Fort Irwin Animal Control Facility begins full operation

FORT IRWIN, Calif. — The Fort Irwin Animal Control Facility (ACF) located in Bldg. 606 on 5th Street is now fully operational under a contract awarded to Chenega Healthcare Services through the Directorate of Public Works – Environmental Division. The ACF’s primary mission is to temporarily hold stray pets on Fort Irwin until they can be returned to their rightful owner.

The ACF is not a pound or adoption shelter; it does not destroy animals, and only adopts strays when, after an exhaustive search, the owner is unable to be located. It has a Facebook page –  search “Fort Irwin Animal Control Facility” – where strays or occasional animals up for adoption are posted, and where members of the community can report sightings of strays or their own missing pet. During the ACF’s first full month of operation, 22 pets were returned home and four were adopted into new homes.

The facility has capacity to hold up to nine dogs and six cats, and it contains a quarantine room for sick animals. A staff of eight animal control personnel provide regular exercise and care each day. Staff also patrol cantonment looking for stray animals. Strays can potentially pass diseases, such as mange, to wildlife, and likewise may come in contact with diseased animals and bring those diseases back into the community. For those reasons, and the safety of fellow residents, Fort Irwin policy requires all animals to be leashed and under control when outside of a residence, excluding the dog park at the Blue Track. There are currently no banned breeds, but there are regulations that must be followed to have a pet on the installation.

All pets on Fort Irwin must be registered with Housing, and with Veterinary Services, within 10 days of being brought on post. Registration requires proof of current vaccinations and that the pet is microchipped. If needed, Veterinary Services can update vaccinations and microchip pets at Bldg. 977. Some strays that have come into the ACF were microchipped, but did not have the owner’s current address or telephone number, making their return home more challenging. To ensure a prompt return home, please update your pet’s microchip information with the microchip company.

Upon capture, stray animals are scanned for a microchip and undergo a basic health evaluation. If a microchip is found, the owner will be called and can bring proof of current vaccinations to the ACF to claim their pet. If vaccination records are not available, the owner will need to visit Veterinary Services to get a copy, or pay them in advance for expired vaccinations and a microchip if the pet does not have them, and bring that receipt back to the ACF. After a released animal has received the vaccinations and/or microchip, a copy of those services also needs to be returned to the ACF the next business day.

Also, prior to pet release, the owner will need to visit the Military Police in Bldg. 326 to pick up a paper citation and bring a copy back to the ACF. These citations do not involve a fee. The first citation is a simple warning, however excessive subsequent citations for the same pet will lead to it being barred from the installation.

Some strays have been left behind or simply turned loose when an owner moved away from Fort Irwin or no longer wanted them. The ACF currently does not charge a fee to adopt these pets. Adoption only requires current vaccinations and a microchip, and if needed Veterinary Services will provide both for a nominal cost.

The potential owner should also have a secure residence for their new pet. We are aware that smaller dogs may be able to get through some fence slats, and larger breeds may be able to jump over fences, so all pet owners should check/secure their fences and contact Housing Services (760-380-3576) if your fence is in need of repair.

The ACF is here to serve the Fort Irwin community and promptly return pets home. Unlike most county and shelter facilities, the ACF is open 16 hours per day from 0500–2100, including all federal holidays. To report a stray domestic animal or to look for your missing pet during normal operating hours, call 760-380-8564 or 760-267-4452. For after-hours assistance or aggressive animals please contact the police/fire dispatch at 760-380-4444. The ACF does not respond to wildlife concerns (burros, coyotes, snakes, etc.). To report a wildlife issue call 760-380-5044 or 760-380-3740 from 0700–1600, or 760-464-1264 after-hours. For after-hours wildlife emergencies call the police/fire dispatch at 760-380-4444.

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