The Winchester Police Department has its own Animal Control Unit that handles a wide range of calls in the City of Winchester. The most common calls for service the animal control officer handles are loose dogs, animal neglect, cruelty to animals, hurt or injured animals, dog bites, rabid animals, and a wide range of other animal related calls. The animal control officer also has a close working relationship with the local S.P.C.A. and provides assistance for the organization when needed.
To reach the Animal Control Unit, please call Dispatch at 540-662-4131.
Please read the following code sections that define animal cruelty in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Winchester.
- Virginia Code Section – Cruelty to Animals
- City of Winchester Code Section (Sec. 5-6) – Cruelty to Animals, generally
Resources for Residents
Pet owners must ensure that they have proper documentation of rabies vaccinations. Dog owners must acquire dog licenses from the City of Winchester Treasurer’s Office.
Listen to the Rouss Review podcast episode that describes adequate shelter, tethering requirements, and more.
Residents may call the Animal Control Unit for help with the following:
- Bat removal – if the bat is in the residence overnight/for several days or in a bedroom (will be tested for rabies)
- Snake removal
- Nuisance animal removal – fox, raccoon, opossum, skunk, groundhogs (squirrels – call pest control or licensed wildlife trapper for removal)
- Animal left in hot vehicle
- Sick, injured, and/or abandoned dog or stray cats
- Deceased animals on private property must be properly disposed of by property owner
- Trapping of sick or injured wildlife, wildlife that needs to be euthanized
- Has human been exposed?
- Has pet dog or cat had face to face contact with the wildlife? (Rabies test)
What to Report
- Suspected cruelty (do not confront pet owner – call the WPD for investigation)
- Dog bites (depending on injury, call 911)
- Dog/cat fights (loose and aggressive)
Other Tips for Pet Owners
- Avoid attracting unwanted animals to your property by refraining from “free feeding” (leaving food out) – instead, schedule feeding times for outdoor animals and pick up uneaten food
- Chickens are not allowed in city limits