Animal Services Unit

The Fort Smith Police Department’s Animal Services Unit serves the citizens of Fort Smith with professional service in all areas concerning the welfare of animals. The Animal Control personnel handle matters such as – picking up dead animals, capturing and impounding animals running at large, checking the welfare of animals, and dealing with dangerous and vicious dogs in the city of Fort Smith.

ASU wardens typically work from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm 7 days a week, excluding holidays. These animal wardens work as part of the Support Services Division of the Fort Smith Police Department.

Dangerous Animals

The Fort Smith Police Department Animal Services Unit (ASU) strives to protect the citizens of Fort Smith from dogs that pose a threat to their safety. Therefore, ASU wardens enforce city ordinances pertaining to these animals that are considered to be either dangerous or vicious.

If a call is received that a dog was acting aggressively toward another domestic animal or person, the dog may be classified as dangerous or vicious, depending on the circumstances of the case. If your dog has been classified as dangerous or vicious, we will provide documents to you that inform you of the classification as well as an order of compliance form which outlines the steps you will be required to take in order for you to lawfully keep your dog in the city limits of Fort Smith. You will be given forty-five (45) business days to be in compliance with this order.

You have the right to appeal this initial classification by sending an appeal request, in writing, to the ASU Sergeant, at the Fort Smith Police Department. Be sure to include a phone number so they can contact you. The appeal letter must be received no later than five (5) business days from the date you are given the ‘dangerous/vicious’ documents. The Animal Control supervisor will then contact you to schedule a date, time, and location for an appeal hearing.

If your dog is classified as dangerous, you may be allowed to pick it up during the compliance period, but only after ASU wardens have inspected the area the dog will be kept and the dog has been micro-chipped. If the animal warden is confident the dog classified as dangerous can be properly restrained on your property, you will be allowed to pick it up after paying the impound fee and having the dog micro-chipped.

If your dog is classified as vicious, the dog will not be released until complete compliance with the order of compliance is achieved, and after paying the impound fees.

The City Ordinance concerning dangerous/vicious dogs can be found in Chapter 4, Article 1, Section 4-7.

Interesting Facts

The following information was gathered from independent studies and estimates by experts in the animal welfare and related fields. Most of the studies were national and there is tremendous variation by region, therefore these are estimates*.

 Approximately 8-12 million companion animals come into animal shelters nationwide each year and approximately 5-9 million are euthanized (60% of dogs and 70% of cats). The number of animals brought in by individuals and those brought in by animal control is fairly consistently equal. 25% of dogs that enter local shelters are purebred. Only 10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered. 75% of owned pets are neutered.

The average number of litters a fertile dog produces is one a year; the average number of puppies is 4-6. It is impossible to know how many stray dogs live in the U.S.; estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million. Owned cats and dogs generally live longer, healthier lives than strays. Many strays are lost pets that were not kept properly indoors or provided with identification.

About 60% of all households have a pet. About 60 million dogs are owned in the U.S. At least 20% of people who leave dogs in shelters adopted them from a shelter. The cost of spaying or neutering a pet is less than the cost of raising puppies or kittens for one year. The average cost of food, supplies, medical care and training for a dog is $400 to $700 each year.

*Source: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals