Animal Control FAQ

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  • What to do if I see a dead animal in the roadway

    The City of El Cajon uses Dead Animal Removal (DAR) to remove deceased animals from the roadway. DAR can reached directly at 619-390-8204 or you can call the ECPD Communications Center at 619-579-3311.
  • What do I need to license my dog?

    New License
    Licenses are based on the current and past rabies vaccinations. For a puppy or a dog you have just obtained with no prior medical records, the rabies vaccine is good for 1 year.
    Renew License
    All subsequent rabies vaccinations are good for three years. We must have proof of a prior rabies vaccine as well as the new rabies vaccine. Your vet will fill out a form with the rabies information and date and sign it.
    Please bring a current CA driver’s license or ID, past records of rabies vaccination, record of spay/neuter.
  • Does my dog need a license?

    If you live within the City Limits of El Cajon, you must license your dog in person or by mail at 1373 N. Marshal Ave., El Cajon, CA 92020.
    Within the city limits of La Mesa licenses can be obtained at La Mesa City Hall (619) 667-1117.
    Within the unincorporated areas of San Diego licenses can be obtained through the San Diego County Animal Services at (619) 236-4250 or
    Dogs must be licensed between the age of 4 to 5 months, or within 30 days of moving to or acquiring a dog in the City of El Cajon. You must RENEW your current El Cajon license within 60 days of the current license expiration. As a courtesy, Animal Control sends reminder notices to those who need to renew.
  • What do I do if I lost a pet?

    If you have lost a pet, please come to the shelter and look in person. We cannot tell you what animals are here over the phone. Lost and Stray animals continually come into the shelter.

    We scan all animals for a microchip when they come into the shelter. If it has a chip or comes in with tags, we will contact you. Please make sure your information is current with the microchip company.

    Animals that come into the shelter as strays usually go up for adoption after 4 days. The days we are closed are not counted.

    Other things to help in your search:

    • Post an ad in the local paper
    • Place flyers in your neighborhood
    • Bulletin board at the Shelter where you may post your lost pet information alongwith a picture no larger than 4”x5”
    • Look through a listing in the found book at the shelter.

    Pets can travel long distances in a short amount of time. Please contact the other shelters outside of El Cajon as your pet may have been picked up in their jurisdiction.

    • San Diego County Animal Services, Bonita
      • 5821 Sweetwater Road
      • 619-236-425
      • Lakeside and unincorporated areas
    • San Diego Humane Society   
      • 5480 Gaines St.
      • 619-299-7012
      • Imperial Beach, City of San Diego and Santee
    • Chula Vista Animal Shelter, Chula Vista,
      • 130 Beyer Way
      • 619-691-5123
      • Lemon Grove, National City, Chula Vista

  • What do I do if I found a pet?

    If you have found a pet in the City of El Cajon or La Mesa, please bring it to the El Cajon Shelter. Pets are considered personal property. The shelter is the first place people look for their lost pets. If the pet has a microchip, we will scan the animal and be able to contact the owner directly.

    Should the owner not claim their pet, you may sign up to adopt the pet yourself. Stray animals are usually adoptable after 4 days.

    Also check the shelter’s Lost book and bulletin board,craigslist, and newspaper lost and found to help reunite the pet and the owner.

    If you physically cannot bring the animal in, call 619-579-3311 and a dispatcher will send an Animal Control Officer to pick up the animal.

    Within the La Mesa city limits, please contact 619-667-1400 and a dispatcher will send the La Mesa Animal Control Officer to pick up the animal.

  • How much is a dog license?

    Dog License Fees

    Type 1 Year 2 Years 3 Years
    Altered Dogs $20 $25 $30
    Unaltered Dogs $30 $40 $50
    Late Fee $15
    Replacement/Transfer Fee  $5


  • How do I contact an Animal Control Officer?

    Call 619-441-1580. Leave a message with your information for an officer to contact you. If the shelter is closed, Dial 0 and you will be connected to the El Cajon Police Department who will have an officer contact you.
  • How do I complain about a noisy animal?

    Please send a letter to the Shelter stating your name, address and phone number along with the exact address of where the problem animal is located, and a brief description of the problem. You must be willing to appear in court regarding your complaint if there is a need to prosecute.

    For more information, please click here.

  • How long do we keep animals?

    All adoptable animals are kept as long as they remain healthy and retain an adoptable temperament.
  • How much does it cost to adopt a cat or dog?

    The adoption fee for dogs and cats is $80. All are spayed or neutered, given their initial vaccinations and micro chipped. The shelter frequently has rabbits, reptiles, rodents and birds available for adoption. Fees vary.