Animal Control

ControLling Coyotes in the City Limits

Photo of a coyote in the wildWe must learn to live with and control coyotes. Eradication is impossible. Western States have tried to eradicate coyotes for 100 years. They have been unsuccessful.

An important control method involves food kept outside your home:

  1. Don’t leave pet food out all the time. Only put out food at feeding times and take it up when they are done.
  2. Keep trash up and taken off where coyotes cannot get to it. Not only will this control coyotes but varmints and bears as well.
  3. Do not throw out food scraps. Scraps attract all types of unwanted varmints and animals.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) has no season or limits on coyotes. Outside of the city limits, coyotes may be killed any time day or night (with restrictions). Greenville City ordinance prohibits this control measure.

The SCDNR has depredation permits that can be issued to trap coyotes outside of trapping season to help control the population. If someone wants to trap coyotes, they will not go in live trap. Leg hold traps have to be set by a knowledgeable trapper. Any coyotes trapped with a depredation permit have to be destroyed before being moved. The only drawback is that leg hold traps cannot distinguish animals and they will trap anything that walks into them.

Coyotes typically are not dangerous. In South Carolina, we have never had anybody hurt or injured by a coyote. There have been very few injuries nationwide. Coyotes can contract rabies, but they are not considered to be one of the main rabies vectors, i.e they are not the ones we worry about like raccoons, skunks, and foxes.

The Animal Control Unit



The purpose of the Animal Control Unit is to provide animal control and enforcement services to the City of Greenville with the goal of maintaining the public safety and health regarding animals in the city and to ensure animals are treated in a humane manner.

Dog and Cat Licensing: A current metal rabies tag, issued by a licensed veterinarian within the State of South Carolina, shall be considered a license for dogs and cats within the city limits of Greenville. The tag shall at all times be attached to a collar or harness worn by the dog for which the rabies certificate and tag has been issued. In other words, your rabies tag is your pet’s license.

Leash Law and Off-Leash Area: It is a violation of the City Ordinance for a dog to run at large beyond the limits of a person’s land or the land lawfully occupied or controlled by the owner or keeper. An animal is considered under restraint when it is on the premises of its owner or keeper or when it is accompanied by its owner or keeper and under the physical control of such person by means or a leash or similar type device (i.e. rope, etc.)

Tethering Animals: Chaining and Tethering animals can be dangerous to both the animal and its owners. On November 26, 2012, the City Council approved changes to Section 4-5 of the Municipal Code. The changes dramatically change how and when you can tether an animal outside. Click here to view the changed Municipal Code. Learn more about tethering and alternatives available to keep your pet under your control. Tethering Information | Facts About Chaining

Canine Corner: The City of Greenville does have an area called "Canine Corner at Cleveland Park" where dogs are able to run off leash. The Dog Park is located at 1 Cleveland Park Dr. The many amenities of the Dog Park include: Double entrance gates to ensure dogs cannot escape, large shade trees, benches and swings for owners, canine water fountain, bags to pick up after your dog, and parking beside the South entrance. Well socialized and well behaved dogs are welcome. All dogs must have their current rabies tag securely attached to their collar before entering the Park and must abide by the City of Greenville Animal Control Ordinances (Chapter 4; Articles I, II, & III).

Wildlife Issues: Animal Control can respond to a limited variety of wildlife typically found in the city environment. Typical animals that we respond to are raccoons, opossums, injured birds and small injured animals.

If you have a small, healthy animal loose in your home, we will not be able to assist you. In these cases an exterminator will be your best choice. The smallest traps Animal Control has available are designed for cats and will not work on squirrels, chipmunks, groundhogs or rats. Again, the best choice to help you would be an exterminator.

Rabies Control: The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), Rabies Control Section is responsible for the quarantine of animals that have bitten. Greenville City Animal Control does assist Rabies Control when an animal has bitten someone in the city limits, but that is when the incident has also violated a section of the Municipal Code for animals. Dogs can either be quarantined at the City of Greenville facility or at the owner’s veterinary clinic at their own expense. If the animal is quarantined at the City’s facility, there will be a fee of $10.00 a day per animal.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do I get an Animal Control Officer out to my house?
    Call the non-emergency Police dispatch number at 271-5333. The dispatcher will assist you with your problem and will notify the Animal Control Officer who will respond to your home or incident location.
  • What are your hours?
    Normal hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. These times change during daylight savings hours to 8 am to 7 pm. in order to be more responsive to the needs of the citizens of the city.
  • What do I do if I have an animal problem on the weekend or after hours during the weekday?
    Call the Greenville Police at 271-5333. The dispatcher will send out a Police Officer to deal with the situation. If the Police Officer thinks an Animal Control Officer needs to be called out, they will then notify dispatch.
  • What do I do if my pet comes up missing?
    Go to the Greenville County Animal Care Services (GCACS) located at 328 Furman Hall Road to see if Animal Control has picked up your pet. You have five days to reclaim your animal before it becomes the property of the GCACS to dispose of as they deem appropriate.
  • Does my dog have to be on a leash?
    Yes, anytime your dog is off your property, it must be on a physical restraining device such as a leash. Electronic devices/shock collars are not appropriate physical restraint and are not permissible.
  • Do I need a license for my pet?
    Yes. The rabies vaccination tag is used as a license. It must be issued by a licensed veterinarian within the state of South Carolina and be current for the animal to which it was issued. The tag must be displayed on your pet at all times, no matter where your dog is in the City.
  • What do I do if I find an animal?
    Animal Control will pick up all stray animals at your home. You can also take the animal to the GCACS yourself if you so desire. The animal will be housed there for a period of five days. If the owner fails to claim the animal within five days, the animal then becomes the property of the GCACS.
  • What kinds of wildlife do you deal with?
    Animal Control can respond to a limited variety of wildlife typically found in the city. Please read the Wildlife section for more information.
  • Why does the City not have an ordinance against cats roaming off their owner’s property?
    Cats provide a great service by ridding the city of unwanted rodents that can infest homes, garages, barns, and garbage disposal areas. These are great sources for food, shelter and warmth for these pests. If you have a problem with nuisance cats, see Article II, Section 4-32 of the city ordinance for further information on the next step to take for dealing with problem cats.