Public Health

Animal Services

(530) 573-7925

In recognition of National Pet Week and National Be Kind to Animals Week (both held May 1-7, 2016), El Dorado County Animal Services in South Lake Tahoe is reaching out to residents to share information and resources. “We know how important animals are to individuals and families in the Tahoe Basin and we want everyone to know we are here to partner with them to ensure they have healthy, happy and safe pets,” said Lt. Robert Gerat, Supervising Animal Services Officer.

Animal Services currently operates a full service open admission animal shelter in Tahoe, where lost, abandoned and rescued dogs, cats and other domestic animals are housed and available for adoption. The shelter also offers redemptions and license sales. The shelter, located at 1120 Shakori Drive in the Meyers community at Lake Tahoe, is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

We care very much for the animals that come to our shelter,” said Gerat. “We are proud to say that the vast majority (95%) of the animals at the shelter are either returned to their owners or successfully placed into new, forever homes. Unfortunately, a small number of animals must be euthanized due to severe medical or behavioral problems that would be a public safety issue, but we go the extra mile to find adoptable pets good homes.”

Animal Services also provides a full range of field services in South Lake Tahoe, including general patrols, responding to public safety issues such as animal bites and stray animals including in the roadways, enforcement of State laws, County and City ordinances, and after-hour emergency response. During wildfires, such as the Angora Fire, Animal Services plays an important role to help find pets that are lost and/or that run from the fire and safely returns them to their owners. The area served by Animal Services includes the Tahoe Basin of El Dorado County from Kyburz to the Nevada State line including the City of South Lake Tahoe, north to Tahoma and south to the Alpine County line.

Animal Services works closely with partner agencies such as Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, Lake Tahoe Humane Society and the Animal Coalition of Tahoe to ensure the health and safety of both wild and domestic animals. “Our collaboration with local animal welfare groups and our volunteers are critically important,” adds Gerat. “We value and appreciate these relationships very much.”

To ensure the safety of pets, Animal Services emphasizes the importance of rabies vaccination, local leash laws, licensing and microchipping pets. County and City laws currently require all dogs over the age of 4 months be vaccinated against rabies and have a current dog license. “The vaccine is important because the rabies virus is present in California and we find rabid wild animals every year in El Dorado County,” said Gerat. “Rabies is almost always fatal and can be spread to other pets and people through bites or by the rabid animal’s saliva contacting mucous membranes or broken skin.” 

County and City laws also require dogs be kept on an enclosed lot or remain on leash at all times when off their owner’s property in El Dorado County including on trails, at beaches and parks. The only exception is designated dog parks or areas with specific off-leash signs posted. The goal of these laws is public safety. According to Gerat, pet owners should always follow the leash laws and heed any posted warning signs. When dogs are off-leash, they don’t always act the same and reports of adults and children being knocked down or negative interactions between two dogs are occasionally reported. 

In addition to several beaches and parks in El Dorado County where dogs are allowed on leash, Supervisor Sue Novasel, District V Supervisor, initiated an ordinance change that now allows leashed dogs at Tahoe Paradise Park. On April 5, 2016, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors repealed the County Ordinance section 6.12.010 that previously had prohibited dogs in the park. “Expanding family fun activities and events at Tahoe Paradise Park has been a priority,” said Novasel. “I want to make sure the park is a place of safe enjoyment for all, including our furry friends.”  

Gerat advises animal owners who take their dogs to Tahoe Paradise Park or other public places to always keep the dog on leash and use caution around other dogs and people particularly when those areas are crowded.  

“If anyone is concerned about safety issues, stray or aggressive dogs, they should contact our office,” said Gerat. “Life threatening human/animal emergencies should be reported immediately by calling 911 and all animal bites should be reported to Animal Services.”   

For more information about Animal Services in South Lake Tahoe call (530) 573-7925 or visit


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