Frequently Asked Questions

Commonly asked questions about services, spay/neuter, licenses, mircochips, fees, etc.

HEART Ordinance

Have questions about the HEART Ordinance? View the HEART Ordinance FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

If I lose my pet, can you tell me if it is at Animal Welfare?

Yes, if it's wearing a tag or has a microchip. You can view all of the animals at Albuquerque Animal Welfare by clicking on the Search Lost Pets link on our homepage. You can also search other area shelters for your lost pet via a link to Pet Harbor's Pet Search

Animal Reclaim

The fees associated with reclaiming your pet can vary significantly and depend on whether or not your pet has been previously impounded, spayed/neutered, licensed or vaccinated and the number of days your animal has spent in our shelter. Other fees may apply when reclaiming your animal.

Please be sure to:

  • Have proof of animal ownership (license, vaccination or photo)
  • Have proof of vaccination (if applicable)
  • Have a valid driver's license or photo ID with your date of birth, and proof of your current address. Must be over 18 years of age. About Animal Reclaiming
  • Seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Animal Services accepts payment by cash, check, VISA, MasterCard, and American Express.

About Animal Reclaiming

Seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • Residents must bring proof of ownership to reclaim.
  • A valid Photo ID is required with proof of address if other than what is on the ID.
  • If your dog is spayed/neutered and has never been impounded fees will be waived.
  • Otherwise fees typically apply and must be paid at the time of reclaim.
  • Credit cards will not be accepted after regular shelter business hours.
  • All animals must be sterilized before release; if your pet is not already sterilized, it will stay at the shelter and have surgery on the next available date.
  • Some situations require special approval and must occur during regular shelter business hours.
  • Only animals that already have a valid intact permit or animals from counties other than Bernalillo, Valencia, Torrance, Santa Fe, Sandoval, or Cibola, will be released unsterilized.

If I Reclaim my pet and it is sick or injured, what should I do?

AWD veterinarians will assist your pet, after Reclaim, with any issues DIRECTLY RELATED TO SURGERY PERFORMED AT AWD such as redness or swelling at the incision site, bleeding from the incision site, or infection at the incision site. Rechecks for surgery-related issues are seen by appointment only within 10 days after the Reclaim date at the East side facility Monday through Friday between 2 pm and 4 pm unless the issue is an emergency. Emergencies include: heavy bleeding, white gum color, surgical incision open more than 1 inch, animal is unconscious or not responsive, fever over 104 degrees, seizures. AWD veterinarians WILL NOT see your pet for any other health related issues after Reclaim. This includes, but is not limited to, kennel cough, diarrhea, vomiting, injury. You must see your regular, private vet for any medical issues after reclaim that are not related to sterilization surgery performed at AWD.

If I Adopt a pet and it develops a health-related problem after adoption, what should I do?

A very important part of owning a pet is developing a relationship with a private veterinarian that you know and trust. We encourage you to have your new pet be seen by your veterinarian whenever possible. Unfortunately, the shelter cannot pay for ANY private veterinary care bills. If you do not yet have a private veterinarian, the shelter provides a list of veterinarians in the Albuquerque area who will provide help with sick animals and often a free initial exam.

What forms of payments will Animal Welfare Accept?

Animal Welfare can accept:

  • Cash
  • Personal check with ID
  • VISA
  • MC
  • American Express
  • Discover
  • Gift Certificates from Animal Groups/approved by Animal Welfare

Do I need a City license for my pet?

City of Albuquerque residents are no longer required to obtain a City Pet license, but are still required to have their dogs or cats vaccinated, microchipped, and spayed/neutered. Rabies vaccinations are automatically uploaded into the Animal Welfare system if they are administered by a Vet in the CIty of Albuquerque. If administered by a vet outside of the City the paperwork needs to be brought, or sent, into Animal Welfare.

What about Breeding permits?

Under the new HEART ordinance there are no longer Hobby Breeder Permits.

What about Litter Permits?

To obtain a Litter Permit, come to Animal Welfare and pay the Litter Permit fee of $150.00. All female intact companion animals must have an Intact Animal Permit and be licensed and microchipped or otherwise permanently identified before a litter permit will be issued.

Should I report an animal bite?

Yes, call the Animal Welfare Department at 768-1975. Please report the following:

  • Physical description
  • Color
  • Size
  • Breed
  • Location of occurrence

Biting animals are held in confinement for 10 days or signed over to Animal Welfare for rabies testing. If bitten, seek medical attention immediately.

What do I do if I want a copy of a complaint report or other information?

Any person may submit their request to inspect public records to the Office of the City Clerk by clicking on the following link to request records using our ABQ Records portal, in person at the Office of the City Clerk, or by mail.

Requests could include items such as copies of a complaint report or citations issued. The charge for these reports is $0.50 per page and it may take up to 3 days to provide you with the information, but in many cases we can handle your request immediately. If your request is classified as "burdensome" per the NM Inspection of Public Records Act, we will send you a letter asking for 15 days to respond.

What should I do if I see a sick, injured or dead animal in Albuquerque?

Call the Animal Welfare Department at 768-1975.

Can I arrange a tour of the shelter?

Yes, you may call 764-1164 for information.

Can I arrange educational presentations?

Yes, you may call 764-1164 for information.

Are there items which I can donate to the shelters?

Yes, we accept dog houses in good condition, pet care books, blankets, towels, canned food, and toys that can be disinfected.
Monetary donations can be made to the Albuquerque Kennel Kompadres, the charity arm of the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department. Please call 897-0464 or 764-1164 for more information or mail your donation to 8920 Lomas Blvd. NE. All donations will be used directly for the health and well being of the pets.

If I want to adopt a pet that I have found and taken to the shelter do I have first rights?

You can put a $10 Priority Adopt Hold on a healthy animal that is classified as a stray, then you would have first rights to adopt the animal once it becomes available. You must adopt the animal by 5 PM on the day it becomes available or you forfeit your $10 and your rights to the animal, otherwise the $10 will apply to the adoption fees. No holds or interested parties are taken for injured or sick animals that come in as a stray.

How long are animals kept before they are available for adoption?

Animals with identification are held for owner pick up for a minimum of seven days and the owner is contacted by phone. If the owner does not make contact within this time frame, the animal is made available for adoption.

Animals without identification are held for 4 days for owner pickup before being made available for adoption.

Does Animal Welfare euthanize animals?

Yes, animals are sometimes euthanized. The primary cause of unwanted animals is the failure of pet owners to spay or neuter their dogs and cats. Microchipping or other good identification on a dog or cat can help the Animal Welfare Department reunite pets with owners before the animals get in harm's way.

Can I adopt an animal from the Animal Welfare Department?

Yes, see our page on adoption requirements.

If you change your mind shortly after an adoption, returning an animal that was adopted from the Animal Welfare Department must be done by the adopting party.

When can I bring my adopted pet in for its rabies shot?

If your puppy or kitten was too young to receive its rabies shot when you adopted it you can bring it back for its rabies vaccination once it is at leastIf your puppy or kitten was too young to receive its rabies shot when you adopted it you can bring it back for its rabies vaccination once it is at least four months old. Rabies clinics are held:

  • At the Eastside location: 8920 Lomas NE (enter through the north doors)
  • Times: every Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Again, this service is only for pets that were adopted from the Animal Welfare Department. Please bring your adoption paperwork with you.

What is a microchip?

A microchip is a device about the size of a grain of rice that provides a permanent means of positive animal identification that cannot be lost, damage, removed or wear out. Animal health professionals insert the microchip by safe, painless injection between the animal’s shoulder blades, normally requiring no local anesthetic. Once implanted, the microchip requires no further attention during the animal's life. Owner information can be accessed by scanning, ensuring the rapid return of a lost animal.

This will reduce the amount of animals impounded and killed in Albuquerque. Microchip information will also assist in reminding pet owners to register and vaccinate their animals. A numerical tattoo is also acceptable in lieu of a microchip. If your animal has a current rabies vaccination and license you can wait until your next veterinarian visit to get a microchip. By law, all dogs and cats must be microchipped by April 10, 2007.

Are Microchips Safe?

There is no known report of microchips causing cancer. The chip is 'non-reactive' surgical stainless steel, similar to what would be used in a bone fracture repair. It should be injected in the deep subcutaneous tissue between the shoulder blades. The chip can occasionally "migrate", or move down the side of the neck.

Will Animal Welfare Microchip my pet?

If you adopt a pet from the Animal Welfare Department, the microchipping cost is included in the adoption price.

Anyone may bring in a dog or a cat to get a microchip at either our Westside or Eastside shelters during business hours.

Effective April 10, 2007, the following is required to microchip your pet.

  1. Personal ID
  2. Proof of ownership

The cost is $15 per pet microchip. For qualified low income or seniors age 50 or older, the microchipping will be free of charge.

Vaccination Questions:

All vaccines have potential side effects. A veterinarian should assess your pet's risk before vaccinating, and then on a yearly basis.

When should vaccinations begin?

Your puppy or kitten should get his or her first vaccination at 6-8 weeks of age. Kittens should be tested for the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) before being introduced to other cats in the home. It is recommended that all new pets receive a thorough physical exam by a doctor.

How many vaccinations will be needed?

The following are general recommendations for pet vaccinations. Consult your family veterinarian for his/her specific protocols.

  • Puppies need a DHPP vaccination every three weeks until they are at least four months old, an adult DHPP booster at one year, then every three years after that. Purebred Rottweilers, Dobermans, Staffordshire Terriers, American Bulldogs, and American Pit Bull Terriers need an additional DHPP vaccination at five months of age. Parainfluenza/Bordetella vaccine should be given yearly, if recommended, especially if you are going to board your dog. The first RABIES vaccination is given at three months, a booster at one year, then every one or three years depending on your veterinarian's recommendation.
  • Kittens need an FVRCP vaccination every three weeks until they are at least 14 weeks old, a booster at one year, then boosters every three years. The first RABIES vaccine may be given at three months, a booster at one year, then every one or three years depending on your veterinarian's recommendation. Feline leukemia (FeLV) vaccinations are first given at nine weeks of age or older, a booster in three or four weeks, then yearly. FeLV are only recommended for cats that may have exposure to other cats of unknown FeLV status (i.e. any cat that spends unattended time outdoors).

Is it necessary to vaccinate very old animals or animals that stay indoors?

  • Yes. Older animals, like older people, have decreased immunity. A disease which may cause only mild illness in a younger animal can be deadly to an older one. Many diseases we vaccinate for are highly contagious and can be carried through the air, on the skin and clothes of people, or in the urine and feces of animals. Even a brief trip outside, to the groomer, or to the veterinary hospital may leave your pet exposed. We recommend vaccinations throughout the life of your pet, as well as a yearly risk assessment by a veterinarian.

What diseases are dogs and cats vaccinated for?


  • Distemper: A viral disease causing fever, diarrhea, respiratory problems, and convulsions. Often fatal.
  • Hepatitis: A viral disease that attacks the liver and other organs.
  • Parainfluenza: A highly contagious, airborne virus. Causes a harsh, hacking cough (one form of "kennel cough"). Vaccine only partially protective.
  • Parvovirus: Highly contagious. Causes severe bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. Can be fatal.
  • Rabies: A viral disease causing temperament changes, inability to swallow, and convulsions. Ultimately fatal. Affects almost all warm-blooded animals, including humans.


  • Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis: A highly contagious, upper respiratory virus causing sneezing, discharge from eyes and nose, and corneal ulcers.
  • Calicivirus: Causes upper respiratory symptoms.
  • Panleukopenia: "Feline distemper": Causes severe diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. Often fatal.
  • Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV): Causes many varied symptoms including fever, weight loss, chronic illness, leukemia, and cancers. Usually fatal once clinical signs develop.
  • Rabies: A viral disease causing temperament changes, inability to swallow, and convulsions. Ultimately fatal. Affects almost all warm-blooded animals, including humans.

You can read more about diseases which can affect your pet at the American Veterinary Medical Association web site.

Spay/Neuter Services

All dogs and cats adopted from the Animal Welfare Department must be spayed or neutered. If the animal is not already spayed or neutered, the cost of the surgery is included in the adoption fee and the procedure will be scheduled at the time of adoption. Surgeries are done Monday through Friday at the Eastside Animal Welfare Department clinic.
Adopted pets scheduled for surgery may be picked up between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. the day of the scheduled surgery. Pick up from the same shelter you adopted from.

Animal Welfare also has a special program called "Spay Your Mama." Citizens can have their mother dog or cat spayed for free if they bring the puppies or kittens to Animal Welfare and sign them over to be placed for adoption. The pups/kittens will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped before being adopted. Owners are also given a voucher to have the mama dog or cat spayed, once the litter is surrendered to Animal Welfare. The goal is to prevent more unwanted litters and more homeless pets.

View information about spay and neuter services.

Veterinary Service for Adopted & Reclaimed pets

The Animal Welfare Department Veterinary Service provides appointments for surgery related recheck services to animals adopted or reclaimed from the shelter within the past ten (10) days. Adopters are encouraged to utilize the list of clinics offering free veterinary care for adopted pets should an animal they adopt become ill with anything issue that is not directly related to surgery.

  • Non-emergency outpatient exams for surgical related issues will be seen by appointment between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, at the Eastside shelter (north doors). Non-emergency surgery related conditions include incision discharge, opening of incision, swelling or redness at incision site.
  • If you feel you have an emergency with your recently adopted or reclaimed pet, please call 764-1151 or 768-1975     7 days a week 7a-5p so we may arrange to have a veterinarian available to see you ASAP. Emergency conditions include heavy bleeding, white gum color, surgical incision open more than 1 inch, animal is unconscious or not responsive, and fever over 104 degrees, seizures.
  • After hours when the shelter is closed, please call Route 66 Veterinary & Critical Care Center at (505) 266-7866 for emergency conditions listed above. Again this emergency service is only for pets adopted or reclaimed within the past 10 days with surgical related emergencies