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0631.70 Investigation of Animal Problems

Administrative Rules Adopted by Bureaus Pursuant to Rule Making Authority (ARB)
Policy number
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0631.70 Investigation of Animal Problems


  • ORS § 498.016 Taking Crippled or Helpless Wildlife
  • DIR 0640.13, Drug Lab Procedures
  • DIR 0870.40, Prisoners’ Animals
  • DIR 0900.00, General Reporting Guidelines
  • DIR 0905.00, Non-Force After Action Reporting
  • DIR 1010.00, Use of Force


1.      This directive establishes guidelines and procedures for managing animal-related calls.

2.      Although 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 animals belonging to people in custody should be directed to MCAC. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is the managing agency for situations involving wildlife animals.


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 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 an animal belonging to a person in custody into protective custody at the scene or impounding the animal and transporting it to the Central Precinct animal holding cage in accordance with Directive 0870.40, Prisoners’ Animals.

1.6.1.      In situations where MCAC is requested to take an animal belonging to someone in custody, members should request from the owner 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, Aggressive, or Badly Injured Animals.

2.1.   Members encountering vicious or aggressive animals may use a Bureau-issued less lethal weapon to stop an animal when the member reasonably believes:

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

2.1.2.      The animal interferes with the safety of the members, the execution of a police function, or completion of a mission.

2.1.3.      When necessary to secure an animal.

2.2.   Members may use their Bureau-issued firearm on a vicious or aggressive animal to stop what the member reasonably believes is an immediate danger to the life or personal safety of the member or other persons.

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

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

3.      Notification and Reporting. 

3.1.   Members who use a less lethal weapon on or discharge their firearm at an aggressive or badly injured animal will notify their supervisor as soon as feasible and will complete an appropriate police report including their justification.

3.2.    Supervisors will review members’ use of less lethal weapons or firearms and complete an After Action in accordance with 0905.00, Non-Force After Action Reporting.

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.

Effective: 03/16/2024

Next Review Date: 03/16/2026

Upcoming and Recent Changes

0631.70 Investigation of Animal Problems

Effective Date

0631.70 Investigation of Animal Problems

Effective Date

0631.70 Investigation of Animal Problems posted for Second Universal Review 

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