Complaints about Nuisance Animals

General Services

Palo Alto Animal Control Officers are on duty 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and proudly serve the cities of Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills only.

Whom to Call

Palo Alto Police & Animal Control: 650-329-2413
Los Altos Police: 650-947-2770
Los Altos Hills Sheriff: 408-299-2311
Unincorporated Santa Clara County, Stanford University, Moffett Field:408-201-0660

Stray Domestic Animals (excluding cats)

Regular, on-duty Animal Control Officers (ACO) will respond. After hours: local police will respond.

Injured or Sick Wildlife

If you have located an injured or sick wild animal, you may call PAPD dispatch at 650-329-2413 and the on duty Animal Control Officer will respond to assess the animal. If you found an animal after the Animal Control Officer is off duty, you can either place the animal in a box (if safe to do so) and bring to MedVet at 601 Showers Dr, Mtn. View at no cost to you; leave the animal in the box overnight and the on duty officer will respond in the morning, or do nothing and an Animal Control Officer will assess when able. (Do not offer food to any wild animal!)

Stray Cats

Healthy stray cats must be confined prior to ACO response or brought directly to the animal shelter.

Aggressive Animals; and Animals in Distress

Regular, on-duty ACO or local police will respond.

Dead Animals

Regular, on-duty ACO will respond to remove animal. ACOs do not go under houses, decks or on roofs. ACOs do not respond for dead deer on private property. Call (800) 847-6454 for removal, property owner is responsible for cost of removal.

Animal Bite Complaints

Regular, on-duty ACO investigate bite complaints and quarantine animals. After hours, local Police will take a report and an ACO will follow up to investigate and quarantine animal(s).

Leash Law Complaints

Regular, on-duty ACOs respond to leash law violations/complaints. After hours, local Police will respond.

Barking dog Complaints

Regular, on-duty ACOs investigate barking dog complaints. After hours, local Police will respond.

Other Non-Urgent Municipal Code Violations (i.e. Pooper Scooper Law)

Palo Alto: Regular, on-duty ACO's investigate complaints of violations
Los Altos & Los Altos Hills: Refer to local Police or Code Enforcement

Animal Neglect and Abuse

Regular, on-duty ACOs investigate sanitation, neglect, abuse, and over-limit complaints. After Hours: local Police will respond and notify ACO if required.

Animal Theft

If you believe someone stole your animal, it is a property crime, call your local Police Dept.

Racoon, Opossum, Skunk, Rat, and Squirrel Nuisance Complaints

No traps or relocation services are available from Animal Control. Call the Santa Clara Co. Vector Control at 1-800-675-1155, weekdays only, or a private pest control company.

Mountain Lion Complaints

  • To report sightings or observations, contact a Palo Alto naturalist 650-329-2382.
  • To report a sighting outside of natural habitat, or an immediate threat to human life, call local Police immediately.
  • To report an incident (an attack or pursuit of humans or pets), or for information on obtaining a "deprivation permit" which allows residents to pursue mountain lions, contact a California Department of Fish & Game warden at 408-429-9252.

Coyote Complaints

  • To report sightings or observations, contact a SCC Vector Control at (800) 675-1155
  • To report an aggressive, sick, injured coyote, regular on-duty and standby ACO will respond.
  • No trapping services available in Palo Alto or Los Altos Hills.

Bee Complaints

Regular, on-duty ACO will investigate complaints of a bee swarms/hives and coordinate removal (if necessary) on public property ONLY. For Bees private property, please contact a removal service at For wasps on private property, call a private pest control service.


Regular on-duty ACO will respond for RATTLESNAKES ONLY, and only when in an area which could threaten humans or pets. Otherwise remove yourself from the area, and the snake should move on. All other native snakes are non-venomous, you may call a private removal company at (800) 339-9470.

Cats in Trees

Animal Control officers do not have ladders. Call your local Police/Dispatch to see if Utility truck or Fire truck is available to respond/access the tree. Sometimes a private tree service will assist. Animal Control Officers will only respond to take custody of the cat. However, most cats will come down from the tree by themselves.

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