Animal Control

DUE TO THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC AND TO REDUCE EXPOSURE TO THE PUBLIC AND TOWN EMPLOYEES THE SERVICES OF THE ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER HAVE BEEN RESTRICTED TO URGENT/ EMERGENCY SITUATIONS.  RESPONSES OUTSIDE THE OFFICE TO ADDRESS NON-EMERGENCY/ NUISANCE COMPLAINTS ARE SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE.     

Duties & Responsibilities

The Health Department manages the Animal Control Program for the Town of Watertown. Currently, there is one full-time Animal Control Officer (ACO) who responds to lost pets, injured animals, enforces the Watertown Animal Control Ordinance (PDF), the Keeping of Animals Regulation (PDF), and investigates cases of Animal Cruelty.

The ACO is also an Animal Inspector responsible for investigating animal bites and working with local veterinarians to determine an appropriate quarantine procedure to monitor or rule out any possible exposures to the rabies virus. Every year, the Health Department sponsors a rabies clinic for cats and dogs.

Too Hot For Spot

When temperatures begin to rise, so do concerns about animal safety. Even when the mercury dips below 80 degrees, the threat for heat stroke still exists. Pets don’t sweat the way humans do, making them unable to cool their bodies efficiently in the heat. Keep your pet safe and healthy by following these important basic guidelines.

  • Prevention is always your best bet. Whenever possible, leave your pet at home in a cool humidity and temperature-regulated room.
  • If your pet must be outdoors, find a shady spot with ample air flow to prevent overheating.
  • Hydration is key, so keep a bowl of cold water accessible at all times.
  • Limit exercise to the morning or evening hours when temperatures are at their coolest.
  • Never leave your pet alone in a parked car—even with the air conditioner on or the windows cracked. Learn the dangerous consequences of leaving your pet in a hot car.

Report a Lost or Found Pet

Report any lost or found pets! Please contact the ACO to report any animal that you have lost or found. When reporting a lost or found animal, please be as specific as possible.

  • For a lost pet: Include a detailed description of the animal, the amount of time the animal has been missing, the circumstances surrounding the disappearance, and the last place where the animal was spotted. A picture of the animal is very helpful. It is best to send a picture and information to
  • For a found pet: Include a detailed description of the animal, the location where the animal was found or seen, contributing circumstances, where the animal is currently located, and if possible a digital picture of the animal.

I found a deceased animal, what do I do?

Deceased Animals on Public Property:

Call the Department of Public Works at 617-972-6420 with address to request a pick up of the animal.

Deceased Animals on Private Property:

1.Place the animal in a plastic bag and set the bag near the curb in the front of your residence. Wear gloves to prevent direct contact with the animal.

2.Call the Department of Public Works at 617-972-6420 to request a pick up the animal.

3.The dead animal can also be placed in your trash container.

Please also notify the Animal Control Officer if the animal is a domestic dog or cat  617-972-6446  

7 Warning Signs of Animal Cruelty

While most of us recognize that punching, kicking, burning, choking, or hitting an animal with an object are acts of animal cruelty, there are also more subtle warning signs that could indicate mistreatment, neglect, or abuse.

  • Howling or barking for a sustained period of time, or hearing an animal cry in pain with a persistent high-pitched vocal sound
  • Singed, matted, chronically or excessively dirty hair or fur.
  • Wounds, unusual scars, hair loss, frequent limping often on different legs, or signs of improper nutrition
  • Animals kept caged or tied with little room to move for long periods of time or without regular interaction with people
  • Lack of protection from the weather or feces- or debris-strewn living areas for animals.
  • Collars, leashes, or halters so tight they visibly dig into the animal’s face or neck.
  • A large number of animals coming or going from a property.