Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a list of frequently asked questions of Richland County Animal Care. We hope these will answer most of the basic questions you can ask. If you have a more detailed question, feel free to contact us online at:

AnimalCare@richlandonline.com
        or by phone at
        (803) 576-2461


How do I file a complaint?
What are the laws governing animal control in Richland County?
Do I need to license my pet?
My neighbor’s dog barks constantly, what should I do?
What can I do about loose dogs in my community?
Who do I call if I am missing my animal?
An Animal Care Officer picked up by pet; how can I redeem him/her?
What is the cost to redeem my animal?
What is the holding period for stray animals picked up by Animal Care?
Can I surrender my animal to Animal Care and is there a fee?
How many animals can I own?
Can I adopt a pet from Animal Care?
Can I trap stray cats or dogs that come in my yard?
If I own a trap, can I call Animal Care to remove an animal?
Can an Animal Care Officer remove animals from my attic?
My pet has died; will Animal Care dispose of the animal?
Can an Animal Care Officer enter my yard to remove an animal?
How does Animal Care respond to calls?
Can Animal Care recommend a veterinarian?
How can I report an abandoned animal?
How can I report animal cruelty?


How do I file a complaint?
You may file a complaint or request for service by calling the Ombudsman’s Office at (803) 929-6000.
What are the laws governing animal control in Richland County?
You can find the complete text in chapter 5 of the Richland County Ordinances.
Do I need to license my pet?
Residents of Richland County must obtain a license annually for their dogs and cats. See the Licensing page on this website for requirements, fees and forms.
My neighbor’s dog barks constantly, what should I do?
The first action you should take is to speak with your neighbor. You may be able to resolve the problem by discussing it with your neighbor. Your neighbor may not be aware that their dogs' barking is disturbing you. Dogs often bark when their owners are not home. If for some reason you are unable to resolve the problem by speaking with your neighbor, you should contact the Ombudsman's Office at (803) 929-6000 and file a complaint.

The officer will either speak to the owners of the dogs or leave a written notice advising the owners that a complaint has been made. If the problem is not resolved, the Animal Care Officer may issue a citation. You will be asked to testify in court.  You will need to keep a written log of the barking.  Date, time, frequency and duration of the barking is necessary in order to determine if the barking is excessive and unwarranted.  A tape recording or video recording of the barking is also helpful.  You will be asked to provide Animal Care with documentation and recordings before a citation is issued.

What can I do about loose dogs in my community?
 Pet owners in Richland County must not allow their pets to roam unrestrained. You may call Animal Care to remove the animal. Call the Ombudsman's Office at (803) 929-6000 and request to have your complaint investigated. If violations of the ordinances are found, a citation may be issued to the owner or the animal may be picked up. If the animal is picked up the owner pays fees and is issued a citation when redeeming the animal.

If you know the owner's name or other contact information, it is very helpful to provide this information when you call.
Who do I call if I am missing my animal?

Call Animal Care at (803) 929-6000 and give a description of your pet along with your name, address, telephone numbers and the date your pet was last seen. Animal Care will determine if an animal that matches your description was picked up and impounded. It is difficult to identify mixed breed animals due to discrepancies and variations in descriptions. The best way to ensure the safe return of your lost animal is to have your pet licensed by the County.

If your pet is wearing a tag, you will be notified immediately.   If the Officer is unable to access the pet tag information you will be notified by telephone as soon as the information is obtained. Please remember, animals will sometimes lose their tags. There is always a chance the collar may not be on when the animal is picked up.

You may view the animals currently housed in the View Animals page of this website. Contact Animal Care in reference to animals that may not have been posted due to injury or the health of the animal.

You may also view the bulletin board at 400 Powell Road for stray animals picked up by Animal Care Officers.


You should also call or visit the animal shelters and veterinarians in your area.

An Animal Care Officer picked up my pet; how can I redeem him/her?
If you know that your pet is in the custody of Animal Care, please call (803) 576-2461 to set an appointment to redeem your pet. Your pet must be current with his/her rabies vaccination, registered with Richland County and spayed or neutered prior to redemption, see Section 5-8 of Richland County Ordinance. If you recognize your pet on this website, please call Animal Care immediately. 
What is the cost to redeem my animal?

Owners of animals impounded by Animal Care Officers have the right to redeem their pet.   Stray animals are held for five days.  Pets wearing an identification tag are held for fourteen days.  Owners of dangerous/vicious and nuisance animals may not redeem their pets unless authorized by the Department of Animal Care and certain conditions are met or until after a court hearing.

 When redeeming your pet, please bring the following information with you:

    ·   Proof of your pet’s current license

    ·         Proof of current rabies vaccination

    ·         Verification that your pet has been spayed or neutered

 Animals will not be released without proof of vaccination and a current license.  Owners of fertile pets are required to have their pets spayed or neutered before redemption.  You must be at least eighteen years of age and have a valid picture I.D.

 Owners of pets in violation of the animal ordinance will be issued appropriate citation(s).

 Redemption hours are 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Redemption Fees

Redemption

$

10.00

Impoundment

$

20.00

Boarding/Per Day

$

7.00

Veterinarian Fees

Veterinarian Board/Per Day

$

 13.00 - 15.00


License Fees

 Altered

$

4.00

 Unaltered

$

20.00

 

Spaying/Neutering and Rabies Vaccination Fees

The cost of spaying or neutering may vary.  Expect to pay $90.00 – 125.00.

Rabies Vaccination Only

If your pet is in need of a rabies vaccination only, the cost is $14.00.

All fees are collected separately.  Redemption and License fee must be paid with a check or money order.  No cash accepted.

 Identification

Before fees are collected you must physically identify your pet.  Please call our office at 576-2461 to make an appointment to identify your pet.


Any animal, which has been determined to be a dangerous or vicious animal, may be impounded and may not be redeemed unless the County Chief of Animal Care authorizes such redemption. Restrictions will apply if the animal is released.
What is the holding period for stray animals picked up by Animal Care?
Stray animals are impounded and held for five days when there is no County tag or other identification on the animal picked up. An animal wearing a County tag or other identifying tag will be held for fourteen days while efforts are made to contact the owner. Sick, injured, diseased or dangerous animals will not be held or placed in the population of other animals if it has been determined to be unsafe or unhealthy for personnel or other animals.
Can I surrender my animal to Animal Care and is there a fee?
Owners who can no longer take care of their pet or for other personal reasons need to give up their pet may call Animal Care to have the animal picked up. In Richland County there is no holding period for animals released by their owners. Be absolutely sure this that you have made the right decision before calling Animal Care. There is no fee to release your animal to Animal Care.
How many animals can I own?
In Richland County there is no limit to the number of pets a resident can own. Each pet must be licensed with the County. The penalty in Richland County for unlicensed dogs or cats is five hundred dollars ($500.00).
Can I adopt a pet from Animal Care?
No, Animal Control does not adopt pets; many of the animals picked up by Animal Care Officers must be euthanized due to a lack of homes.  Animals that are suitable for adoption can be adopted through Project Pet.  Shelter pets deserve a second chance at a life.   Contact Project Pet at 803-407-0991, Adoption Coordinators are ready to assist you in finding the perfect match for you.

You may also visit Columbia Animal Services at 127 Humane Lane or call 803-776-7387 for adoptable pets. Or you may contact Pawmetto Lifeline at 803-407-0991 or visit www.pawmettolifeline.org.
Can I trap stray cats or dogs that come in my yard?
The County provides traps for citizens to catch stray dogs or cats. Due to the high demand for traps, it may be ten days or more before a trap is delivered. Animal Care will set a trap for wild animals such as raccoons, opossums, and squirrels if the wild animal is damaging your property or is a threat to humans. Only the use of humane traps is permitted.
If I own a trap, can I call Animal Care to remove an animal?
Yes, Animal Care will remove the animal. Only the use of humane traps is permitted. The owner of the trap is responsible for resetting and baiting the trap.
Can an Animal Care Officer remove animals from my attic?
There are some situations involving animals that cannot be handled by Animal Care Officers due to the threat of injury to our personnel. Some services we cannot provide are climbing into attics, going under structures and climbing trees.
My pet has died; will Animal Care dispose of the animal?
Animal Care will dispose of a dog or cat. The owner must place the pet in a double garbage bag and leave it visible for removal. All other animal removals are the responsibility of the homeowner.
Can an Animal Care Officer enter my yard toremove an animal?
Animal Care Officers can enter private property under certain conditions. An officer may enter the property to investigate any violation observed in progress. If an Officer is chasing an animal and the animal runs into the owner's yard, the officer may enter the property and remove the animal if the owner or custodian is not there to properly confine the animal.
How does Animal Care respond to calls?
Animal Care gives priority to situations that are involving the public health and safety of a person or a domestic pet. Loose aggressive dogs, animal bites, animals at large, injured or sick stray dogs or cats, possible cruelty situations, and dogs running in heavy traffic or on school grounds are responded to before nuisance concerns. All complaints including nuisance animals will be responded to within twenty-four hours. This does not include requests for animal traps.
Can Animal Care recommend a veterinarian?
Animal Care cannot recommend one veterinarian over another. We suggest that you ask friends and family to recommend a veterinarian to you with whom they have been satisfied. You may use this link to search for veterinarians in your area. Remember the veterinarians listed are not recommendations of the Animal Care Department.
How can I report an abandoned animal?
If you have knowledge of an animal that has been abandoned by its owner feel free to contact the Ombudsman's Office at: (803) 929-6000 or AnimalCare@richlandonline.com.
How can I report animal cruelty?
Call the Ombudsman’s office 803-929-6000.
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