You can find general information about animal regulations in King County by downloading our brochure (PDF).
Animal bites and dangerous dogs
If you are experiencing a life-threatening animal-related emergency, call 9-1-1.
All animals that have bitten, breaking the skin, must be quarantined. Animal bites should be reported to Regional Animal Services of King County. Animals threatening, attacking, or otherwise posing a threat to public safety may be deemed dangerous. Report aggressive animals by calling 206-296-PETS (7387).
Reasons for animal impounds
- Animal running at large or trespassing
- At large is when your animal is off your property and not under your immediate control either by voice, or by leash in leash law areas.
- Trespassing means your animal is on anothers' private property without permission.
- No valid license on animal
- Animals with vicious propensities
- Animals that have threatened, attacked, bitten or attempted to bite a person, or presented an apparent attitude of attack, are subject to impound and possible quarantine
King County and contracting cities require all dogs and cats eight weeks and older to be licensed and for dogs to wear their license tag on their collar or harness.
Licenses are valid for one year from the month of purchase. For information on purchasing a license or the benefits licensing your pet provides, visit our licensing page.
Number of animals allowed
The maximum number of cats and dogs allowed per household depends primarily on your zoning code. Cities each have their own zoning or land use codes. For unincorporated King County, animal zoning is Title 21A of the County Code which varies the number of allowable pets depending on lot size, whether the animals are dogs and/or cats, if they are kept indoors or outdoors, and if they are spayed or neutered.
Regardless of numbers allowed, all dogs and cats must be individually licensed. Also, in most areas, if zoning allows you to possess more than three pets, a hobby kennel license is required from King County Animal Control.
For more information, please call the King County Pet Licensing Section at (206) 296-2712 or your city's zoning/land use department.
Animals may visit most public parks, but must be leashed and controlled while in public parks. Animals may be exercised off their leash only in designated areas in some parks. Check each park for specific rules.
There are many designated off-leash dog parks in King County. Check with your local city to find a location near you, or visit the King County parks page for information on the Marymoor off-leash park.
Regional Animal Services provides animal control services and enforcement for all of unincorporated King County and contracting cities in our service area.
Regulations for unincorporated King County are set out in King County Code - Title 11 (PDF).