Nuisance Animals

Nuisance Complaint Procedure

This procedure applies to all animal related nuisances in the 17 cities serviced by OC Animal Care and unincorporated County areas.

For a Barking Dog complaint, please click here

The legal definition of a nuisance animal is found in Orange County Codified Ordinance 4-1-48, which states:

(a) No person shall keep, maintain, or permit, either willfully or through failure to exercise proper control, on any lot, parcel of land or premises under his or her control any animal:

        (1) Which by sound or cry shall disturb the peace and comfort of the inhabitants of the neighborhood, or

        (2) Which affects an entire community or neighborhood, or any considerable number of persons, although the extent of annoyance or damage may differ, or

        (3) Which interferes with any person in the reasonable and comfortable enjoyment of life or property.

(b) Violation of the noise standards set out in section 4-6-5 shall be treated as a violation of this section.

(c) Violation of either subsection (a) or (b) above, or both, may form the basis of a violation of this section. Nothing herein shall be deemed to require performance of any test or other measurement except as required to prove a violation of section 4-6-5

(d) Noise generated by animals utilized in the production of crops, livestock or poultry is not subject to this section.

(e) A violation of this section is a public nuisance.

(f) The existence of such nuisance for each and every day after the service of a notice in writing from the Director or his authorized deputies and agents, or district attorney or city attorney or prosecuting attorney, to remove, discontinue or abate may be deemed a separate and distinct offense.

The entire process for the Nuisance Complaint Procedure is as follows:

  • You, as the complainant, initiate the first complaint by mailing in the completed Nuisance Complaint Form. Once the complaint form is received and entered, a postcard notifying the animal owner of the complaint is sent.
  • If after 10 days the nuisance violation continues, you must file a second complaint with OC Animal Care through the Operations Desk. If the Operations Desk is not contacted within 90 days of the initial complaint, the file will be purged. Upon second complaint, the alleged violator is given 14 days to resolve the violation.
  • If the situation still exists after the 14-day period, you must file a third complaint with OC Animal Care through the Operations Desk. At the third complaint, you will be mailed a Nuisance Statement Form, including a sample statement form and directions for completion of the form. This completed form, when returned to OC Animal Care, is used to document the history of the situation.
  • Once the Nuisance Statement Form is received, OC Animal Care will issue a Notice to Abate (final warning) to the alleged violator. After this notice is hand delivered by an Animal Control Officer, the alleged violator is given 15 days to remedy the nuisance violation.
  • If the problem remains unresolved after the 15 days, the complainant must again contact the Operations Desk and request a petition packet.  The petition packet includes documents that you will need to complete which will serve as legal evidence to support your case.  The complainant then has 45 days to complete the packet and return it to OC Animal Care.
  • Once all information is received, reviewed and deemed complete, OC Animal Care will forward it to either the Orange County District Attorney or the appropriate City Attorney with a request for a criminal complaint. The action taken by either the District Attorney or City Attorney will be based upon the information that is supplied by the complaining party.

The ultimate resolution of a complaint in court occurs only after all the steps have been filed. The process is lengthy, but required if the case proceeds to court. Information of the complaining party will be kept confidential until the case is heard in court.

For further questions or information about the Nuisance Complaint Procedure, please contact

Operations Desk
7:30 am to 3:30 pm - Monday - Friday

714-796-6442
714-935-7699 FAX