Animal Protection & Services Unit


The Roanoke Police Department constantly strives to protect and serve all members of our community – whether they be our two-legged or four-legged residents. Unfortunately, our Animal Protection and Services Unit is facing a staffing shortage that impacts our ability to provide the best service possible to the animals of this city. In order to maximize our efforts and serve the animals who need us the most, we are modifying our response to certain animal-related calls for service. For the immediate future, we have to focus current staff and our efforts on helping the animals that are most in need of our services: those that are sick, hurt, neglected, abused, or in immediate danger.
Therefore, these are some of the calls for which we will no longer provide an in-person response:
Stray/loose animals 
Wildlife on your property
Animals that you have detained or safely caught 
***NOTE: We will still respond to all calls involving animals that are hurt or have injured others.***
We ask the public to assist us during this time by transporting strays or lost/found pets to the shelter and working with our partners to get them back safely to their homes and owners. If you are able to catch a stray pet, you must immediately contact the Regional Center for Animal Care and Protection for tracking purposes. That number is (540) 344-4922.
We know that we have an amazing community and many partners who will help supplement our work while we do our best to fully staff the Animal Protection and Services Unit.
Thank you for your help and patience with us as we try to do what is best for the animals in our community.
For further assistance with the calls that we are no longer responding in-person to, please reach out to our community partners:
Angels of Assisi  -- (540) 344-8707

Found and Lost Pets

Found Pets: If you find a stray dog or cat, you can take it to the Regional Center for Animal Care and Protection at 1510 Baldwin Ave, or call the RCACP for assistance at (540) 344-4922.

Lost Pets: If you are missing your pet, please contact the Regional Center for Animal Care and Protection at 344-4922 or in person at 1510 Baldwin AVE NE and make a lost pet report. If you believe that wardens have impounded your pet, please call the RCACP or search their website for a photo of your pet:


Sick, injured or orphaned wildlife: The Animal Wardens do not handle wild animals. We partner with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) to provide humane options for sick, injured or orphaned wild animals. If you find a wild animal you believe is sick or injured, you can contact a licensed wildlife rehabber in your area. Virginia DWR has a complete and current listing of all licensed wildlife rehabilitators in the State by location:

For further information on orphaned or injured wildlife, visit:

Animal Bites

Exposure Reports: Per the Virginia Department of Health, any bite or scratch from an animal that breaks a person’s skin requires a rabies exposure report. If the injury was caused by a wild animal, Animal Wardens will attempt to locate the animal and send it to VDH for testing. If the injury was caused by a dog or cat, Animal Wardens will attempt to locate the animal and place it on a 10 day quarantine period to observe for signs of illness. VDH’s Environmental Health Department handles these incidents. For information about Rabies please visit the Virginia Department of Health website. 

If the bite was from a dog, Animal Wardens will investigate the incident to determine if any charges need to be filed. If your pet was injured by a dog, contact Animal Wardens at 853-2411 or 911. 

Rabies Vaccinations and Dog Licenses

Rabies Vaccine Requirements and Dog Licensing: The Commonwealth of Virginia requires that all dogs and cats over the age of 4 months have a rabies vaccination. All dogs over 4 months old must be licensed in the jurisdiction where they live. The City Treasurer’s Office handles dog licensing. Learn more about Dog Licenses

Applicable Laws

For further information, all of the City of Roanoke Code can be viewed and searched at:

  • 6-23cc Running  at large prohibited
  • 6-26cc Barking or howling dogs
  • 6-11cc Public nuisance animals
  • 6-13cc Cleaning up after animals
  • 6-40cc Unlicensed dogs
  • 6-62cc Rabies vaccinations required for dogs and cats over 4 months old
  • 6-27cc Limitations on keeping dogs
  • 6-116cc Limitations on keeping cats
  • 6-117cc Rabies vaccinations required for cats over 4 months old

For further information, all of the Code of Virginia can be viewed and searched at:

  • 3.2-6503 Care of animal by owner
  • 3.2-6504 Abandoned animals
  • 3.2-6540 Dangerous dogs
  • 3.2-6570 Cruelty to animals
The Roanoke Police Department's Animal Protection and Services Unit is made up of seven full-time Animal Wardens who strive to work together with citizens of the City of Roanoke to make a difference in the lives of the animals in our community. Led by a Senior Animal Warden, the RPD Animal Wardens are fully trained to help you in all of your animal protection and services needs.

Education and prevention are two of the main objectives of the unit. RPD Animal Wardens are always here to ensure that you receive the correct information when it comes to animal welfare and pet laws. The RPD Animal Wardens are not trained to handle wildlife calls and partner with Virginia Conservation Police to make sure those incidents have an adequate response. To reach an Animal Warden, call 540-853-2211. For emergencies involving pets and other animals please call 911.