Headquartered in New York City, the ASPCA provides critical services, care, and resources for animals in need through adoption, fostering, veterinary and spay/neuter services 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?

Thank you for opening your heart and home to an animal in need! Visit our Adoption Center page for information on adopting ASPCA dogs and cats in NYC. Here are some quick links:

You can also visit one of the Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) shelters during their adoption hours to adopt a pet.

Does the ASPCA offer veterinary care?

Learn more about ASPCA veterinary and spay/neuter services in New York City.

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

Suspected incidents of animal cruelty 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?

For information regarding our spay/neuter services, visit our ASPCA Veterinary and Spay/Neuter Services in NYC page.

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. A consultation fee may apply 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 Centers of NYC (ACC) is no longer able to pick up stray cats and dogs. If the animal is tame and you are able to provide transport, please visit this page for more information on suggested next steps.

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.

If you’ve found a kitten outside, please use our online tool to determine the best steps to take.

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

Thank you for your concern about New York City’s community cat population. The ASPCA endorses Trap-Neuter-Return-Monitor (TNRM) as the only proven humane and effective method to manage community cat colonies. Click here to learn more about community cats and how you can support them.

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

Do pet stores selling animals in New York City have any particular limits or responsibilities?

Pet stores in New York City may sell any species of animal that is not expressly prohibited from ownership by federal, state or local law (please see the following FAQ for a link to a list of NYC’s forbidden species).

Additionally, New York City pet stores are not permitted to sell or give away rabbits as of April 2016 or guinea pigs as of April 2023. Currently, dogs and cats sold by New York City pet stores must be microchipped and spayed/neutered prior to sale and can be sourced only from breeders holding a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) “class A” license. Learn more about the city’s updated pet store law at

Beginning December 15, 2024, a new state law will take effect, ending the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores across New York State.

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 this document 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 pet parents are responsible and do clean up after their pups, there are certain problem areas, usually on less densely populated streets.

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 Centers of NYC (ACC) 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
  • Wild Bird Fund (birds and mammals): (646) 306-2862

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 searching online. 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.