Welcome to the City of Albuquerque

HEART Ordinance Information

The HEART Ordinance, or the "Humane and Ethical Animal Rules and Treatment," is the City animal ordinance.

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The Humane and Ethical Animal Rules and Treatment (HEART) Ordinance

If you do not want to spay or neuter your companion animal, you must purchase an intact animal permit for $150.

Citations are being issued to people whose animals are not in compliance with the ordinance. The penalty is up to $500 and/or 90 days in jail as determined by a Metro Court judge.

Read the HEART Ordinance text.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does this Ordinance apply to me if I live in a surrounding county?

Yes, if your pet is impounded at the City of Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department. 9-2-2-3 Section C: states; "No companion animal owned by a person who lives in Bernalillo County or the surrounding counties of Valencia, Sandoval, Cibola, Santa Fe and Torrance shall leave any Animal shelter including Animal Welfare without being altered as provided here within."

Is my animal required to be spayed or neutered?

Yes, dogs over the age of six months and cats over the age of five months are required to be altered. Exemptions are granted only in cases due to health issues as documented by your veterinarian. Low cost spay and neuter programs are available. The City also is providing free spay and neuter services to qualified low income. Call 311 to find out if you qualify.

If I take my dog for a walk, is there a leash length requirement?

Dogs should not be on a leash longer than 8 feet accompanied by a person able to control the animal.

Is my pet required to be microchipped?

Yes. Your pet must be microchipped. If a pet is lost, the microchip will provide information on how to find the owner. The Eastside and Westside Animal Welfare locations provide microchipping services during business hours at a cost of $15 per pet microchip. For seniors 65 years of age or older or qualified low income, the pet microchip is free. In order to receive a microchip, you must bring your pet, have proof of ownership, and personal identification with proof of address, if other than what is on your ID.

How many pets can I have?

The ordinance allows Albuquerque residents to own six pets, of which no more than four are dogs.

If my animal is picked up by Animal Welfare, will I be able to reclaim my pet intact?

If an intact companion animal with a current intact animal permit is impounded twice by Animal Welfare, the intact animal permit will be revoked and the intact companion animal will be required to be altered. If an intact companion animal is impounded twice and must therefore be altered, the permit holder shall pay Animal Welfare to alter the companion animal.

How much does an intact permit cost?

The price for an intact permit is $150 per animal. It must be renewed each year.

How much does a litter permit cost?

The fee for a litter permit is $150 and is good for six months.

What are the requirements to adopt an animal from the Animal Welfare Department?

You have to be 18 years of age and meet the requirements of a qualified adopter.

Who is a qualified adopter?

  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Has never been convicted of any form of cruelty under any law.
  • Has never been convicted two or more times for any violation of the HEART Ordinance or any preceding animal ordinance.
  • Has never had any animal related permit revoked or suspended.
  • Has never failed to reclaim an animal from the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department.
  • Has not surrendered an animal within one year of the time of adoption.
  • Has never been convicted of child or domestic abuse.

Is my animal required to have a City license?

Yes. All animals must be licensed if you live within the City limits. The license must be renewed annually.

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