Skip navigation

Animal Protection

For assistance from an Animal Protection Officer (stray/loose dog, welfare complaint, etc.), please call our DAP Officer Dispatch at (720) 913-2080.


Translate This Page


Animal Ordinances & Legislation

Living with Your Pet in Denver

Read an overview of city ordinances related to the care and keeping of pets in Denver. Pet owners are responsible for a comprehensive understanding of any ordinances impacting their pets and for compliance of such ordinances. Your cooperation and compliance means a safe, happy pet-owning experience for you, your pet, and the community.



Breed Specific Legislation

Understanding Denver’s Breed Ban for Pit Bulls

Under Denver’s Ordinance Sec. 8-67, pit bull breeds (American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, or Staffordshire Bull Terrier) are banned in the City and County of Denver.

Pit bull type dogs are defined as any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one or more of the above breeds, or any dog exhibiting those distinguishing (physical) characteristics, which substantially conform to the standards established by American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club.

If your dog is impounded by Denver Animal Protection as an illegal pit bull, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire terrier or Staffordshire bull terrier, it will be brought to the Denver Animal Shelter for an official breed evaluation.

Rules & Regulations

If you are unsure of your dog’s primary breed, you can make an appointment with the Denver Animal Shelter for a breed assessment. If Denver Animal Protection has impounded your dog for suspicion of breed ban violation, you will be contacted with breed evaluation results within 3–5 business days. Evaluations are completed by three certified staff members who will determine if the majority of the physical traits are consistent with the banned breeds per the ordinance.

If the dog is determined to be one of the banned breeds, it will not be allowed to stay in Denver. The owner must relocate their dog to an address outside of Denver, and within a city that does not have a breed restriction ordinance.

If it is determined that the dog does not have the majority physical characteristics of the banned breeds, the dog will be allowed in Denver. The owner will be provided with an official breed evaluation letter stating that the dog was evaluated by Denver Animal Protection. All dogs in Denver are required to have a rabies vaccination, city license and be spayed or neutered, or have an intact permit.

If you dispute the classification of your dog as a pit bull, you may file a written petition for a hearing concerning such classification no later than 7 days after impoundment.

For second offenders of the breed ban, the dog then becomes the property of Denver Animal Protection. Per the ordinance, Denver Animal Protection will evaluate the dog’s health and temperament to determine whether the dog can be relocated to a partner outside of Denver.

If your dog is impounded as a result of the pit bull ordinance & determined to be a pit bull breed, you will be responsible for all fines and boarding fees. Fines are determined by a judge; boarding fees are based on the amount of time your dog was at the shelter. If your dog is impounded & determined not to be a breed included in the ban, you will not be responsible for any boarding fees or fines. If your dog enters Denver Animal Shelter as a stray, standard fees apply for redemption. 

Any pitbull redemption must occur between Monday -  Thursday between 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Barking Dog Complaints

Denver Animal Protection (DAP) recommends you first try to solve the issue directly with your neighbor before calling us. Because most dogs bark when their owners are away at work, the dog owner may not even know their dog is barking. If you and your neighbor are unable to resolve the issue, your next step is to call the Denver 311 Help Center.

DAP will not take an anonymous barking dog complaint, which means that you must leave your contact information with a 311 agent. The agent will then route your call to DAP, which will send a warning or courtesy notice to the dog owner advising them of the complaint. This letter details the barking dog ordinance and gives the owner an opportunity to fix the issue.

DAP will not take a new barking dog complaint less than two weeks after the first complaint is made. The dog owner needs to have time to receive the letter and take steps to fix the issue.

If the first letter does not work and the barking continues, contact 311 again and leave your information with the agent. DAP will then refer both parties to Community Mediation Concepts. This is a free service offered by the City and County of Denver. Note that DAP will not take a third barking dog complaint until mediation has been attempted and is unsuccessful. If the reporting person refuses mediation, DAP will not take any further complaints from that person.

If the dog owner refuses mediation and the barking is proven to be a nuisance, the dog owner is subject to citations from DAP.

The reporting person will get a letter in the mail that provides mediation information. An Animal Protection Officer will go to the dog owner’s house to gather their information and tell them that mediation is required.

DAP has a very high success rate with mediation for barking dog issues. If mediation does fail, Community Mediation Concepts will contact DAP. DAP will then allow the reporting person to make a third barking complaint to 311. At this point, the reporting person must have proof that the barking is a nuisance (such as an audio or video recording of more than 10 minutes of barking), or a second neighbor must serve as a witness to the same barking incident.

Dogs that bark too much can be frustrating for dog owners and anyone within earshot , but dogs bark, right? It is your job to teach your dog when it is okay to bark, which will make you, your dog, and those around you a lot happier. Dogs bark too much when they are bored, need exercise, are afraid of unfamiliar people or other dogs, or are tied up in the yard. If you fix these issues first, your dog will be less likely to bark.

Puppy Barking

Tackle barking dog issues during puppyhood, when possible. Introduce your puppy to new people and other dogs and take them for walks near noisy places. Never punish a bark. Allow your puppy to “sound the alarm” a couple of times, then call them back to you and offer praise. This teaches that they have done their job, shouldn’t continue barking. The goal: The dog comes to you, stops barking, and then gets praise, treats or playtime. 

Crate training can successful in treating barking issues. Use the crate as your puppy’s safe place, where they go for quiet time. Puppies need plenty of exercise before crate time and plenty of toys in the crate to keep them busy

Excessive Barking Issues

Your dog may bark too much  even when there’s nothing to bark at. You may need to try different ways of fixing this problem, because each dog may respond better to one way than another. The most important thing is that your dog always has access to food, water, and shelter, because a dog that is well cared for will be less stressed out and more open to training.

·         Give your dog daily exercise and human time. Dogs are social creatures, which means it’s important to play with your dog on a regular basis, as well as to practice obedience training.

·         Spay or neuter your dog. This reduces  aggression and frustration, and it can also get rid of unwanted behaviors such as  barking, fighting, digging, chewing, escaping and marking territory.

·         Do not tie up or chain your dog  in the yard. Dogs who are tied up or chained get upset and bored.

·         Do not leave your dog outside while you are away. Barking triggers are everywhere, which can make the problem worse. 

·         Crate your dog when you need to leave them at  home alone, but never for more than 8 hours at a time, and no more than four hours for puppies up to six months. Leave your dog with plenty of things to do like chew toys and puzzle toys.

·         Create visual barriers. Block areas that  trigger the dog so   they cannot see the things  that cause t them to bark

·         Leave a radio or the television on to soothe the dog.

·         Get your dog checked once a year  by a veterinarian.  Underlying medical conditions can cause  a barking problem.

·         Get help from a professional dog trainer, if needed.

Allowing your dog to bark excessively in the City and County of Denver is an ordinance violation of D.R.M.C. 8-17 and could result in a Violation Notice, a monetary fine, or a mandatory court summons. Please help your dog and your neighbors by not allowing excessive barking.

To download the barking dog tips (in English and Spanish) click here.


Wildlife & Pest Control

Dealing with Wildlife & Pests in Denver

Denver Animal Shelter - Denver Animal Protection responds to calls regarding wildlife if the animal is sick or injured. Please do not call if the conflict is simply "nuisance" in nature.

For other issues pertaining to wildlife, such as keeping wild animals off your property, see the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website or contact Colorado Parks & Wildlife at 303-291-7227.

Denver Animal Shelter - Denver Animal Protection does not provide any pest control services. 

The City and County of Denver Department of Public Health and Environment - Environmental Quality Division maintains a mosquito larvae surveillance program intended to minimize the adult mosquito population and thus the occurrence of West Nile virus. The city does not spray or contract for the spraying of adult mosquitoes. For more information regarding the mosquito larvae surveillance program, visit the Environmental Quality Division - Water Quality page or contact the Environmental Quality Division at 720-865-5452.

For other pest control related problems, contact a local pest control company.


Find information about obtaining a business license for an animal shelter, pet grooming shop, kennel, pet shop, or pet hospital. These business licenses are issued by the City & County of Denver - Department of Excise and Licenses.

Donate Today!

Denver Animal  Protection (DAP) provides care to more than 12,000 pets each year. DAP operates Denver Animal Shelter (DAS), an open-admissions shelter that is home to more than 6,000 lost and abandoned pets each year.



1241 W. Bayaud Ave.
Denver, CO 80223

Hours of Operation


denver public health and environment logo