FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are your operating hours?
Tuesday thru Saturday 9am - 5pm
Tuesday thru Saturday
10am - 4:30pm
Assisted Shelter Walk-throughs begin at 11am
Monday thru Friday
8am - 5pm
After hours and weekends are emergency calls only.
TO RECLAIM A PET
8am - 5pm
Thursdays until 6pm
Where are you located?
752 Lovejoy Rd NW, Fort Walton Beach, Fl 32548
What are your services as Animal Control?
Animal Control Officers enforce Okaloosa County Animal Ordinances and the ordinances of the municipalities within Okaloosa County that we are currently contracted with to do so. Our Animal Control Officers work hard to address the root causes of animal issues and provide resources and neighborhood-based programs to support the needs of each community they serve. During regular service hours, Animal Control Officers handle the following:
Cruelty to animals
Dog & Cat attacks and bites
Illegal fighting of animals
Animal welfare checks
Rabies vaccination violations
NOTE: We do not service the following municipalities:
City of Crestview - Please call 850-682-2055
City of Laurel Hill – Please call 850-652-4441
Town of Valparaiso – Please call 850-729-5400
How long will it take for an Animal Control Officer to respond?
Response time will depend on the severity of the call and amount of call volume.
What is considered an emergency?
Emergencies are life threatening conditions such as aggressive animals, animals that have bitten someone, injured or sick stray animals, and all bite cases.
Can I remain anonymous?
Yes. However, in doing so, you have to provide an exact address to respond to and provide more information about the circumstances of your call. We will investigate based on information provided. We respond to anonymous calls for the protection of the animal. If it is determined that the initial call is unfounded (has no merit), follow up anonymous calls about the same thing may not be responded to without the caller leaving their name, address and telephone number.
Is this where I pay my citation fine?
No. But you will find the locations on the back of the citation. You will need to pay fines at one of the County Court Houses.
Is there a leash law in Okaloosa County?
Yes, the leash law can also be found in Ordinance 92-25 and states that all dogs and cats must be confined to the owners property unless on a leash and/or accompanied by a responsible person.
Can you bring me a trap?
We lend out traps to residents. We can place you on our waiting list and when a trap becomes available you will be notified of the date, time of when you will receive the trap. These traps are issued on a Monday and have to be returned by close of business on Friday of the same week. You will be responsible for any damages to the trap or if the trap goes missing, a trap agreement must be signed at the time of receiving of the trap. Animals that you catch while you have the trap, simply call us at 850-243-1525 option 1 and we will send an officer out to remove them. There is no charge for servicing the trap.
I need a trap now! Is there any other place where I can rent, purchase or borrow a trap?
Yes. We can give you a retailer near you where you can rent a trap for a small fee. You can purchase traps at places like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Harbor Freight, etc.
If I get a trap elsewhere and catch something where do I take the animal?
Dogs and cats may be taken to the PAWS animal shelter located in Okaloosa County. However, you do not have to take the animal anywhere. Call us and we will come out to your home and remove the animal free of charge during normal business hours.
In what situations are you able to remove an animal from a home?
If an owner keeps their dog(s) confined to their property and complies with animal ordinances we cannot take any action against the owner to include taking the person’s dog from them. Animals are technically property and cannot be taken without due process of law. If the dog is violating the leash laws or other County Ordinances, we are able to handle the violation(s) appropriately. Officers must witness violations or a resident who has witnessed a violation must provide our department with a properly prepared notarized affidavit.
I’ve lost my cat or dog, what do I do?
First, make sure you drive around the neighborhood, post on social media and utilize appropriate websites for lost pets. If you feel your pet may have been brought to our facility, please check our website, www.paws-shelter.org, and come check in person at our facility. Our site shows up-to-date information and photos of all pets within our care. Also, ensure to call your microchip company and confirm all information is up-to-date. All pets are scanned for a microchip upon arrival and the owners contacted immediately.
I have a snake in my yard and do not know what kind it is or where it is now. What should I do?
Don’t panic. Usually they are just passing through. There are 33 different species of snakes indigenous to Okaloosa County. Only four of these snakes are venomous. It is not uncommon to see snakes. Snakes usually don’t stay in one place very long. If you want someone to come out and search for snakes there are Animal Removal Services listed online in your area that you may hire to provide this service.
My neighbor’s dog escapes frequently. What can I do?
If you have a chronic problem with a neighbor’s dog getting loose and/or chasing you, get to safety and call us. If the dog is out when we arrive on scene we may impound the dog. We will speak with the owner and take other action as may be necessary when the officer arrives on scene.
My dogs like to ride in the back of my truck, what are the laws regarding him riding back there?
If your dog is riding in the back of a pickup truck it needs to be restrained by a minimum of two tethers fixed to opposite sides of the vehicle and attached to a collar or harness being worn by the animal. The animal can also be confined in a humane manner inside a locked animal carrier mounted in the bed of the truck in such a way as not to slide out or fall off the truck.
I just bought a dog from someone and it was sick (or it died) is there a law against that?
Yes. The Pet Lemon Law provided protection to consumers; you should call the Department of Agriculture at (410) 571-8692 or (800) 435-7352.
My dog unfortunately bit a neighbor. What now?
Call animal control immediately. In Florida, when a dog or cat bites or scratches another person or animal it must be placed on quarantine no matter what the rabies vaccination status is. The questions are for a bite report we are required by law to fill out. Be patient and cooperate with the officer. You should also analyze why the dog bit and what you should do to prevent future incidents of this type.
Can you come and get an alligator that is swimming around in my pool?
The Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission at (888) 404-3922 will be the agency to call if an alligator is a nuisance or poses a danger.
There is a baby bird on the ground hopping around under a tree can you come out and put it back in the tree?
The best bet is to leave it alone. Baby birds fall out of trees as they learn to fly. The parents will still feed and tend to it on the ground but not if it becomes the center of human attention. So watch out for neighborhood cats and let nature take it’s course. If the bird is in danger and you can’t reach the nest you can make a temporary nest by hanging a flowerpot from a branch in the same tree and putting the bird in it. The parents will feed and care for the bird in the new nest; contrary to the “old wives tale” birds do not smell human contact. Or, call the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge at 650-1880.
I saw an injured crane with a broken leg or missing leg, Can you come get it?
Birds with a broken leg, which still have the capability to fly, are best left alone. As long as the bird can fly it can sustain itself. Trying to catch a bird, especially the larger sea birds, can do more damage to the bird than leaving it along. If a bird has a broken wing or cannot fly because it is to weak then it can be helped. You should call the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge at 850- 650-1880 for first response.