Be a Responsible Pet Owner

Why Should I Be a Responsible Pet Owner?
Each year millions of homeless animals are taken in by shelters around the country; millions are neglected and inhumanely treated and millions are euthanized.

Pet overpopulation problems affect people as well as animals:

  • Cost to taxpayers for animal control services
  • Spread of disease both among animals and between animals and humans
  • Incidents of animal bites
  • Damage or destruction to property
  • Traffic accidents involving animals
  • Abuse of animals which often leads to human violence

To combat this situation we are asking you, the public, to help us reduce the number of stray, unwanted and, at times, abused animals by:

  • Making a lifetime commitment to care for your pet
  • Keeping your animals under restraint when off your property
  • Contacting Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter at 831-454-7303, when you see stray, roaming animals
  • Reporting any violence and cruelty towards animals to Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter at 831-454-7303
  • What is a Responsible Pet Owner?
    Being a responsible pet guardian and good neighbor includes the following: 

  • Providing proper basic care which includes food, water, shelter and veterinary care ... it’s the law!
  • Vaccinating your animal against rabies and purchasing a license tag for your dog as prescribed by the County ordinance ... it’s the law!  Vaccinations provide preventative treatment so animals can be protected from deadly diseases like distemper, parvovirus, and rabies. 
  • Keeping animals under restraint ... it’s the law! When on your property, dogs should be securely and safely contained. When off your property and not otherwise contained (ie: fenced dog park), dogs need to be restrained on leash. This will prevent them from roaming at-large which could result in them becoming lost, injured or stolen.  
  • Spaying or neutering your pet … it’s the law! Don’t let your pet contribute to the pet overpopulation problem. With millions of unwanted animals born each year, spaying and neutering is the most effective and preventative solution in controlling pet overpopulation. Also, not only is it healthier for your dog, it also helps eliminate behavioral problems.
  • Providing proper identification for your pet through a license tag and a microchip (permanent identification).
  • Removing feces—be prepared to pick up after your pet ... it’s the law! Feces left behind can become a health hazard as well as a nuisance on your property, in your neighborhood, and in the parks we enjoy with our dogs.  
  • Providing training for your pet. Positive reinforcement training between you and your dog, and socialization with other dogs and people fosters communication between you and your dog. It also makes for happy, well-adjusted, outgoing dogs who are valued and trusted members of the community. Positive training methods also strengthen the human-animal bond built on trust and cooperation.

Help Spread the Word About the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter!
Educate your community about the only open-door animal shelter in Santa Cruz County!!! 

Explain where to go for lost and found pets in Santa Cruz County. Encourage responsible pet ownership such as spay/neuter, leash and licensing laws. 

If you know someone who is thinking of getting a new pet, tell them about the wonderful animals available for adoption at our shelters or through our animal placement partner organizations. 


  • The more people who know where to go to look for a lost pet, the more animals will be reunited with their owners. 
  • The more people who are responsible pet owners and follow laws, fewer animals will end up at Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter.
  • The more people who know about the work we do and the wonderful animals available for adoption, the more homeless animals will be adopted and the more lives will be saved.