FAQ

The ASPCA operates various programs and services in the New York City area, including our Adoption Center, Animal Hospital, Spay/Neuter Clinic and more. Read on for answers to commonly asked pet-related questions from NYC residents.

Programs & Services at the ASPCA

Where can I adopt a pet in New York City?

The ASPCA Adoption Center, located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, is open for pet adoptions Monday through Friday. Please visit our Adoption Center page for more information.

You can also visit one of NYC Animal Care and Control's shelters to adopt a pet.

Does the ASPCA offer veterinary care?

The ASPCA Animal Hospital, located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, provides high-quality veterinary care for pets. We offer animal wellness, emergency services and advanced health care to pets in the New York City area. Please visit our Animal Hospital page to learn more, or call (646) 259-4080.

How can I report cruelty to animals in New York City?

Cruelty situations involving animals in New York City should be reported to the NYPD. If you live in NYC and need to report animal cruelty, please call 311. For crimes in progress, please dial 911. Abuse of any kind should be reported to the appropriate authorities immediately. Visit our Report Animal Cruelty page to learn more.

Where can I get my pet spayed/neutered in NYC for free/low-cost?

If you live in NYC, the ASPCA Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinic offers free/low-cost spay/neuter surgery for dog and cat owners in need, but they must provide proof of public assistance, such as a Medicaid card. Please contact our hotline at (212) 876-7700, ext. 4303, or check our mobile clinic calendar for a listing of dates and locations in all five boroughs.

Pet Care & Well-Being

Where in New York City can I go for emergency pet care late at night and after regular business hours?

You may wish to contact the following veterinary clinics that provide 24-hour service:

Animal Medical Center
(212) 838-8100
510 E. 62nd Street, between FDR and York Aves.
Open 24 hours

Manhattan Veterinary Group
(212) 988-1000
240 East 80th, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues
Open 24 hours

If you suspect your pet may have been poisoned or has ingested a toxic substance, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), a national telephone hotline, available 24 hours a day/7 days a week. It is staffed by veterinarians and board-certified veterinary toxicologists. There is a $65 charge for this lifesaving service. The phone number is (888) 426-4435.

Where can I find a pet transportation service in New York City?

For pet transportation in New York City, you may wish to contact Pet Chauffeur at (212) 696-9744 or (866) PETRIDE. Mention that you were referred by the ASPCA and receive a 10-percent discount on your ride! The Pet Taxi also has been used by clients of the ASPCA; please call them at (718) 335-9665 for your pet ride.

I found a stray cat or dog in New York City. What should I do?

Due to funding cuts by the Department of Health, Animal Care and Control (AC&C) of New York City is no longer able to pick up stray cats and dogs. If the animal is tame and you are able to provide transport, you may bring him or her to any of AC&C’s five shelters/receiving centers.

Please exercise caution when interacting with an unfamiliar animal—do not approach any stray animal exhibiting odd behavior or signs of aggression. If the animal appears to be potentially dangerous or sick, please report it by calling 311.

I’d like to get involved in helping stray cats in New York City.

Thank you for your concern about New York City’s feral cat population. The ASPCA endorses Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) as the only proven humane and effective method to manage feral cat colonies. We work closely with Neighborhood Cats , and we are a member of the NYC Feral Cat Initiative. You can learn more about TNR in New York City here. For info on how you can help in your area, please also consult Neighborhood Cats and Alley Cat Allies.

Especially for Dog Parents

Do I have to get a license for my dog in New York City?

In New York City (and many other areas in the country), licensing your dog is the law. To apply for a dog license, visit the website of the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) or call 311 to reach the DOHMH’s Dog Licensing Unit. You may also obtain an application from a veterinarian, animal shelter or pet shop.

Please note, you can’t get your dog a license unless you have the paperwork to prove that he or she has received a rabies vaccine, so make sure you save all your pet’s veterinary records. The New York City Health Code requires every dog owner/walker to be able to produce proof of current dog license and rabies vaccination while in public—the easiest way to do this is to affix to your dog’s collar the vaccination tag from your vet and the city license tag you’ll receive in the mail from the DOHMH. Violation of these laws may result in fines.

What are the leash laws in New York City, and how do I find out which parks have off-leash hours?

In New York City, dogs must be on a leash when in public places. The leash cannot be longer than six feet. Failure to comply with the leash law can result in a ticket from authorized employees of New York City’s Departments of Health, Sanitation, or Parks and Recreation. Please call 311 to report an unleashed dog.

In December 2006, the New York City Board of Health approved legislation to formally allow supervised dogs to play unleashed in certain city parks between 9:00 P.M. and 9:00 A.M. Please visit the NYC Parks Department to view a list of parks, by borough, that participate in this program. This site also offers loads of valuable information for New York City dog owners, such as a listing of dog runs and when and where you can take your dog to the beach!

Local Laws & Services

Which species are illegal to own in New York City?

Species that are considered wildlife or endangered are not permitted to be kept, possessed, harbored or sold in New York City. Ferrets, iguanas and tarantulas are among these species:

Article 161 (“Animals”) of the Health Code outlines exactly which species are forbidden. Please view the document here [PDF] to read the full list.

Who should I call about too much poop on my neighborhood streets?

In 1978, New York State passed the Canine Waste Law (Section 1310 of the New York State Public Health Code) requiring city dog owners to scoop the poop. While most urban pet parents are responsible and do clean up after their pups, there are always a few bad seeds in the Big Apple—and there are certain blocks, usually on less densely populated streets, which seem to attract this breed of dog owner.

To report such problem areas, please either call 311 or fill out this online form provided by the Department of Sanitation (DOS).

The DOS takes this problem seriously, writing hundreds of tickets to Canine Waste Law violators every year. However, if you have contacted the DOS several times and seen no improvement to the dog poop problem, consider contacting your community board and your representative on the New York City Council.

My neighbor’s dog barks constantly! To whom can I complain?

Complaints about barking dogs in New York City can be made to the Department of Environmental Protection at 311.

I found an injured wild animal in New York City. Who can I call for help?

Please know that the ASPCA does not have certified wildlife rehabilitators on staff, nor do we have wildlife experts or a wildlife department.

Likewise, Animal Care and Control (AC&C) of New York City will not remove raccoons or opossums from properties; however, it does accept pigeons, gulls, starlings, sparrows and squirrels at any of its facilities.

The following organizations in and near New York City will assist wildlife and/or offer resources:

  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation: (718) 482-4922
  • Volunteers for Wildlife (Long Island): (631) 423-0982
  • New York Herpetological Society (reptiles and amphibians): (212) 740-3580

For animals found in city parks, please call Urban Park Rangers at (800) 201-PARK.

In some situations, it may be necessary to contract the services of a professional company that can remove nuisance animals from your residence. Humane services may be found by calling the organizations mentioned above, or by looking in your local yellow pages. The ASPCA urges you to use only those services that offer responsible and humane treatment of animals.

For further information on this topic or a list of wildlife rehabilitators in the New York City area, please call 311.