What We Do
Loudoun County Animal Services humane law enforcement officers are responsible for enforcing Virginia State laws and Loudoun County and town ordinances that pertain to animals. In addition, humane law enforcement officers are responsible for providing emergency services to the entire county and in all the towns 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Humane Law Enforcement Communication Center
The Loudoun County Animal Services Communication Center, staffed by three full-time dispatchers and assisted by customer service staff, answers calls regarding humane law enforcement and animal control Services. To reach the Communication Center to enter a complaint or report an animal-related concern, call 703-777-0406. An option to leave a message after business hours is available.
Humane Law Enforcement Services
- Enforcement of county, state and town laws dealing with domestic animals, 24 hours a day 365 days a year
- Investigation of animal cruelty and neglect
- Investigation of animal fighting
- Investigation of dog attacks to humans and domestic animals
- Investigation of abandonment
- Enforces confinement of animals in vehicles
- Regulation and inspection of kennels and pet stores
- Response to wildlife that pose a threat or has had contact with a person or domestic animal
- Response to sick or injured companion animals
- Assists police and fire-rescue personnel
- Rabies vaccination and dog license enforcement
- C.A.R.E Program
- Removal of stray dogs from streets and public areas
- Perform technical animal rescues such as ice and swift water rescue
From Animal Control to Humane Law Enforcement
Loudoun residents may have noticed that a division within the Department of Animal Services that was once called Animal Control is now referred to as Humane Law Enforcement.
Over the past decade, the roles and responsibilities of officers dedicated to the protection of domesticated animals has changed drastically. The focus of our officers has shifted to a more public safety-oriented position. Our officers play a vital role, not only protecting the animals in our community, but also society as a whole.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation began tracking animal crimes in 2016, and does so through the National Incident Based Reporting System, which lists animal abuse as a “crime against society.” The leading law enforcement agency in the nation accepts the abundance of empirical data linking animal abuse and familial/societal violence. This acknowledgement further supports the notion, that if an animal is abused or neglected, it is the entire community that is negatively impacted.
Our officers investigate animal cruelty cases every day of the year, some of which are particularly heinous. These investigations range from severe neglect, -leaving animals in dire need of immediate medical care - to cases of intentional abuse, animal fighting and animal sexual assault.
In 2019 the department investigated, on average, 1.5 cruelty cases each day, resulting in over 1,800 responses by our officers, in addition to routine matters such as animal bites, stray pets and wildlife welfare calls.
Our officers have the power to enforce all state and local laws for the protection of domesticated animals and by law must interfere to prevent the perpetration of any act of cruelty upon any animal in their presence. As part of their authority they have the power to issue a summons and obtain felony arrest warrants as well as general search warrants. Their authority also allows them to obtain and execute animal cruelty search warrants if they have reasonable cause to believe that the laws in relation to cruelty to animals have been, are being, or are about to be violated, in any particular building or place.
In addition to investigating these crimes, our officers also investigated over 700 dog bites in 2019 and responded to a total of 3,700 complaints that carried possible criminal charges.
The days of merely rounding up stray animals is well behind us, and although it is still a task we perform with pride, our officers are also highly trained professionals investigating and enforcing the county and state laws which they are sworn to uphold. The title of Humane Law Enforcement Officer most accurately describes the day-to-day duties that are carried out by the men and women who protect Loudoun County’s animals and our residents.