Animal Welfare and Enforcement

Ingham County Animal Control has a team of six full-time Animal Control Officers who are dedicated to protecting the citizens and animals of Ingham County.

Please see the section below to answer many of the common questions about what Ingham County Animal Control Officers do to keep our community and animals safe. 

Animal Control Frequently Asked Questions
How do I report an animal related incident?
Please see this page for all of the ways you file a complaint with an Ingham County Animal Control Officer.
What is criminal animal neglect?
  • Under Michigan law, all animals must be provided adequate food, water, shelter, sanitary conditions, and veterinary care.
  • Allowing any animal to suffer unnecessary neglect, torture, or pain.
  • Tethering a dog with a rope or chain that’s too short.
  • Abandoning an animal.
I have filed a complaint about animal neglect, but Animal Control didn't take the animal. Why did they leave the animal?
Animal Control investigates every animal welfare complaint it receives.  As every crime that ICAC investigates is a criminal matter, individuals accused of animal neglect or cruelty are entitled to legal due process and animals must be seized through lawful means.
Ingham County Animal Control Officers must follow the Constitution and existing Supreme Court case law when conducting an investigation and seizing property.  Unless exigent circumstances exist, Animal Control Officers must have probable cause to request a search warrant to remove animals from their homes.
What laws to Ingham County Animal Control Officers enforce?
  • Animal cruelty and neglect
  • Dog fighting
  • Dogs and livestock running at large
  • Dog bites and attacks
  • Vicious animal complaints
  • Dog licensing
What laws can Animal Control not enforce?
  • Barking dogs – Barking dogs are considered noise violations and are not covered under Michigan animal protection laws or Ingham County ordinances.  Contact your local police department to report issues with barking dogs.
  • Leash laws – Ingham County does not have an ordinance governing animal leashes.  Leash laws are adopted by local municipalities. 
  • Number of owned animals – Ingham County does not regulate the number of animals that an individual may own.   The number of animals that a household may have is typically regulated by local municipalities.   
  • Wildlife – Wildlife is regulated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.  Contact your local Michigan DNR office for questions or issues related to wildlife.
Is keeping a dog outside animal neglect?
We prefer pet owners keep their animals inside, however owners are not legally required to do so in Michigan.  If you make the choice to keep your animal outside, you must provide it with adequate shelter and access to water at all times.  Food must be provided regularly.  Failure to provide these basic items is a crime.  Shelter for a dog can be any of the following:

  • Inside the residence.
  • A doghouse that is an enclosed structure with a roof and of appropriate dimensions for the breed and size of the dog. The doghouse must have dry bedding when the outdoor temperature is or is predicted to drop below freezing.
  • A structure, including a garage, barn, or shed, that is sufficiently insulated and ventilated to protect the dog from exposure to extreme temperatures or, if not sufficiently insulated and ventilated, contains a doghouse.
What does an Ingham County Animal Control officer do? (Video)
Please see this video about a day in the life of an Ingham County Animal Control Officer.

How do I get a copy of my incident report?
To get a copy of an incident report, you may file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.  Please use this link to access the online FOIA request system.