-leash in public. Examples of allowed activities may include dog agility trials, retriever training, and throwing/catching a Frisbee. The ordinance doesn't allow for off-leash dog walking unless the pet is in a designated off-leash dog park space.
Q: What can you tell me about Trapping and Confining Loose Domestic Animals?
The Mobile County Animal Control Department provides a humane live dog traps for nuisance dog problems. Cat traps are only provided to capture sick or injured cats, not healthy domesticated cats or feral/wild cats. If you are interested in acquiring a live dog or cat trap, please do the following:
- Call the Animal Control Dispatch line (251-574-7940) during hours of operation. Ask the Dispatcher, if the particular type of trap (cat or dog) is available.
- Come to the Animal Control facility during business hours and complete the Animal Trap Agreement as required.
- If the trap is damaged while in your possession, you will be responsible for the repair or replacement of the trap. You will not be responsible for the repair or the replacement if the damage was caused by the animal that was in the trap.
- The trap is serviced by an Animal Control Officer during normal business hours. Trapping of the animals after hours, weekends or holidays is not recommended. If an animal is trapped at any time the custodian of the trap is required to ensure the animal is provided water and protected from any wet and harsh weather while in their care.
Animal Control Officers will empty the trap as you catch stray animals. The Trap Agreement explains how to have that done.
Q: Does Mobile County Animal Control investigate animal issues in the municipalities surrounding or which are within the unincorporated communities of Mobile County?
No, All municipal cities are responsible to have their animal issues investigated by their local law enforcement or designated agency. The Mobile County Animal Shelter provides housing and pickups service to those municipal cities under 5,000 in population, as well as contracts with those municipal with more than 5,000 in population, which do not have a shelter to house the stray animals within their city.
Q: What types of donations do you accept?
Your generous giving helps support the animals in our care.
Q. Can I bring the animal back if it isn't the right fit for my home?
Yes. You may return the animal at no charge within 30 days of adoption, however, we are unable to issue you a credit or refund. Any returns made after 30 days will require a drop-off fee.
Q. Is there a discount for adopting more than one pet?
No. The adoption fees are used to pay for the surgical procedures to spay and neuter the animals, therefore we are unable to reduce fees for multiple adoptions.
Q. Can you hold an animal for me until I can make it in to see it?
No. Because we have a high number of animals that need a home, we are unable to hold the animals. We work on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Q. What should I do if I find a lost or stray animal?
Contact Mobile County Animal Control at 574-3647 to schedule a pickup or to obtain the number to your local animal control agency.
Q. Can I come there to look for my lost pet?
Yes. You can come anytime during our normal business hours to see if your pet has been brought in.
Q. What number do I call if I need an Animal Control Officer to respond?
Please call the Animal Control Non-Emergency number at 574-3647. A dispatcher will assist you with your problem and notify an Animal Control Officer, who will respond to your home or incident location.
Q. What hours do the Animal Control Officers work?
Animal Control Officers are on duty Monday through Friday, from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. The office is open from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.
Q. What if I have an animal problem after business hours or on the weekend?
You will need to call the Sheriff Department Non-Emergency number at 574-8633 or 574-8634. At that time, the dispatcher will send a deputy to respond, then it will be determined if an Animal Control Officer is needed. If so, the dispatcher will notify the officer.
Q. What do I do if my pet becomes lost?
If your pet is missing, please contact all your local animal shelters. It is best if you present the positive identification of your pet. You can visit the Mobile County Animal Shelter at 7665 Howells Ferry Road to see if your pet was brought into the shelter by Animal Control. If so, you will have seven (7) days to reclaim your animal before it becomes the property of Mobile County Animal Control.
Q. If my animal is impounded, what are the fees for me to reclaim?
The fees can vary from $50 to $200 per animal to reclaim, depending on the number of previous offenses. Please make sure to bring your current proof of rabies certificate with you when you come to reclaim your animal.
Q. Does my pet have to be on a leash?
Yes. Any time your pet is off your personal property, it must be on a physical restraining device such as a leash. Electronic/shock collars are not appropriate physical restraints. If your property is not fenced in to prevent escape, your pet must be on a leash.
Q. Am I required to register my pet with the County?
No. However, rabies tags must be current, obtained from a licensed veterinarian and displayed on your pet at all times.
What is No-Kill?
The most widely accepted definition of a 'No-Kill' shelter means that all adoptable, healthy animals will not be euthanized regardless of space or time factors. The term "adoptable" and "healthy" means and includes all dogs and cats eight weeks of age or older that, at or subsequent to the time the animal is taken into possession, have shown no sign of a behavioral or temperamental characteristic that could pose a health or safety risk or otherwise make the animal unsuitable for placement as a pet, and have shown no sign of disease, injury, or congenital or hereditary condition that adversely affects the health of the animal or that is likely to adversely affect the animal's health in the future.
The Mobile County Animal Shelter accepts stray animals brought into our facility from the unincorporated areas of Mobile County, but with limited space and finite resources, unfortunately, some animals are euthanized. We strive to find good homes for the adoptable animals that we have housed at the shelter, but with the ever-growing number of animals being dropped off on a daily basis we find this to be an increasingly challenging effort.
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