“DC Animal Control Cites Wrong Address, Wrong Dog, What to Do?”

wrong dog
Photo by PoPville flickr user bajidc

“Dear PoPville,

Yesterday I received notice, through my mail slot, that someone had filed a complaint with animal control alleging my (tiny) dog had bit them, and requiring me to present my dog for a health inspection twice, once immediately, and once in six months. Thing is, the dog described is the wrong color and wrong size, and moreover neither I nor the dog were home on the date of the alleged incident.

Anyone have any experience dealing with this? I’m hoping to hear about it before I give animal control a call to sort this out.”

13 Comment

  • Seems like this should be straightforward if your dog clearly doesn’t match the description. If it were me, I’d just call Animal Control.
    When you say “through your mail slot”… did this arrive as USPS mail? Or was it a loose notice that the deliverer just placed through the slot?

  • anonymouse_dianne

    The officer should have, per my recent experience about my cats, left a business card. Call them back.

  • Don’t underestimate the ability of DC government officials to disregard facts like this and make terrible, awful decisions. Because your dog’s life/welfare could in theory be at stake, I would go to any lengths needed to avoid showing up with your dog for that inspection unrepresented by a lawyer.

    • This is so true. I was once cited for my neighbors trash cans left in the street after collection, when mine were clearly in my yard. The photo included with the citation showed the trash cans in my yard too. When I called the official, she said to ignore the citation and she would take care of it, which of course didn’t happen and I was forced to appear in court.

      • west_egg

        This is one of the things that frustrates me the most about this city — low-level government representatives who quite simply could not possibly give any less of a damn, whose actions have consequences for average residents ranging from inconvenience to financial hardship.
        Speaking of which — I was surprised the other day when my Amazon Echo news briefing mentioned the 2-year-old who received the littering violation. Sounds like that one is being overturned…

    • I was going to say the same thing. This is easily remedied under the normal rules of common sense and good governance—which means your dog is in grave danger.

    • DC Animal Control are contracted with the city but they are not DC gov’t officials. Hiring process is completely independent. They do, however, have to implement DOH laws–they’re contracted with the city– and operating under the account of the reporting individual they are legally obligated to pursue a bite report.

      All this is is a request to present the animal, which they’ll do a check at the person’s home, and it should be an easy case of “not my dog.”

  • This happened to me once, but I was the one who was bitten by the dog. They thought my own dog had bitten me. One quick call to Animal Control straightened it out. I did, however, have all of the contact info for the offending dog and was able to redirect Animal Control. Anyway, I found Animal Control to be very helpful and responsive in my case.

  • If they cited the wrong address and the wrong dog, ignore the notice. It wasn’t meant for you. You can always if you’d like drop the notice off at the right address.

  • The purpose of checking your animal is to verify if in fact it was your dog, check on current vaccinations and verify a current DC Dog license. Simply ignoring the issue is not only childish but irresponsible. If its not your dog cooperate so Animal Control can focus on locating the proper biting dog. Remember Animal Control does not just show up at your door steps, someone or somebody has given them information that lead them to you.

  • Just call and explain the situation and that there’s been a mistake. I’m sure it’s frustrating, but you will get resolution much faster if you handle it immediately rather than wait to see what others experiences – which may or may not apply to your situation – are.

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