Animal Control &
As the county’s largest and busiest shelter with a dedicated animal control team on call 24/7 365 days a year, the ARL is one of the only shelters in Berks County uniquely positioned to handle the management of stray domesticated animals found within contracted municipalities, as well as enforce dog law and handle animal emergencies, including hoarding cases or natural disasters affecting domesticated animals. We’re pleased to offer each municipality in Berks County the opportunity to contract with us on a yearly basis to offer animal control services to its residents.
Residents in contracted municipalities are able to drop off strays at the ARL for no charge, and to receive other animal control services, such as assistance with controlling outdoor-living community cats, access to low-cost microchip and vaccine clinics, and investigation of non-cruelty complaints, such as nuisance dogs.
Residents who drop off stray animals at the ARL are asked to first call the Admissions department at 610-373-8830. Please know that you may be asked to provide proof of residency, such as a driver’s license or utility bill so that we can ensure participating municipalities are billed accurately. Thank you!
What exactly is animal control?
ARL’s comprehensive version of animal control includes 24-7/365-days-a-year coverage* to residents and animals in contracted municipalities. It includes animal holding services (and sometimes transport) for all stray domestic cats and dogs regardless of their behavior or medical condition. Our humane officers enforce dog law, including dog bites, licenses and vaccinations. We support the state and county health department with investigation and confirmation of dog or cat bites or scratches and implement home or shelter quarantines if needed. We handle hoarding cases (which are almost always a biohazard site requiring specialized PPE and equipment) and work to humanely trap, remove, assess, treat, shelter and adopt animals from these homes. We pick up rabid, seriously injured, diseased or dangerous animals. We offer free TNR (trap-neuter-return) services to help people natural reduce the amount of free-roaming cats on their property. We also offer a discount to all residents seeking spay/neuter or microchipping services through our medical services. And, most importantly, we handle all strays in the municipality, allowing residents to drop them off at no charge, where we’ll treat and care for them as we look for their owner or look to find them a new home.
*Overnight/holiday service is provided for aggressive animals or those who are suffering from life-threatening injuries or medical conditions.
But don′t my tax dollars support your organization?
Our budget is funded almost entirely through private donations and fees for our services. We don’t receive federal, state or county tax dollars. We receive a very small percentage of our funds (about 7%) from individual Berks County municipalities who choose to contract with us. Our contracts average $1 per person, per year for comprehensive animal control services.
What do I do if my municipality didn′t contract with you?
When you call us, we’d be happy to guide you to the animal control provider that your municipality chose and your municipal tax dollars support. If that agency is unable to help you, or if your municipality chose not to contract with an animal control provider, please call us back so we can assist you further.
Why do you ask for a donation to bring in a stray animal if I don′t live in an area with an animal control contract?
When your municipality signs a contract with us, your tax dollars are helping to subsidize the care that animals from your township or borough receive at the ARL.
If you live in a municipality that does not have an animal control contract (or has another provider), we kindly ask for a small donation to help subsidize the animal’s care while at the ARL. While we are always grateful for donations above the $50 we suggest, we promise we’ll never ask you to cover the entire cost of the animal’s care while at the ARL; we’ll cover the rest with the general donations and fees that we receive.
Do you catch loose animals?
Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to catch personal pets or stray pets or retrieve them from trees or from under sheds, etc. In our contracted municipalities, if an animal is injured or threatening a person or property, we will assist your police department with the capture of these animals at large. For all municipalities, regardless of contract, we offer trap rentals as well as a variety of tips to help you. Please call to discuss your situation and concerns with one of our staff members to see how we might be able to assist you.
Do you provide animal cruelty and humane investigation to animals in non-contracted municipalities?
Yes! We provide animal cruelty and humane investigation throughout Berks County regardless of contract status. While we always encourage you to contact us with any concerns you have about the treatment of animals, our animal control or humane police officers cannot remove animals from people’s homes without legal justification to do so. Our jurisdiction is in Berks County; for concerns with animals in other counties or states, please contact either the police or the humane police organization that covers the area where that animal lives.
Do you pick up deceased animals?
Unfortunately, we are unable to pick up deceased animals or dispose of them; however, we are willing to scan them for a microchip or provide cremation services to you (please see fees on this page). If you suspect the animal died as a result of cruelty or neglect, please contact us so our humane police officers can open an investigation.
No matter where you live in Berks County...
…If you are concerned about a stray animal, a lost pet or the mistreatment of animals, we encourage you to call us at 610-373-8830 to discuss your options. Thank you!