Animal Control – Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I have to license my dog?

Holyoke City Ordinance requires that dogs, over the age of 6 months be licensed and vaccinated against rabies. The rabies requirement is also a State law. The purpose of licensing is to help track and ensure that dogs are currently vaccinated and assist in finding an owner if a dog becomes lost. If a dog has a current license, and an owner is at home, the dog can be returned home. Also, if a dog is injured, and is wearing a current license, an Animal Control Officer can take that dog directly to a veterinarian for treatment, which may save the dog’s life.

Dog licenses are to be renewed each year on April 1st but can be purchased starting March 1st. The cost of the license is $5.00 for any altered aka (spayed/neutered) dog, regardless of age. License fee will otherwise be $15.00 for any dog which has NOT been altered aka (spayed or neutered). Also to help promote good pet ownership, The City of Holyoke has aloud the opportunity for dog owners living in the city to license their dogs for reduced fee of $10.00 if the pet is licensed before 6 months of age. All dogs must have a current rabies vaccination. Dog licenses can be acquired at the Holyoke City Clerk Office. If it is acquired after May 1st, there is an additional $25.00 late fee added to the cost of the license.

How many dogs can I have?

Holyoke allows up to three dogs at each residence accept were City Zoning allows for kennel licenses.

What happens if my animal bites or if I am bitten?

It is imperative that all bites be reported to local Board of Health and Animal Control. Any animal that bites must be quarantined for observation for a period of not less than ten (10) days by Animal Inspector. The Animal Care Center shall be the normal place for such quarantine of animals, but other arrangements including confinement by the owner may be made with the Animal Inspector provided the animal has current rabies vaccinations at the time the bite is inflicted.

I found a stray dog/cat. Can I keep it?

If an animal is found and the owner can not be located, the animal should be surrendered to Animal Control. Often times the owners do not call to ask about their lost pets, they go directly to the shelter to look for their pet. If the animal is not in the Care of Animal Control, the owner may never know his/her pet has been found.

Report all lost and found pets to the Board of Health and Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center.

I found an injured domestic animal

Call Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center at 413-781-1485 24hrs a day/7 days a week for emergencies or 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. seven days a week. During non-business hours, please call the Holyoke Police Department to make a report 413-322-6900.


Have a question about some kind of wildlife? The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife provides information about wildlife in Massachusetts. Please visit the links below:

Injured Wildlife

Report injured wildlife in the roadway to the Board of Health M-F 8:30-4:30. On nights or weekends please make report to Police Department 413-322-6900.

Reporting injured wildlife on private property is the sole responsibility of the property owner or occupant. Owners can contact a wildlife rehabilitation agency. Folks are still welcome to call the Board of Health for assistance and or further information regarding who can assist injured animal on property. Board of Health can physically handle animals such large snapping turtles and injured hawks

Dead Animals

Report dead animals in the roadway to the Board of Health at 1-413-322-5595 Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 4:30 nights or weekends call the Police Department at 1-413-322-6900.

Mammals larger than squirrels can be removed from the town owned roads by the “disposer of dead animals”. Squirrels and smaller mammals will NOT be collected.

Dead animals on State owned roads will be collected by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

Dead animals on private property are the sole responsibility of the property owner or occupant!

Have your Pets Prepared for an EMERGENCY

FEMA’s Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps Program, American Red Cross and The Humane Society of the United States have come together to develop this emergency preparedness toolkit that can assist you in your planning efforts as you work towards keeping your community and specifically the pets and people who care for them, safe from disasters. This is a great resource with very helpful information, web resources, community engagement ideas and much more! Please download the tool kit today!…/PetPreparednessToolkit.pdf

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Last Updated on December 13, 2012 by