Frequently Asked Questions

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My pet has gotten loose, what do I do?   Please report all missing pets to Westpet, either through our office or dispatch. Please be able to provide us with a location lost, a phone number to contact you, a description of the animal, whether or not the animal has a collar, tags, or microchip, and all other relevant information to help us return your pet to you. Check with local shelters and at Iowa Pet Alert to see if your pet has been found.  You can locate the list of strays currently at Furry Friends Refuge HERE
My pet has been impounded at Furry Friends, what do I do?   Please call Furry Friends at (515) 371-5586 or visit 1211 Grand Avenue to reclaim your pet. A fee will be required to release your animal from impound. Please bring with you a photo ID and proof of up-to-date rabies vaccination. For more information, visit Furry Friends' website HERE
I’ve found a stray dog or cat, what do I do?   If within our regular business hours, please call dispatch to arrange for an animal control officer to pick up the animal. Any pet found after hours will need to be held overnight by you or transported by you to Furry Friends Refuge at 1211 Grand Avenue. West Des Moines Police officers will not transport animals in their vehicles, but will meet you at Furry Friends to make sure it gets inside safely. Call dispatch to arrange for an officer to meet you at Furry Friends.
What happens to stray pets that aren’t reclaimed by an owner?  Any pet that is unclaimed after 7 days is transferred over to Furry Friends, a no-kill adoption center, who will then place it for adoption or return it to its original adoption facility.  
How many cats and dogs can I have?  Any combination of 4 cats or dogs of any size and breed may be present at a single residence. Different rules may apply to apartments, homeowner’s associations, and similar properties.
Does the city have any restrictions on dog breeds?  The city of West Des Moines has no breed restrictions on any kind of dog, including pit bull mixes and bully breeds. Apartment complexes, homeowner’s associations, and similar properties may have their own restrictions on breeds and sizes. Check with your landlord if these situations apply.
Am I required to license my pet?   All cats and dogs are required to be licensed within the City of West Des Moines. A city license is NOT the same thing as a rabies tag or microchip. Having a licensed pet helps us reunite you with your animal if they have been lost, and helps us keep a safe, rabies-free community. Please call the Financing Department at (515) 222-3600 or click HERE
What animals can’t I own in the city?   West Des Moines prohibits the ownership of “dangerous animals,” as defined within the West Des Moines City Code. This includes wolves, coyotes, apes, monkeys, black widow spiders, scorpions, venomous and poisonous snakes, all wild cats (any cat other than the domestic house cat, Felis catus), raccoons, opossums, and skunks. Please see the City Code for a comprehensive list, or call our office with questions.
Can I have chickens, ducks, or other egg-laying animals?  Chickens, ducks, and other farm animals such as goats and horses are not allowed within city limits without proper zoning. Residences are not typically zoned for these operations. Please call City Development services for further information at (515) 222-3620.
I’ve found an injured animal, what do I do?   If within our regular business hours, please call dispatch. If you have found a critically injured dog or cat after hours, please consult with the 24/7 emergency vets in the area, including Blue Pearl Specialty (Formerly known as IVRC) or Iowa Vet Specialities (IVS). If you have found injured wildlife, do not attempt to handle it. If animal control is unavailable, please consult the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ certified wildlife rehabilitator list found HERE
I’ve been scratched/bitten by an animal, what do I do?   Try to contain any animal that has bitten or scratched you, including wild animals. If you require immediate medical attention, dial 911. Otherwise, call dispatch as soon as possible to report all animal bites. If the animal is an owned cat or dog, please attempt to provide an address where the animal can be located. Any animal that has bitten or scratched will be subject to quarantine procedures as outlined in the West Des Moines City Code. Consult with a physician for further health concerns. 
I need to trap an animal.   Westpet lends humane box traps out to West Des Moines residents from spring to mid-fall, depending on weather conditions, availability, and priority. Traps are lent out for one week at a time and are baited by the person renting the trap. Westpet will remove trapped cats, but it is the responsibility of the renter to humanely relocate any healthy captured wildlife. We do not set traps at apartments, businesses, or outside of city limits. Traps can also be purchased from most major hardware stores.
I’d like to salvage a deer that was hit by a car.   Please call dispatch to arrange for a salvage tag to be issued. It is in violation of state law to salvage a deceased deer or any part of a deceased deer without an appropriate tag and can bear penalties and fines.
I want to make a donation   Please make all donations to Furry Friends Refuge, our shelter and rescue partner building a no-kill community.
Where can I find the city code and ordinances relating to animals?   You can find the animal control chapter of the West Des Moines City Code  HERE