0631.70 Investigation of Animal Problems

Administrative Rules Adopted by Bureaus Pursuant to Rule Making Authority (ARB)
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631.70 Investigation of Animal Problems


  • DIR 640.13 Drug Lab Procedures
  • DIR 870.40 Prisoners’ Animals
  • DIR 900.00 General Reporting Guidelines
  • DIR 1010.00 Use of Force
  • ORS § 498.016 Taking Crippled or Helpless Wildlife


1. The purpose of this directive is to establish guidelines for the handling of animal related calls. While the Portland Police Bureau receives calls to respond to animal problems, Multnomah County Animal Control (MCAC) is responsible for the investigation of all complaints regarding domestic animals and the enforcement of animal related laws. Issues concerning animal cruelty or managing protective custody of prisoners’ animals should be directed to MCAC. For situations involving wildlife animals, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is the managing agency and will be notified to respond.


1. Member Responsibilities.

1.1. For non-emergency situations, members will refer a complaint and/or problem regarding noisy, dangerous, loose, abandoned, sick, injured, and dead animals to MCAC. Police units will not be dispatched for situations involving barking dogs, dog bites where the animal is presently contained, cats on a roof, strays, loose livestock, etc., unless the animal is creating a hazardous condition.

1.2. In situations involving non-domestic animals (e.g., deer, raccoons, etc.), members may contact ODFW for assistance.

1.3. In emergency situations where an aggressive animal poses a threat to public safety, members will take appropriate action to deter or prevent the animal from doing immediate harm to a person(s)and, when time and circumstances permit, notify MCAC or ODFW or advise the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) dispatcher to notify either agency.

1.4. Members will take appropriate action to save the life of an animal they reasonably believe is in danger (e.g., breaking a car window to extract an animal trapped in a hot car).

1.5. Members may be called to respond to traffic accidents involving animals and in situations where an animal is injured or dead and is creating a traffic hazard. Upon arrival of MCAC, ODFW, or the Oregon Department of Transportation personnel, members should remain at the scene to assist, if requested.

1.6. Members have the option of calling MCAC to take a prisoner’s animal into protective custody at the scene or impounding the animal and transporting it to the Central Precinct animal holding cage in accordance with Directive 870.40, Prisoners’ Animals.

1.6.1. In situations where MCAC is requested to take a prisoner’s animal into protective custody at the scene, members should request from a prisoner a name and contact information for someone who can pick up the animal if they are unable to. Members will then ensure that MCAC personnel are provided with the name and address of either the owner or the party designated by the owner for subsequent retrieval of the animal.

1.7. Members will not contact privately contracted animal retrieval companies directly. These companies provide after-hour response under contract with MCAC. However, members may refer individual pet owners to MCAC or these companies (if known) for services at the individual’s own expense.

2. Response to Vicious or Aggressive or Badly Injured Animals.

2.1. Directive 1010.00, Use of Force, governs all uses of force, including force used on animals.

2.2. Members encountering vicious or aggressive animals may use a bureau issued less lethal weapon to stop an animal under the following conditions:

2.2.1. When the animal presents an immediate danger to the life or personal safety of the member or other persons.

2.2.2. When the animal interferes with the safety of the members or the execution of a police function or completion of a mission.

2.2.3. When necessary to secure an animal.

2.3. Members may use their firearm to end the suffering of a badly injured animal and no other humane disposition is available.

2.4. Members will exhaust all other practical means of containing or capturing a vicious or aggressive animal before discharging their firearm. If time allows, members will obtain permission from a supervisor.

3. Notification and Reporting.

3.1. Members who discharge their firearm at an aggressive animal or to end the suffering of a badly injured animal shall write an appropriate report, which will be reviewed by a supervisor in accordance with Directive 1010.00, Use of Force.

3.2. Members who use a less lethal weapon on an animal shall document the use of force in an appropriate police report.

3.3. Members who discharge a firearm at a vicious or aggressive animal or to end the suffering of a badly injured animal shall contact the Service Net to arrange for disposal of the animal.

3.3.1. For disposal of domestic animal remains, members will request MCAC to respond.

3.3.2. For disposal of wildlife animal remains, members will notify ODFW for the appropriate response and disposal in accordance with state Fish and Wildlife Commission regulations.

4. Warrant Service.

4.1. Members will assist MCAC in warrant services when the animal control officer has knowledge of a potential problem and requests Bureau assistance to serve the warrant. Members will also assist if the animal control officer encounters a problem and immediate assistance is required.


  • Originating Directive Effective: 09/06/01
  • Last Revision Effective: 06/06/17
  • Next Review Date: 06/06/19

Upcoming and Recent Changes

0631.70 Investigation of Animal Problems

Effective Date

0631.70 Investigation of Animal Problems posted for Second Universal Review 

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