Code of the District of Columbia

Part F. Veterinary Facility.


§ 47–2888.01. Definitions.

For the purposes of this part the term:

(1) “Animal shelter” means a private or government-owned facility established for the impoundment of stray, diseased, dangerous, sick, injured, abused, neglected, unwanted, abandoned, orphaned, lost, or otherwise displaced animals, with the intent to care for, quarantine, return to an owner, adopt out, or euthanize the animals.

(2) “Veterinary facility” means a fixed or mobile establishment where the practice of veterinary medicine is conducted. The term “veterinary facility” shall not include an establishment that is an animal shelter or a wildlife rehabilitation facility.

(3) “Wildlife rehabilitation facility” means a location where a licensed wildlife rehabilitator treats and provides temporary care of injured, diseased, orphaned, or displaced indigenous wild animals and provides for their subsequent release into appropriate habitats. A wildlife rehabilitation facility may be an individual’s home, a triage location, or a facility dedicated to wildlife rehabilitation.


(March 26, 2014, D.C. Law 20-96, § 302(b), 61 DCR 1184.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 3-1201.01.


§ 47–2888.02. General prohibitions.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to own, operate, maintain, open, or establish a veterinary facility within the District without first having obtained a license from the Mayor.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person other than a veterinarian licensed in the District to hold a license for a veterinary facility.

(c) This section shall not apply to a facility or agency operated by the federal government or the District.


(March 26, 2014, D.C. Law 20-96, § 302(b), 61 DCR 1184.)


§ 47–2888.03. Veterinary facility license, fees.

(a) The application for a veterinary facility license shall be made on a form to be prescribed by the Mayor and shall be accompanied by the required fee. Each application shall list each certificate of approval, authority, occupancy, and any other prerequisite required as a precondition for operation of a veterinary facility.

(b) A license shall be valid for a period of one year and shall be limited to the premises or the vehicle stated on the license. A license may be renewed for additional one-year periods upon payment of the appropriate fee.

(c) A license issued under this section shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises. A mobile facility license shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the vehicle.

(d) The Mayor may issue a license that clearly specifies the scope of the facility’s operation. The specifications shall not confer or denote an area of specialty by the veterinary facility or by the holder of the license. The Mayor shall determine the terms and restrictions that apply to the specifications by rulemaking.

(e) The initial fees shall be as follows:

(1) Original veterinary facility license, $195; and

(2) Renewal of veterinary facility license, $170.

(f) The Mayor may periodically adjust the fees by publishing notice in the District of Columbia Register 30 days before changing the fees.


(March 26, 2014, D.C. Law 20-96, § 302(b), 61 DCR 1184.)


§ 47–2888.04. Denial, suspension, or revocation of veterinary facility license.

(a) The Mayor may deny issuance or renewal of or suspend or revoke a license issued pursuant to this part for any one of a combination of the following reasons:

(1) Conviction of an offense that is directly related to the occupation for which the license is sought or held, pursuant to a determination made under § 47-2853.17(c-1)(2);

(2) A finding, after notice and an opportunity for a hearing, that any person named on an application has violated this part or any rules issued pursuant to this part;

(3) A finding by the Mayor that any provision of this part has been violated; or

(4) Furnishing false or misleading information to the Mayor, failing to furnish information required by the Mayor, or refusing to allow an inspection in accordance with § 47-2888.05.

(b) The Mayor shall summarily suspend a license issued pursuant to this part whenever the Mayor finds that a veterinary facility’s failure to comply with a provision of this part or with any District or federal law or regulation applicable to the facility is of such a serious nature and magnitude that it presents an imminent danger to the health or safety of a person or animal. The Mayor shall impound any animals remaining at the facility without an owner present and shall care for those animals until they can be restored to their owners or adopted. The licensee shall be responsible for all costs incurred by the impoundment, care, restoration, or adoption of the impounded animals. The Mayor shall provide the licensee with written notice that states the action being taken, the basis of the action, and the right of the licensee to request a hearing within 5 days. The Mayor shall hold a hearing within 5 days of receiving a timely request, and shall issue a written decision, including findings of fact and conclusions of law, within 5 days of the conclusion of the hearing. The Mayor shall provide a copy of the decision to each party by mailing a copy to the licensee and the licensee’s counsel of record. A request for a hearing shall not act to stay the suspension pending the outcome of the hearing.


(March 26, 2014, D.C. Law 20-96, § 302(b), 61 DCR 1184; Mar. 16, 2021, D.C. Law 23-205, § 4(n), 68 DCR 000769.)


§ 47–2888.05. Inspections.

(a) A person designated by the Mayor is authorized, after presenting proper identification, to enter at reasonable times any veterinary facility for the purpose of making inspections to determine compliance with this part or other laws or regulations regarding the practice of veterinary medicine.

(b) An inspection may include:

(1) Examining and copying records; and

(2) Examining operating equipment, systems, and components to determine the sanitary and safety conditions at a facility.

(c) The Mayor may issue subpoenas to obtain records.


(March 26, 2014, D.C. Law 20-96, § 302(b), 61 DCR 1184.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 47-2888.04.


§ 47–2888.06. Animal licenses.

A licensed veterinarian may issue animal licenses. The veterinarian shall collect the required fees and may collect an additional $2 for each license issued as reimbursement for administrative costs.


(March 26, 2014, D.C. Law 20-96, § 302(b), 61 DCR 1184.)


§ 47–2888.07. Penalties.

(a) Any person who violates any provision of this part, or rules promulgated pursuant to this part, that results in physical harm to an animal shall be subject to a fine for each offense of not more than $10,000, imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both. Each day of violation shall constitute a separate offense, and the penalties prescribed herein shall apply to each offense; provided, that the total fine shall not exceed $100,000 and the aggregate imprisonment term shall not exceed 6 months.

(b) Any person who intentionally impedes a District employee in the performance of his or her official duties shall be subject to a fine for each offense of not more than $1,000, imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both.

(c) Any person who knowingly notifies a licensee or employee of a licensee, directly or indirectly, that an unannounced inspection will occur shall be subject to a fine of not more than $5,000, imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both.

(d) Prosecutions for violations of this part shall be brought in the name of the District of Columbia in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia.

(e) Civil fines, penalties, and fees may be imposed as alternative sanctions for any infraction of the provisions of this part pursuant to Chapter 18 of Title 2. Adjudication of any infraction of this part shall be pursuant to Chapter 18 of Title 2 [§ 2-1801 et seq.].


(March 26, 2014, D.C. Law 20-96, § 302(b), 61 DCR 1184.)


§ 47–2888.08. Rules.

The Mayor, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2 [§ 2-501 et seq.], shall issue rules to implement the provisions of this part.


(March 26, 2014, D.C. Law 20-96, § 302(b), 61 DCR 1184.)

Editor's Notes

Section 401(b) of D.C. Law 20-96 provided that rules promulgated pursuant to the Veterinary Practice Act of 1982 shall remain in effect until the Mayor promulgates rules to implement D.C. Law 20-96.