Frequently Asked Questions
My pet is missing. What should I do?
Where do I report a stray animal?
To report a stray animal, see our Get Help page.
Does Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC) investigate and respond to nuisance wildlife problems?
No. RASKC has jurisdiction over domestic animals, such as cats and dogs, and livestock such as horses. Wildlife falls into the jurisdiction of the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. This includes deer, raccoons, coyotes, cougars, and bears. Contact the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife at 425-775-1311 for wildlife-related issues or visit wdfw.wa.gov (external link).
Does Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC) pick up dead or injured animals?
RASKC has jurisdiction over domestic animals in our service area, such as cats and dogs, and livestock such as horses. We only pick up dead domestic animals from the roadway. Outside the limits of incorporated cities, King County Roads (206-296-8100) will respond to dead large game (such as deer) located within the maintained road right-of-way. Neither RASKC nor King County Roads pick up small wild animals such as rabbits or raccoons.
Other wildlife falls under the jurisdiction of the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). This includes coyotes, cougars, and bears. Contact WDFW at 425-775-1311 for wildlife-related issues or visit wdfw.wa.gov (external link).
Does Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC) pick up dead or injured birds?
Injured pet birds should be taken by the owner to their veterinarian. Found pet birds, such as parakeets, parrots, and cockatiels can be brought to the King County Pet Adoption Center in Kent.
RASKC does not handle dead or injured wild birds. Dead crows can be reported to the Seattle-King County Public Health Environmental Health Division at 206-205-4394.
I see a dog in my neighborhood that is always outside and never seems to get any attention. Is that animal cruelty?
A number of factors determine whether a case constitutes animal cruelty. It is best to contact RASKC with your complaint to make sure it is properly reviewed. In general, the law states that a person can not inflict unnecessary suffering or pain on an animal. It also states that the animal must have shelter, food, water, rest, sanitation, space, and medical attention if needed.
RASKC wants all animals to have the love of its owner and time for interaction with people, but this is not a requirement under the law. Unfortunately, dogs that are not given love and interaction frequently become problems in other ways (such as barking, escaping, or digging) due to boredom and neurosis.
Does Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC) rescue cats trapped in trees?
No. RASKC does not rescue cats trapped in trees. In almost all cases, the cat will come down on its own in time. Encourage the cat to come down by putting some attractive-smelling food at the base of the tree, like tuna fish. The smell of the food will attract the cat’s interest and the cat will come down to eat. You can also call a local tree service to get the cat down – they have the proper equipment to safely rescue a cat.
What should I know about pets being inside cars in the summer?
Never leave pets in parked vehicles for any length of time. On a warm day, the temperature in a vehicle can reach 120 degrees or more in a matter of minutes, even with the windows cracked. Dogs and cats can't perspire and can only dissipate heat by panting and through the pads of their feet. Every summer, animals left in parked cars suffer brain damage and die from heatstroke.
Citizens who witness an animal in a hot parked car should call RASKC at 206-296-PETS (7387).
What should I know about pets being outside during the summer?
Follow these simple tips to protect your pets in warm weather:
- Provide plenty of water and shade for your pets so they can stay cool and hydrated during the warm weather.
- Spay or neuter your unaltered dog. The number of dog bites increases during warm weather, and spaying or neutering reduces the likelihood that your dog will wander or bite, along with providing other health benefits.
- Make sure your pet is licensed. If you are separated from your pet, an up-to-date King County pet license will help ensure that your animal is returned to you. Not only will you be notified if your lost pet is found, your pet will get a free ride home the first time it is impounded.
- Be careful with the use of fertilizers and other products around the lawn and garden. Plant food, fertilizer, and insecticides can be fatal if your pet ingests them.
- Though pets need exercise even when it's warm, take extra care when exercising older dogs, short-nosed dogs, and dogs with thick coats. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours. Remember that asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws.
- Summer is flea and tick season, so make sure you use a flea and tick treatment recommended by your veterinarian.
What should I know about pets being outside during the winter?
Pets need extra care when temperatures fall. Give your dog, cat and other pets a safer, healthier winter season by following these suggestions:
- During cold, wet weather, keep pets inside or limit the time that pets stay outside. Provide outdoor pets with a dry, warm secure shelter out of the wind such as a garage or insulated pet house. Even dogs that normally spend most of their time outside need good shelter in cold weather, even if it is only a garage.
- Gently towel or blow-dry your dog or cat if he or she gets wet from rain or snow. Check between the pads of their feet for clumps of ice or snow.
- Be alert to frostbite, which can be a winter hazard. Contact your veterinarian if you suspect your pet has frostbite. Frostbitten skin may turn reddish, white, or gray, and it may be scaly or sloughing.
- Cats and kittens often nap on warm car engines and hoods. Knock on the hood or honk the car horn before starting the engine.
- Pets like the smell and taste of antifreeze but even a small amount can kill them. Clean up spills at once, and store securely away from pets.
- Always have fresh, clean water available for pets. This is as important in the winter as it is in the summer. Your dog or cat is just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer. Snow is not a satisfactory substitute for water.
- Keep your pet warm, dry and away from drafts. Make sure your pets have blankets or pads on cold floors.
- Groom your pets. Pets need well-groomed coats to keep them properly insulated.
- Feed your pets extra food if they spend a lot of time outdoors or if your dog is a working dog - staying warm in cold weather requires extra energy.
- Consider a sweater for short-coated breeds such as greyhounds and Chihuahuas before taking them outside. Also, realize that if sweaters get wet, they can actually remove heat from an animal's body.
- Do not leave your pet alone in a car. It gets too cold and carbon monoxide from a running engine is dangerous.
Like people, dogs and cats are more susceptible to illnesses in the winter. Take your pet to your veterinarian if symptoms occur.
If I leave my pet outside in the winter, is that considered cruelty?
Leaving your pet outside in the winter in itself is not considered cruelty. Other factors come into play. For example, if you left the animal outside without shelter or food or water, that could constitute cruelty.
Where are the leash laws in effect?
In general, the leash laws are in effect in all urban areas in King County. It doesn’t matter whether the urban area is part of a city or in unincorporated King County, the leash laws apply. Urban areas are defined as lot sizes of 15,000 square feet (approximately 1/3 acre) or smaller. The leash laws are not in effect in the rural areas of King County. In those areas, the dogs must be under voice control.
How do I submit complaints about barking dogs or other noisy animals?
How do I stop my dog from barking?
Does Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC) issue pet licenses door-to-door?
Yes. King County canvassers issue temporary license tags for your dog(s) and/or cat(s) right while they are at your doorstep. This is a great convenience to you, and provides great protection for your pet. Canvassers may visit you if you live anywhere in our service area.
Pet licensing canvassers have official King County photo identification and wear bright blue polo shirts or windbreakers or a winter jacket with the pet licensing logo. Summer and fall hours are generally Sundays 1 to 8 p.m., Mondays - Fridays 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Door-to-door marketers accept payment and issue license tags for your dogs and cats right while they are at your doorstep. When a door-to-door canvasser comes to your door, please welcome him or her.
What can you tell me about microchips?
Implanting a microchip in your pet saves lives and reunites lost pets. The microchip is permanent and provides excellent back-up identification along with your King County pet license.
Your pet's new microchip number will be registered with King County, along with your pet's license record. To keep our records on your pet current, it is important that you notify RASKC if you move, change phone numbers, or transfer your pet to a new owner. Call 206-296-2712 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to report any changes.
You have the option to register your pet's microchip number with a national database for an additional fee. If your pet travels with you outside King County, this would offer additional protection. You will find more information on this in the packet provided by the veterinarian or technician who implants the microchip.
Microchips are made of silicon and can be inserted in almost any animal, including cats, dogs, horses, reptiles, birds, and small mammals. The chip, which stores a numeric code, is fastened to a miniature antenna that transmits the radio signal containing that code. The silicon chip and antenna sit inside a tiny sealed container. The chip is the size and shape of a grain of rice.
The chips - technically called transponders - are injected between the shoulder blades through a needle for dogs and cats. The procedure, which takes less than 5 seconds, generally does not hurt very much, about as much as a regular shot. The chips are designed to stay just under the skin and cannot move into the blood stream or pass through the digestive tract. The chip cannot get absorbed, it just stays in the shoulder blade area.We recommend that your pet remain quiet and not be encouraged to run and jump for 24 hours after the procedure.
The electronic code corresponds to your contact information within the pet license database. Unlike a tattoo, your contact information can be updated within the database if you move or change phone numbers (the chip does not have to be touched). The microchips don't have batteries that run out, or any other kind of internal power source for that matter, so you never need to replace parts. In fact, they're made to last longer than the pets' lifetime.
Where can I obtain a free or low-cost spay or neuter for my pet?
There are several organizations in the Puget Sound region that offer low-cost or free spay/neuter services. Click here to learn more, and download our brochure (PDF) to find out more about the benefits of spaying and neutering your pet.