General Information

Municipal Codes Relating to Animals
Frequently Asked Questions
Licensing and Identifying Microchip
Animal bites & Rabies
Adopt a Pet
Lost Pets
Preparing Your Pet for a Disaster
Shelters That Accept Stray Animals
If You Find a Lost Pet


Municipal Codes Relating to Animals

The Carmel Police Department is responsible for the enforcement of Municipal Code Laws relating to domestic and non-domestic animals. In cases involving animal related complaints or violations, on-duty patrol officers will assist citizens and/or take any necessary enforcement actions. In some cases, officers may call on outside agencies to assist with stray or injured animals. The following is a partial listing of Carmel-by-the-Sea Municipal Codes relating to animals.

Dogs in the Business District:
It is unlawful to allow a dog to "Run at Large" within the business district of the City. Dogs that are not on a leash, which is held by a person, or made fast to some stationary object, will be considered running at large. Also, with the exception of guide dogs engaged in guiding a blind person, it is also unlawful to permit dogs to enter any grocery store or restaurant in the City (CMC 6.08.010).

Dogs in Residential Districts:
It is unlawful to allow a dog to "Run at Large" on any public street or park within the residential district of the City. In these areas however, a dog may be off a leash, but only if under "voice command." A dog will be deemed "under voice command" only if: 1) the person having charge over the dog has a leash in their possession so he or she can quickly put the dog on a leash; 2) the dog is not more than 25 feet from the person at any time; 3) the dog will return to within three feet of the person upon command; and 4) the dog will remain within three feet of the person when other people or animals are present. If any of these four criteria are not met, the dog will be considered not under voice command and running at large (CMC 6.08.015).

Dogs on Public Beach and Park Land:
It is unlawful to permit a dog to run at large on any City owned beach lands or park lands unless the owner or person having charge is also present and in control of the dog at such time as it is running loose (CMC 6.08.030).

Dogs on Scenic Road:
On Scenic Road, from its eastern property edge to the base of the beach embankment, between Eighth Avenue and the south City limits, all dogs will be considered running at large unless on a leash which is held by a person or made fast to a stationary object (CMC 6.08.031).

Dogs in Devendorf Park:
It is unlawful for any dog, unless a guide dog for the blind, to enter Devendorf Park, whether on a leash or not (CMC 6.08.040).

Vicious Dogs:
It is unlawful for the owner or the person having charge of any dog, having knowledge that the dog has menaced, attacked or bitten any person or domestic animal, to permit the dog to run at large anywhere within the City, other than enclosed within private property from which it cannot escape, unless the dog is wearing a muzzle. Further, such dogs will not be tethered on any sidewalk or public property unless similarly muzzled (CMC 6.08.050).

Definition of Menaced:
A person will be deemed to be menaced when a dog, not on the property of its owner or person having charge of the dog, directs hostile or vicious behavior toward a person by growling, barking or doing some other act likely to cause fear so as to put the person in fear of personal bodily harm. A domestic animal will be deemed to be menaced when a dog, not on the property of its owner or person having charge of the dog, directs hostile or vicious behavior toward a domestic animal by growling, barking or doing some other act likely to cause fear so as to put the owner of the domestic animal, a member of the owner's family or the person having charge of the domestic animal in fear of bodily harm to the domestic animal (CMC 6.08.070).

Female Dogs:
It is unlawful for a person having charge or control over any female dog to permit any such dog to run at large while in heat or season and every such female dog found so running at large will be immediately seized and impounded (CMC 6.08.080).

It is unlawful for any person, to knowingly, carelessly, or negligently, permit any dog to commit a nuisance upon any sidewalk public street, or place in the City. For the purpose of this section "nuisance" shall mean defecation or urination. Any person walking or otherwise out with a dog which the person owns or has charge, will carry all implements necessary to pick up and carry away the feces. Any person owning or having charge over a dog will, immediately upon noticing or receiving notice that the dog has defecated upon any private or public property, remove all feces and dispose of it in a sanitary manner (CMC 6.08.110).

Excessive Noise:
It is unlawful for any person owning or having custody of any bird or animal to permit the bird or animal to produce or emit continuous or frequently repeated loud noises, including barks, howls and brays, of a degree of loudness sufficient to be audible at a distance of 50 feet (CMC 6.08.140).

Feeding of Non-Domesticated Animals:
It is unlawful for any person to feed or provide food in any manner to any non-domesticated animal, including raccoons, deer, ground squirrels, grey squirrels, or pigeons, on private or public property within the City limits of Carmel-by-the-Sea, subject to the following exceptions: 1) The feeding of birds on private property is exempt; 2) The feeding of birds in parklands is exempt; however, the distributing of bird food or large quantities of bread or similar foods intended as bird food on municipal property within the City limits is prohibited (CMC 6.08.170).

Animal Related Codes in Monterey County:
Animal Services field officers enforce codes set forth by Monterey County Code:


Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: Can I walk my dog on Scenic Road?
A: Yes, but all dogs on Scenic Road & Scenic pathway south of 8th Avenue must be on a leash, held by a person, or secured to a stationary object (6.08.031 CMC).

Q: Does my dog have to be leashed in the business district?
A: Yes, your dog must be on a leash held by a person or secured to a stationary object. The only exception are guide dogs engaged in guiding a blind person (6.08.010 CMC).

Q: Does my dog need to be on a leash on the beach?
A: No, however you must be present and in control of your dog.(6.08.030 CMC) and for the definition of control see the four criteria of voice command (6.08.015 CMC).

Q: What are the rules for walking my dog in Mission Trails Nature Preserve?
A: The rules that apply at the beach are the same for the park. You must be in control of your dog, and pick up after it. (6.08.030 CMC) and for the definition of control see the four criteria of voice command (6.08.015 CMC).

Q: Do I have to clean up after my dog?
A: Yes, when your dog is in any public place you must clean up your dog's waste. You must carry materials to clean up after your dog. In selected locations, the City has provided "Mutt Mitts" for cleaning up after your dog (6.08.110 CMC).


Licensing & Identifying Microchip

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If your dog gets lost, a license tag on your dog's collar is the fastest way to reunite you and your dog. Even if your dog is microchipped, a license tag is immediately visible and doesn't require a scanning device to read it. Your dog's dog license also shows that you are a responsible dog caregiver. Living in Carmel brings many lifestyle advantages and cultural rewards, but it also carries some obligations. Among these is the payment of fees for municipal services. Good citizens get their dogs licenses.

Licensing is done by the Monterey County Animal Services Division, 160 Hitchcock Road, Salinas, CA 93908. Telephone: (831) 769-8850.
See website information:

A microchip can be injected painlessly under a pet's fur by your veterinarian. It serves as a backup identification method and can be read with a special scanner by the Carmel-by-the-Sea police department even if your pet loses its collar and tag.


Animal Bites & Rabies

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Be sure to report ALL animal bites.
One of the most important things that the animal control officer does is to investigate animal bites. Rabies is transmitted by wild and domestic animal bites and is often fatal. The officer will place animals that have bitten people under observation and make sure that the threat of rabies is reduced.

Rabies is a deadly disease. It's caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. The rabies virus lives in the saliva and brain tissue of infected animals, most commonly raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes. However, stray dogs and cats are also a problem. The virus only infects mammals (warmblooded animals who nurse their young). This means pets, livestock, wildlife, and people are at risk.

Avoid contact with all wild animals. Keep wild animals out of your home--secure doors and windows, cap chimneys with screens, and close off any openings in porches, basement and attics. Secure trash and any pet food stored outdoors in animal-proof containers to avoid access by wild or stray animals.
Have your animals vaccinated including dogs, cats, and selected livestock. See your veterinarian for information about rabies immunizations and required booster shots.


Adopt a Pet

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The Monterey County Animal Services Center offers many of the wonderful animals it received up for adoption. An animal can be available for adoption once it has gone through the stray period unclaimed and appears in sound medical health and good temperament.

For more information:


Lost Pets

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Losing a pet can be distressing, but stay calm and follow these suggested steps:

  1. First, call the Carmel-by-the-Sea police dispatch at (831) 624-6403 to let them know your pet is missing; chances are someone has already found it. If your pet has a microchip ID implant, the Police Department can identify your pet immediately.
  2. Check with the shelters in Monterey County that house stray animals. To see a list of shelters in Monterey County that house stray animals go to
  3. Visit the Monterey County website to view current lost animals; this information is updated twice daily:
  4. Post Signs: Make a poster to alert people to be on the lookout for your lost pet.
  5. If someone calls you about your pet: Try to get a positive identification on your animal from the caller. Have specific details in mind (a scar or peculiar feature) that will identify your animal from a similar one. Do not put all details on your poster. There are extortionists who will claim to have your pet. If you offer a reward, make sure you have your animal back before you turn over the money.


Preparing Your Pet for a Disaster

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Do you have a plan for your pets in case of an earthquake, flood, or fire? In the event of an emergency, a well-practiced disaster program will not only reduce stress, but will also save precious time -- and possibly lives. These are Animal Care and Control's recommendations to help keep you and your pets safe during a disaster. Before disaster strikes, identify your pet:

  1. Keep your pet's license current.
  2. Make sure that collar and identification tags are worn at all times.
  3. Consider having a safe, permanent microchip implanted in your pet. This type of ID cannot fall off or be removed. Most veterinarians offer microchipping services to their customers.

In the event of an evacuation, pets may not be allowed inside human emergency shelters. Determine the best place to leave your pet in case of a disaster. Identify an off-site location as well as a place in your home. Each animal should have their own pet carrier. Familiarize your pet wih the carrier or cage before an emergency. Prepare a first aid kit.

If you can't take your pet with you, bring your pet indoors. Do not leave pets chained outdoors. Prepare a preselected site indoors for your pet. Use a room with no windows but adequate ventilation, such as a utility room, garage, bathroom, or other area that can be easily cleaned. Do not tie them up. Leave only dry foods and fresh water in non-spill containers. If possible, open a faucet to let water drip into a large container or partially fill a bathtub with water. Do not leave vitamin treats, which could be fatal if over-eaten. House cats and dogs separately, even if they normally get along.

For more helpful information, go to

Secure Bird Cages & Fish Tanks:
Because these items may move and/or break during a disaster, securing them on low stands or tables will be helpful. Also, tighten the latch on your birdcage so that the door cannot be shaken open easily.


Shelters That Accept Stray Animals

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Don't waste time if your pet is lost; you need to visit your local shelters immediately, as they can wander. Animals picked up as strays (running loose with no identification and no known owner information) are held for a certain number of days depending on the shelter. After that holding period, animals may be set up for adoption, transferred to a rescue group, or euthanized. Do not assume that because your dog or cat is lovable and has a collar on that it will find a new home or you will be called! Collars fall off and there aren't enough homes for them all.

For a list of shelters in Monterey County that house stray animals,


If You Find a Lost Pet

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Notify the Carmel-by-the-Sea police department by calling (831) 624-6403. They will pick up the animal and notify the animal shelter if the owner is not found.

Remember that sick and/or injured animals can become unpredictable from fear and pain.