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City Animal Regulations
  • Adoption - If an animal is not claimed within 7 days, the animal becomes available for adoption.  Our adoption fee for Rio Rancho residents is $89, which includes the spay/neuter of your animal, a rabies vaccination, a microchip, and a city license.  Our adoption fee for non-residents is $85, which includes all of the above with the exception of the city license.  If the animal has been previously spayed/neutered the fee will be either $44 for residents or $40 for non residents.  There may be extra charges if additional surgery is required.
  • Abandonment - Don’t abandon any animals within the city limits, as it is against the law.  Fines can be in excess of $500 and/or 90 days in jail.  Failure to reclaim your animal(s) is also considered abandonment.
  • Barking- City of Rio Rancho has an animal disturbing the peace ordinance 90.22 (A)(1). It requires all owners to control their animals from excessive noise (barking or howling) whether the owner is home or not and maintaining the animals environment as not to create a noxious or offensive odor to the inhabitants of the city.
  • Bite Cases - It is required for you and the victim to report any bite of a mammal, wild or domestic within 24 hours of the occurrence.  90.16 (A)(1) “The owner of an animal that bites a person and a person bitten by an animal have the duty to report that occurrence to an Animal Control Officer within 24 hours.”
  • Cat spay and neuter requirements: Intact Cat Permit 90.19, No person or animal organization may keep, harbor, or maintain within the city limits any cat over the age of 5 months that has not been sterilized (commonly known as spayed or neutered) unless the owner has obtained a intact (unaltered) animal permit. Intact cat permits are subject to meet certain conditions. 
  • Leash Law - Restrain all animals to your property according to ordinance 90.18(A)(1) Confinement of Animals; Running at-large.  Animals that are running at large within the City will be impounded and the owner will be required to pay fees for release and subject to citations. Animals are not allowed to be chained.  Trolley permit is required and conditions apply.
  • LimitsYou are only allowed five animals per household in any combination of dogs/cats/rabbits - 90.20(A)(1) Number of Animals Permitted.
  • Livestock - You cannot own domestic livestock, unless your property is zoned for it.  This includes, farm animals (horses, pigs, goats, sheep, cows), fowl (ducks, chickens, geese, peacocks).  Ordinance 90.29 Domestic Livestock.
  • Lost & Found - Report all lost and found animal’s within the city within 24 hours, 90.46 Strays; Notice Required.   If you find an animal, please bring it to Animal Control or your vet to check to see if the animal has been micro-chipped.  Found animals that are in your possession for more than 7 days, will be considered your responsibility. It is also your responsibility to check the city's shelter for your lost pet.
  • Pet Licenses - City of Rio Rancho's animal ordinance number 90.19(D) requires you to license all cats and dogs annually.  Pet licenses are $2.00 for Seniors Spayed/Neutered Animals, $4.00 for Spayed/Neutered Animal, and $25.00 for Unaltered Animals. Pet license can also be purchased in 3-year increments according to Rabies expiration date.
  • Rabies Shots - Vaccinate your dog, cat or ferrets annually for rabies, as specified in ordinance 90.15 (A)(1) Rabies Vaccinations.
  • Strays - Animals claimed at the Rio Rancho Animal Control Facility will require the following:  The owners must provide current rabies and city license.  If current rabies and city license are not available during reclaim, citations could be issued.  Owners must provide proof that the animal has been altered (spay/neuter/or chemical).  If the animal is not altered, the owner will pay a deposit which is refundable if animal is altered within time specified; other fees applied also including impound and daily board.              
  • Surrendering AnimalsOwners may surrender their animals, if space allows, due to illness for a fee of $30.00 per animal.  The facility does not accept surrenders on the weekends due to space limitations.