Animal Commission

Photo of a dog holding its leash in its mouth

The Cambridge Animal Commission facilitates programs for animal control and welfare in the city and maintains Cambridge as a safe environment for people, pets and other animals, through an educational and enforcement approach. The Commission encourages responsible pet ownership and ensures public safety around domestic or wild animals. The Animal Commission's regular duties include: rescuing injured and/or sick domestic pets and wildlife; enforcement of state laws and City ordinances pertaining to animals; and licensing of all dogs in the City of Cambridge.

Animal Commission Hours of Operations: Mon - Fri 8:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. | Sat & Sun 7:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. 

NOTICE: The Animal Control Office is now open to members of the public to: obtain a dog license, answer other regulatory questions, or provide general assistance. Appointments can also be made on Tuesdays and Thursdays online, by phone at 617-349-4376, or by email at Appointments will be scheduled in 30-minute increments. If you miss your appointment, you will have to reschedule for another day.

Phone: 617-349-4376 | Fax: 617-349-4726

Cambridge residents can apply for or renew their dog’s license online or download the paper application.

SUMMER ADVISORY: Never leave pets in a car unattended, even if just running in for a curbside pickup or other quick errand. Interior temperatures can rise almost 20°F within 10 minutes, even with the windows cracked open.

Tips and FAQs

What are the Animal Commission's Hours of Operation and do they vary from regular City Office Hours?

The Animal Commission's Hours of Operation do vary from the City's regular office hours. The Animal Commission is open Mon-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m.

What do I need to license my dog(s)and how much does it cost?

You will need:

  1. A rabies vaccination certificate with an expiration date OR copy of medical records with rabies expiration date;
  2. Proof of spay or neuter (if not shown before), actual surgery certificate OR if noted on Rabies/Medical History;
  3. FEES: Spayed Female/Neutered Male ($10.00)
    Un-Spayed Female/Un-Neutered Male ($30.00)
  4. If licensing by mail, please include a self-addressed stamped envelope;
  5. If applying in person, please be prepared to pay fee by cash, check or money order. Credit cards are not accepted;
  6. Make check or money order payable to: City of Cambridge.

What is a dog license and why is a dog required to wear one?

A dog license is a tag issued by the City that works as a form of ID if your dog gets lost and also provide the City with a means to count the number of dogs in Cambridge. Your dog's license tag is required to be displayed on the dog at all times. A current Cambridge dog license is required to utilize off leash areas in Cambridge.

Note: All dogs over six months of age must be licensed.

How long is the license good for?

Cambridge dog licenses are valid from April 1 to March 31 of the following year. All tags expire on March 31 no matter when you license your dog.  Renewal reminders are sent out yearly.

If my dog never leaves the house/yard does it still need a license?

Yes.  It is a City Ordinance and State Law.

What are the different ways I can apply for a dog license?

  • You can apply online
  • You can apply by mail by printing and filling out a license application and mailing it in
  • You can apply in person at the City Hall Annex at 344 Broadway, in the Animal Commission office.

If I showed you the spay/neuter certificate last time, do you need to see it again?

No, if you showed us the spay/neuter certificate before, we will have this information on file.

If I showed you my rabies vaccination certificate last year do I need to show it again?

No, unless it has expired. Vaccines are good for 1 year or 3 years. You should contact your vet to confirm status of your pet's rabies vaccinations.

Does my cat need to be vaccinated for rabies or licensed?

Yes, according to State Law and for your pet's protection, even if kept indoors, cats must be vaccinated for rabies. Cats are a risk for rabies as they can come in contact with high risk rabies carriers, i.e. bats and raccoons.

No, cats are not required to be licensed, though the Animal Commission recommends that they wear a safety collar and Id Tag.

My animal is very old/sick and has not been vaccinated for the last 3 years and has not been vaccinated against rabies; does he still need to be vaccinated?

Yes, unless otherwise instructed by your vet.  If so, you will need to provide a letter from the veterinarian stating that they will not vaccinate your pet for medical reasons.

What do I do if my dog is lost?

Call the Cambridge Animal Commission immediately at 617-349-4376. If you get a voicemail, please still leave your name, phone number, address and description of your dog. We will return your call as soon as possible. If this occurs during off-hours/holidays, please call Cambridge Police at 617-349-3300. They will have a list of dogs that have been picked up and placed safely in our kennel. You will be able to claim your dog on the next business morning.

What do I do if I see a dead animal on the street?

Contact the Public Works Department at 617-349-4860 for removal.

Does the animal commission trap any wildlife that becomes a nuisance?

No, the Animal Commission only rescues sick or injured animals. If any wildlife appears to display sick, injured or rabid behavior, please call the Cambridge Police Department at 617-349-3300 for animal control radio dispatch, or the Animal Rescue League of Boston at 617-426-9170.

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