Animal Control

The Animal Control section is responsible for enforcing local ordinances, state statutes and regulations related to: unlicensed dogs; leash law violations; unvaccinated animals; animal bite quarantine; and all animal complaints from citizens as well as formal complaints received through the Office of the Chief of Police.

Coyote Sightings

Share sightings of live coyotes within the City of Worcester. The City of Worcester encourages residents to report all coyote sightings. If a coyote presents a public safety emergency please call 911.

Report a Coyote Sighting

Report a Stray or Lost Animal

Please call Animal Control at 508-799-1211. All stray animals that can not be identified are taken to the Worcester Animal Rescue League (WARL). The WARL is a no-kill intake animal shelter located at 139 Holden Street, Worcester, MA 01606. Injured animals are taken to a local veterinarian. Animal Control logs all animals that are picked up and the WARL keeps records of animals they receive.

Animal Rescue League

Have a Question?

  • Yes:

    • Leash Law Violations - $50.00
    • Dog License Violations - $50.00
  • Yes. All dogs and cats over a certain age (usually 6 months) are required to be immunized against a number of diseases including rabies.

  • An Animal Control Officer will investigate every complaint received by the unit. The Animal Control Officer will then take whatever action is deemed to be appropriate.

  • Yes. There is a leash law everywhere in the City.

  • Yes. Dogs must be leashed whenever off of the owner's or handler's property.

  • Yes. Any dog over six (6) months of age must be licensed with the City Clerk's Office.

  • In addition to any member of the public, the Chief of Police, any animal control officer, the Commissioner of Inspectional Services or any inspector under his or her supervision, or any other city officer or employee as may be designated by the City Manager may initiate the complaint and hearing procedures of section 157(d) of chapter 140 of the General Laws relative to declaring dogs nuisance dogs or dangerous dogs. (Chapter 8, § 12, Revised Ordinances of 2008)

    "Dangerous dog," a dog that either: (i) without justification, attacks a person or domestic animal causing physical injury or death; or (ii) behaves in a manner that a reasonable person would believe poses an unjustified imminent threat of physical injury or death to a person or to a domestic or owned animal. (M.G.L. Chapter 140, § 136A)

    "Nuisance dog," a dog that: (i) by excessive barking or other disturbance, is a source of annoyance to a sick person residing in the vicinity; or (ii) by excessive barking, causing damage or other interference, a reasonable person would find such behavior disruptive to one's quiet and peaceful enjoyment; or (iii) has threatened or attacked livestock, a domestic animal or a person, but such threat or attack was not a grossly disproportionate reaction under all the circumstances. (M.G.L. Chapter 140, § 136A)

    No dog shall be deemed dangerous:

    1. solely based upon growling or barking;
    2. based upon the breed of the dog; or
    3. if the dog was reacting to another animal or person and the dog's reaction was not grossly disproportionate to any of the circumstances outlined in M.G.L. Chapter 140, Section 157.
  • The cost of a dog license is $30.00 and $25.00 if the dog is spayed or neutered.

  • Legally, Animal Control may only respond to situations involving sick or injured wildlife. For that reason, it's best to contact the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) during normal business hours (508-389-6300) or the Massachusetts Environmental Police radio dispatch during weeknights, weekends and holidays (1-800-632-8075). You can also look up information on common wildlife and ways to prevent conflicts by going to the MassWildlife Living with Wildlife Fact Sheets.


Contact Information

Animal Control
Police Headquarters
9-11 Lincoln Square
Worcester, MA 01608

Accessible via WRTA Bus Line. View Schedules

Emergency: 911
Phone: 508-799-1211
Fax: 508-799-8680
Email Us

Office Hours:
24 Hours x 7 Days

Additional Contact Info

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Worcester Police Department Patch

City of Worcester
Worcester 311
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8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Phone: 311
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