Code of the District of Columbia

§ 8–1805. Impoundment.

(a) The Mayor shall impound any dogs, cats, rabbits, or ferrets, the combination of which exceeds 4 animals, or any dogs, cats, rabbits, or ferrets beyond the number authorized in an animal hobby permit issued pursuant § 8-1804.01.

(b) Upon impounding an animal, the Mayor shall make a prompt and reasonable attempt to locate and notify the owner of the impounded animal, including scanning the animal for a microchip.

(c) The Mayor may dispose of any wild, sick, or badly injured animal upon its impoundment.

(d) The Mayor shall provide appropriate vaccinations for each animal upon its impoundment.

(e) The Mayor shall provide appropriate veterinary services for each dog wearing a valid license upon its impoundment.

(f) The Mayor shall deem abandoned any animal impounded and not redeemed by its owner within 7 days of impoundment if such animal is wearing identification. If notice is given under subsection (b) of this section, the owner has 7 days from the date of the notice to claim the animal. Any animal impounded not wearing identification shall be deemed abandoned if not redeemed by its owner within 5 days of impoundment. An animal deemed abandoned shall become the property of the District of Columbia and may be adopted or disposed of in a humane manner.

(g)(1) The Mayor shall not release an animal unless it has received a rabies vaccination in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's rabies vaccination schedule.

(2) Paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not apply to puppies or kittens under 4 months of age.

(h) The Mayor shall not release a sick or dangerous animal to anyone other than a licensed veterinarian until reasonably satisfied that it is safe to do so.

(i) The Mayor shall adopt rules for disposing of animals impounded under this section in accordance with § 2-505.


(Oct. 18, 1979, D.C. Law 3-30, § 6, 26 DCR 765; Sept. 16, 1980, D.C. Law 3-97, § 2(b), 27 DCR 3523; Mar. 17, 1993, D.C. Law 9-236, § 2(b), 40 DCR 614; Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 104(d), 55 DCR 9186; Dec. 20, 2017, D.C. Law 22-37, § 2(g), 64 DCR 11682.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-1005.

1973 Ed., § 6-2405.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 8-1806.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-281 rewrote subsec. (a); and, in subsec. (b), substituted “impounded animal, including scanning the animal for a microchip” for “impounded animal”. Prior to amendment, subsec. (a) read as follows: “(a) The Mayor may impound any animal at large or any dangerous animal.”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(g) of Standard of Care for Animals Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-165, Oct. 23, 2017, 64 DCR 10792).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(g) of Standard of Care for Animals Emergency Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-137, July 31, 2017, 64 DCR 7787).

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of authority under Law 3-30, see Mayor’s Order 83-206, August 2, 1983.