Dog Licensing

License Your Dog

Chapter 140 of the Massachusetts General requires that all dogs over six months old be licensed:

"All dogs shall be duly licensed as provided in Chapter 140 of the General Laws. An owner or keeper of a dog who fails to renew a dog license within twenty-one days after being notified that a previously issued license has expired shall be assessed a fee of ten dollars in addition to any other charges due for such license."

Three blue rabies tags

Purpose of a License

A license identifies your dog as yours, showing everyone your dog is not a homeless stray, that the owner cares enough to register the pet legally. Your dog’s personal data is kept on computer. Should your dog be found by an officer or private party, you can be notified as soon as possible. If your dog becomes accidentally injured and impounded, Animal Control guarantees emergency or life threatening treatment and stabilization of a sick or injured animal bearing a license tag. Local veterinarians are also more willing to invest emergency treatment in a sick or injured animal bearing a license tag.


A dog or cat license can be purchased at the City Clerk's office, 200 Common Street. Please bring proof of current rabies vaccine and proof of neutering or spaying.

City Dog License & Registration Information

6.04.040 Registration & Licenses

The requirements for the registration and licensing of dogs within the city limits shall be as provided in section 137 of chapter 140 of the General Laws of Massachusetts.

  1. Any person owning, keeping, harboring, or having custody of any dog over three months of age within this city must obtain a license as provided in this chapter.
  2. Application for licenses shall be made to the licensing authority, which shall include the name and address of the applicant, description of the animal and the appropriate fee.
  3. If not revoked, licenses for the keeping of dogs shall be for a period of one year. The licensing period shall begin April 1 and shall run for one year. Reapplication for a license may be made 30 days prior to and up to 30 days after April 1.
  4. Application for a license must be made within 30 days after obtaining a dog over three months of age. This requirement will not apply to a nonresident keeping a dog within the city for less than 60 days.
  5. Upon acceptance of the application and license fee, the licensing authority shall issue a durable tag or identification collar stamped with an identifying number and year of issuance. The tags should be designed so that they may be conveniently fastened or riveted to the animal's collar or harness.
  6. Dogs must wear identification tags at all times.
  7. The licensing authority shall maintain records of the identifying numbers of all tags issued, and shall make this record available to the public.
  8. Persons who fail to obtain a license as required within the time period specified in this chapter will be fined $50. Each day said violation continues shall be deemed to be a separate offense.
  9. A license shall be issued after payment of the applicable fee:
    1. For each unneutered male dog: $ 50
    2. For each neutered male dog: $15
    3. For each unspayed female dog: $50
    4. For each spayed female dog: $15
  10. A duplicate license may be obtained upon payment of a $2 replacement fee
  11. No person may use any license for any dog other than for the dog for which it was issued.
  12. No person shall keep or control more than three dogs on a single premises.

(Ordinance dated May 18, 2012 [Document 38/2010]; fees amended: May 20, 2011 [Documented 50/2011]; Ordinance dated Ordinance dated July 2, 1996 (part): prior code § 20A-2)