About Dog Licensing, Vaccination, and Ownership

Dog Licenses Are Required

Everyone in the City of Somerville that owns one or more dogs must license their dog(s) each year. All dogs 6 months of age or older must be licensed.

The licenses issued by the City can be purchased at any time and are valid through December 31 of each year.

If you own more than 4 dogs, you must apply for a Dog Kennel License instead. 

Why License My Dog?

Dog Licensing is required by State Law. Licensing your dog accomplishes five things:

  • It ensures that all dogs have been immunized against rabies, which can otherwise be easily be transmitted to people or other animals.
  • It provides a way to identify dogs that go missing, bite a human or animal, or create a public nuisance.
  • It lets the City know how many dogs there are in Somerville, so the City can plan off-leash recreational areas, dog-friendly parks, and other services for your pet.
  • It provides annual funding to support the City’s Off-Leash Recreational Areas and Dog-Friendly Parks.
  • It keeps you from being fined $50 for not licensing your dog.

Licensing your dog online using the GoPetie mobile app (Android / iOS) also allows you to join a mobile pet community, with lost-pet alerts and significant savings for your pet supplies and services.

How to License Your Dog

If you licensed your dog in 2017 or 2018, contact the City Clerk’s Office to obtain your User Code. That code will make it easy for you to license your dog.

If you haven’t licensed your dog in the last two years, go directly to the City's web portal to license your dog.

  • Annual Rabies Clinic

  • Off-Leash Recreational Areas

  • Your Animal Control Office

  • Tips for Finding a Lost Pet

  • Licensing a Dog Kennel

  • City Laws and Ordinances on Dogs

  • Questions?

The City of Somerville conducts a Rabies Clinic each Spring for both dogs and cats. The vaccine is offered at a reduced charge. If you license your dog online, you will receive notice of this Clinic from the GoPetie app.

For dogs with a valid license, the City has designated Three Off-Leash Recreational Areas (OLRAs):

OLRAs are subject to the following Regulations for the safe and lawful enjoyment of Somerville’s open space by everyone:

  • Dogs must be leashed when entering and exiting the area.
  • No access from 10 p.m. until 8 a.m.
  • No aggressive dogs.
  • No excessive barking.
  • Dog owners must have a leash in hand at all times.
  • Dogs must never be left unattended.
  • Owners must have their dog in view and under physical and/or vocal control.
  • Owners are legally and financially responsible for their dogs’ actions.
  • Owners must pick up all feces and immediately dispose of them in a trash receptacle.
  • Each person is limited to 3 dogs.
  • Dogs in heat are not allowed.
  • Dogs must be at least 4 months old.
  • Dogs must wear a collar with a valid license and be current with all vaccinations.
  • Violators of these rules are subject to removal from the area and/or fines.

Dog-Friendly Parks

For dogs with a valid license, the City has designated Ten Dog-Friendly Parks:

In addition, the State has designated Four Dog-Friendly Parks in Somerville:

Dog-Friendly Parks are subject to the following Regulations for the safe and lawful enjoyment of Somerville’s open space by everyone:

  • Dogs must be leashed at all times.
  • Owners must pick up all feces and immediately dispose of them in a trash receptacle.
  • All other park rules apply.

The Somerville Animal Control Office was established under M.G.L. Ch. 140, Secs. 136 - 174.

The Animal Control Office’s duties include:

  • Responding to all calls about sick, injured or dangerous animals.
  • Enforcing ordinances regarding animals including cruelty to animals, abandoned or loose animals and animals in city parks.
  • Quarantining animals that have bitten or been bitten, filing mandated bite reports and following through with any necessary prosecution.
  • Maintaining the city kennel (unclaimed dogs are required to be held for 7 days), and a viable adoption program.

If you have any questions, you can contact the Animal Control Office in one of three ways:

  • Online: Email [email protected].
  • By phone: Call 617-625-6600 x2190.
  • In person: Visit the Police Department at 220 Washington Street (by appointment only).

We know how it feels when a pet goes missing. Keep the City and your neighbors on the lookout for your loved one by filling out a lost animal report. Some other steps to take include:

Please be careful!

Distracted driving kills. If you're planning to drive around looking for your pet, have a friend or family member drive while you scan the area from the passenger seat. And while you may be ready to do anything to bring your lost pet home, be aware that there are scammers waiting to take advantage of desperate pet owners. Never wire money or use a prepaid debit card to pay anyone you don't know.

If you own more than 4 dogs, or want to operate a kennel for commercial purposes click here for instructions on obtaining a kennel license.

  • All dogs over the age of 6 months must be licensed by the City Clerk’s Office, and licenses must be renewed each year in January (M.G.L. Ch. 140, Sec. 137).
  • All dogs over the age of 6 months must be licensed by the City Clerk’s Office, and licenses must be renewed each year in January (M.G.L. Ch. 140, Sec. 137).
  • All dogs must be vaccinated against rabies (M.G.L. Ch. 140, Sec. 145B).
  • All dogs must be leashed at all times within the city except in posted Off-Leash Recreational Areas (City Ord. 3-34).
  • No dogs are allowed in schoolyards and churchyards. (City Ord. 3-32).
  • No dogs are allowed in city parks at which “No Dogs Allowed” signs are posted (City Ord. 12-51).
  • All dog owners must pick up after their dogs at all times (City Ord. 3-38).
  • All dog owners must follow all Off-Leash Recreational Area regulations (City Ord. 3-34).
  • Each offense is subject to a $50.00 fine (City Ord. 1-11).

Visit Municode.com to:

  • Browse City codes
  • View City ordinances
  • And more

Go to Municode.com

If you have any questions, you can contact the City Clerk’s Office in one of three ways:

  • Online: Email [email protected].
  • By phone: Call 617-625-6600 x4100, OR, from any phone in Somerville, 311.
  • In person: Go to the City Clerk’s Office at City Hall, 93 Highland Avenue., Monday- Wednesday 8:30am-4pm, Thursday 8:30am-7pm, and Friday 8:30am-noon.

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