ACC field officers help keep NYC communities safe and rescue animals in need. The Field Operations Division of ACC responds to calls from the public and government agencies, seven days a week from 8AM-8PM.
Important: If you are experiencing an animal emergency, please call 911 immediately.
If you have a non-emergency animal situation that requires an officer to be dispatched, please call 311.
Public Health Issues:
Rats, West Nile Virus, Bed Bugs, Avian Flu
- New York City's Office of Veterinary Public Health Services provides information and resources to NYC residents and visitors to promote optimal the best health for them and their pets. You can visit their website on issues regarding rats, West Nile virus, bed bugs, avian flu and other public health situations in NYC.
Deceased Animals in a Home or on the Street
- ACC does not pick up deceased animals in your home or on public streets and highways. You can bring your owned deceased pet to one of our Care Centers. There is a $50 fee for this service. If you are not able to bring your deceased pet to one of our Care Centers, you should wrap your pet in a black plastic bag (please doublebag) and affix a sign on the bag which reads "Deceased Animal Inside," and place the bag outside for Sanitation to pick up. If you find a deceased animal on the street, sidewalk or highway, please call 311 and give the exact location where the animal is located. 311 will transfer you to the appropriate agency to make arrangements for pick up.
ACC is committed to assisting animals and their humans in NYC during a natural disaster. We are part of NYC's Emergency Management Animal Planning task force and are responsible for rescuing animals in the field and for managing the sheltering system for homeless and abandoned animals.
ACC encourages all pet owners to incorporate your animal into your family's disaster plan. Make sure that you have a place to go with your pet in case of evacuation and always make sure that you have current identification on your pet so that if he or she gets lost or separated from you, you and your pet can be reunited.
Community and Feral Cats
ACC recognizes that community cats are a challenge throughout the five boroughs and is committed to participating in effectively and humanely controlling their population. Community cats can include social, owned cats, abandoned strays and feral cats – really, any cat living outside that has an established and sustained lifestyle can be considered a community cat. Animal Care Centers of NYC believes that the most effective solution is a comprehensive program that includes:
- Community education about spay/neuter and keeping socialized cats indoors. Having your pet cat spayed/neutered helps keep that from happening as well as staying up to date on your cat’s vaccines. If you are in need of assistance with this ACC has resources to help. Additionally, it is the law in NYC that if you are going to let your cat out, it must be spayed/neutered.
- Policy change. As this concept of community cats is embraced it may be possible to enact legislation geared towards helping keep these cats safe and healthy.
- Adoption of tame strays into new homes. ACC does not pick up stray cats unless they are involved in an animal bite or cruelty situation, or if they're sick or injured, however, we do accept them at our Animal Care Centers.
- Shelter, Neuter, Return (SNR) of cats from the community back to their home in the community. As cats are found living successfully in the community and brought into the shelter by well intending citizens, they may be identified as good candidates to return back to the community. ACC partners with rescue groups with a community cats mission, who may facilitate this process, providing them medical services such as spay/neuter, vaccination, and ear tip, before returning them to their outdoor homes. Cats brought to the shelter have a national reunification rate of only 2%. That means that 2 out of every 100 cats find its way back to its home after coming to the shelter. In contrast to this, cats lost in the community are 18 times more likely to find their way back home.
- Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) of community cats. Through TNR, cats are humanely trapped and sterilized, given vaccines and basic wellness care, and then placed back into the community in which they were living. Volunteer caretakers then provide food, water and clean, unobtrusive shelters for the cats.
Though it may seem against logic to allow cats to remain living outdoors, there are some real, data supported reasons to do so. National studies have shown that when cats are removed from an area, more cats move in. If you sterilize the population, you will stop the constant flow of kittens and the colony will actually keep other cats from moving into the area. Having cats in an area can also help prevent nuisance animals from moving in as well, such as rodents or raccoons. Eventually, through the natural life cycle, the colony population will decrease. TNR also helps to stop many of the undesirable behaviors including loud mating, territorial fights and spraying. TNR:
- Stabilizes the population.
- Is more effective and less expensive than attempts at extermination.
- Eliminates or reduces annoying behaviors like spraying, yowling and fighting.
- Is the humane thing to do. Anyone who suggests inhumane and/or illegal methods of cat population control may be prosecuted according to the law.
- TNR increases community immunity against rabies and other diseases.
Most people do not associate New York City with wildlife. That is unfortunate, because New York City is home to many wild species, including various rare (raptors, waterfowl, Redtail Hawks, loons, owls, turtles, amphibians), endangered (Piping Clover) and threatened (Peregrine Falcons) species.
ACC field services only responds to wildlife calls for the following reasons:
- The animal represents a significant risk to humans, or has bitten a human;
- The animal is sick, injured or trapped and is on the federal endangered species list; or
- Specific request for help from appropriate governmental agency;
- For helpful ways to address wildlife concerns, please look at these websites to better understand how to safeguard yourself and your family while protecting the indigenous wildlife in New York City.
- If you find an injured animal that needs help, locate a NYS licensed wildlife rehabilitator or call 311.
- If you were bitten or exposed to a rabies vector species including bats or raccoons, contact NYC Department of Health.
- If you have a problem with pigeons, seagulls, squirrels or raccoons, contact the Department of Environmental Conservation at 718.482.4922 for assistance, or visit them online here.
- If you have a wild animal in your home, contact a private wildlife removal service.
- Reports of beached, sick or stranded marine animals such as seals, turtles, dolphins and whales should be referred to the Riverhead Foundation at 631.369.9829, or visit them here.
- For rescue of injured swans that are out of the water, contact the Department of Environmental Conservation at 718.482.4922 for assistance, or visit them online here. You may also contact the Coast Guard for assistance.
Animal Cruelty Services
If you think someone is abusing animals, you can help. The best thing you can do is report cruelty.
Anyone wishing to report animal abuse in their neighborhoods can call Crime Stoppers. Crime Stoppers offers rewards of up to $2,500 for tips - including those reported anonymously - that lead to arrests and indictments for animal cruelty cases in the city Crime Stoppers hotline is 1-800-577-TIPS or online at www.nypdcrimestoppers.nyc.gov. All calls are kept confidential. NYC residents may also call 311 to report suspected animal cruelty. To report crimes in progress in any borough, please call 911.
Top 10 Tips for Reporting Animal Cruelty
Animal cruelty occurs when someone intentionally injures or harms an animal or when a person willfully deprives an animal of food, water or necessary medical care. Here are some signs that may indicate abuse or neglect:
- Wounds on the body
- Patches of missing hair
- Extremely thin, starving animal
- An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal
- Dogs who are repeatedly left alone without food and water, and often chained in a yard
- Dogs who have been hit by cars-or are showing any of the signs listed here-and have not been taken to a veterinarian
- Dogs who are kept outside without shelter in extreme weather conditions
New York State law makes the following illegal under its animal cruelty and related laws for any animal, including strays and wildlife:
- Animal fighting
- Injuring, maiming, or killing any animal
- Depriving an animal of necessary food or drink
- Failure to provide adequate shelter (for dogs left outdoors)
Although ACC does not have law enforcement powers, we are key players in the documentation, investigation, and prosecution of animal cruelty cases. ACC field officers are often the first responders on scene where evidence of animal cruelty may be present and we provide care for hundreds of animals each year who have been the victims of abuse and neglect.
Animal hoarding is harmful to the welfare of both humans and animals. In every state, animal hoarders can be prosecuted under animal cruelty laws that require owners of companion animals to provide proper care for their animals. Because failure to provide proper care for animals is an act of omission or neglect rather than an affirmative act, animal hoarding is considered a misdemeanor offense in most states.
If you suspect that someone you know may be involved in hoarding, please call 311 or Crime Stoppers hotline 1-800-577-TIPS or online at www.nypdcrimestoppers.nyc.gov. All calls are kept confidential.
For more information about animal hoarding and the law please click here.
Dog Bites & Aggressive Animal Services
ACC picks up owned animals that have bitten or are aggressive when requested by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) or a local police official. Fill out this form to report a bite to the DOHMH, or visit the DOHMH website for more information on reporting an aggressive animal. If ACC picks up an animal that was involved in a biting situation, we are holding it as a Care Agent only. The release of the animal to the owner, the declaring of an animal dangerous, or deciding not to release an animal back to his owner is based on DOHMH's investigation and potential court involvement and will be decided on by DOHMH once the investigation is complete. ACC only releases the animal once we get notice from DOHMH that it is okay to do so.
- Why Dogs Bite
- Preventing Your Dog from Biting
- DOH Bite Flyer
- Bite Prevention Flyer
- Vaccination Information
- Rabies Information