City Animal Regulations

Animals with no obvious signs of ownership are available for adoption, rescue or shelter transfer if not reclaimed by the 3rd day of impound (first day is day zero). Animals with signs of ownership are available for adoption, rescue, or shelter transfer if not reclaimed by the 7th day of impound (first day is day zero). Adoption fee is $100, which includes spay/neuter, rabies vaccination, microchip, and city license.

Abandonment or failure to provide necessary food, fresh water, shade, and shelter to an animal under that person’s custody or control is a violation of the city ordinance.

Animal Limits
You are allowed five animals per household, in any combination of dogs/cats/rabbits/pygmy goats - 90.20(A)(1) Number of Animals Permitted.

Animals Running at Large 
 Animals that are running at large within the City may be impounded and the owner will be required to pay fees for release and be subject to citations. Animal Control Officers may return stray animals to owners without impounding if animal has current rabies vaccination, city license, identification (microchip, tags), and ownership of animal can be validated by officer.

City of Rio Rancho has an animal disturbing the peace ordinance 90.22 (A)(1) which requires all owners to control their animals from excessive noise (barking or howling) whether the owner is home or not and maintain the animal’s environment so as not to create a noxious or offensive odor to the inhabitants of the city.

Bite Cases
It is required for you and the victim to report any bite of a mammal, wild or domestic, within 24 hours of the occurrence. 90.16 (A)(1) “The owner of an animal that bites a person and a person bitten by an animal have the duty to report that occurrence to an Animal Control Officer within 24 hours.”

Bite Quarantine
Any animal that has bitten a human and is deemed potentially dangerous, dangerous, or vicious pursuant to 90.17(A3c) shall be quarantined at RRAC until the Court can make a finding as to its dangerousness or viciousness, providing that a petition has been filed with the Court within the requisite 14 days.

Hobby Breeder Permit
Any owner who intentionally or unintentionally breeds dogs, cats, guinea pigs, chinchillas, sugar gliders or rabbits must have a current hobby breeder’s permit or can be cited and subject to a fine of $100 for each litter. Owners of dogs and cats who intend to breed must be in compliance with 90.19 to be eligible to apply for a hobby breeder permit.

Cat Spay/Neuter Requirement
No person or animal organization may keep, harbor, or maintain within the city limits any cat over the age of 5 months that has not been sterilized (spayed or neutered) unless the owner has obtained an intact animal permit. Intact animal permits are subject to certain conditions and a $175 permit fee.

Dog Spay/Neuter Requirement
No person or animal organization may keep, harbor, or maintain within the city limits any dog over the age of 6 months that has not been sterilized (spayed or neutered) unless the owner has obtained an intact animal permit. Intact animal permits are subject to certain conditions and a $175 permit fee.

Animals are not allowed to be chained. Trolley permit is required and conditions apply.

City Ordinances
The City of Rio Rancho has ordinances regarding animal issues. To view the City ordinances regarding animals you can view the Municipal Code and look under Title IX General Regulations; Chapter 90 - Animals and Title XI Business Regulations; Chapter 116 for standards for professional animal facilities, services and hobby breeders. You can also call Animal Control at 505-891-5075 for any questions you may have.

Disposition of Animals
Animals with or without signs of ownership, which have not been reclaimed by the seventh (7th) day of impoundment (first day is day zero), shall be considered abandoned and RRAC may make disposition of the animal by adoption, release to another animal shelter or rescue, or humane euthanasia. Euthanasia will be the last option considered. Animals determined to be suffering due to a medical condition, disease or that present a danger to other animals or personnel at the shelter may be humanely euthanized.

Exotic Animal Release
No person shall release from captivity an imported or exotic animal without first complying with the provisions of NMSA Transfer of an imported animal from one person to another person does not constitute a release from captivity.

Leash Law
When animals leave their property, they must be under leash of not more than eight (8) feet in length and under control of the owner or of his designee. This shall not apply to dogs under the owner’s supervision in any city dog park. Chapter 90.18(A)(1-2) Confinement of Animals; Running at-large.

You cannot own domestic livestock, unless your property is zoned for it.  This includes farm animals (horses, pigs, goats, sheep, cows), fowl (ducks, chickens, geese, peacocks). No more than 7 female and immature male chickens may be owned, housed, and kept within the city only on lots of at least one-half acre in E-1: Estate Residential Zone District or on lots of at least one-half acre in R-1: Single-Family Zone District. No rooster or male chicken shall be kept within the city.  Goats, including pygmy or Nigerian dwarf goats, may be maintained in the city only on residential lots of at least one acre in an E-1 zone.  In addition, pygmy or Nigerian dwarf goats may be owned, housed and kept within R-1: Single-Family Zone District provided all goats kept in the R-1 district are dehorned and male goats neutered. No more than 3 goats, including, pygmy or Nigerian dwarf goats, may be maintained on any one lot, or contiguous lots under unified ownership

Livestock, Running at Large
Livestock shall not be permitted to run at large within the city limits of Rio Rancho, or to trespass upon the cultivated fields and gardens of any person.

Lost & Found
Report all lost and found animals within the city within 24 hours, 90.46 Strays; Notice Required. If you find an animal, bring it to Animal Control or a veterinarian to be scanned for a microchip. Found animals that are in your possession for more than 7 days, will be considered your responsibility. It is owner’s responsibility to personally check the city's animal shelter for your lost pet.

Pet Licenses
City of Rio Rancho's animal ordinance number 90.19(D) requires owners to license all cats and dogs annually. Pet licenses are $2.00 for Seniors Spayed/Neutered Animals, $4.00 for Spayed/Neutered Animal, and $25.00 for Unaltered Animals. Pet license can also be purchased in 3-year increments according to Rabies expiration date.

Rabies Vaccination
All dogs, cats, and ferrets must be vaccinated with a 1 yr or 3 yr rabies vaccinated as specified in ordinance 90.15 (A)(1) Rabies Vaccinations.

Reclaiming Animals
Owners are responsible for a $25 impound fee and $10/day board fee when reclaiming animals that are sterilized with proof of current rabies vaccination and city license. Owners of unsterilized animals are responsible for impound fee and daily board and have 3 options for reclaiming their pet. They may choose to pay a refundable sterilization deposit ($175) or purchase an unaltered animal permit ($175), or pay a flat rate reclaim fee ($125) and allow RRAC to sterilize the pet. Owners must also purchase a city license. Cats being reclaimed must be sterilized prior to release from Animal Control unless they qualify for an Intact Cat Permit/Unaltered Animal Permit and meet conditions required.

Surrendering Animals
Owners may surrender their animals, if space allows, for a surrender fee of $30.00 per animal.

Transportation Requirements
No person shall transport any animal in or upon any vehicle in a cruel, inhumane or unsafe manner. Animals transported in the bed of a truck shall be crated or restrained so they cannot fall or jump from the truck and shall be provided shade when the truck is parked. Animals shall not be transported in open bed of truck during extreme weather.

Unsafe Confinement to Motor Vehicle
It is unlawful for any person to place or confine an animal in a motor vehicle for such duration or at such temperatures as to endanger the health or well-being of such animal.