Animal Control FAQ

Animal Services FAQ


Q:  What do I do if I find a stray animal?
A: In the city of Des Moines, call the Des Moines Police Department dispatch line 24/7 to dispatch an ARL Animal Services Officer during scheduled hours or a police officer during off hours.  

If you are able to confine the animal to a garage, or other safe area until an Animal Services Officer arrives, that will help to ensure the animal is safely brought back to the shelter. You may also find it more convenient or faster to bring the animal to ARL Animal Services during open hours.

All stray animals that arrive at the ARL are placed on within 24 hours.

Outside of Des Moines, call your non-emergency police department line.

Q:  What do I do if I have lost my pet?
A: Visit the Lost & Found section of our website.

Q:  How are the fees to reclaiming an animal set?
A: The Des Moines City Council sets the fee structure for all animal service fees. If you have your pet spayed/neutered, microchipped, licensed, and rabies vaccinated, you will have the lowest fees possible in the event your animal is ever found "at large".

Q:  What are the reclaiming fees?
A: Contact ARL Animal Services at (515) 284-6905 to discuss the fees for your specific pet or stop by in person during open hours. Some fees increase each day, so it is important to act quickly to avoid additional fees.

Q:  What happens to an animal if not reclaimed?
A: Animals that are not reclaimed within the city's "stray hold time" are then transferred to the ARL to enter our adoption program.

Q: Does the ARL sell animals to research facilities?
A: No. The ARL has never sent pets for research and will not in the future.

Q:  Are there any spay/neuter programs available to residents of Des Moines?
A: The ARL has several spay/neuter programs available, based on ZIP code and income.

Q:  Can I get someone to speak to my neighborhood association in Des Moines about animal issues?
A: Email to request a presentation.

Q:  What should I do about injured wildlife?
A: ARL Animal Services will take injured and sick wildlife calls within the city limits of Des Moines. Call dispatch at (515) 283-4811. Outside of city limits, contact your animal services department first and if unsuccessful, you can try one of our Wildlife Rehabilitation Partners.

Q:  Do you have microchipping services?
A: Yes. Click here for dates/times.

Q:  What constitutes animal abuse/neglect?
A: Learn more about our Cruelty Intervention program here.