Animal Control Unit

State Animal Control Officer badge.

Animal Control Unit
Connecticut Department of Agriculture
450 Columbus Boulevard, Suite 702, Hartford, CT 06103
Phone: (860) 713-2506  Fax: (860) 713-2515  Email:

Court Appointed Animal Advocates

CT Dept. of Agriculture - State Animal Control Statutes Regarding Companion Animals

                                       CT Dept of Agriculture - State Animal Control Statutes Regarding Horses


The Connecticut Department of Agriculture's Animal Control Unit is responsible for the investigation of property damage, injury and nuisance caused by dogs. The Unit is charged with the enforcement of laws pertaining to the licensing and control of dogs, the licensing and inspection of pet facilities and rabies control. In addition, the Unit is the only law enforcement entity that investigates and makes arrests in association with complaints of animal cruelty. The Unit also operates a large animal rehabilitation center which holds and rehabilitates evidence animals in on-going cruelty prosecutions. It also supports and educates the public and local or municipal animal control officials in enforcement of 
Officer with recovered healthy horseConnecticut dog law and behavior.


Dog Licensing, Dog Health and Control of Dogs
  • Dogs six months of age or older must be licensed. 
    You can download a Dog License Application (in Spanish)* or Dog License Application (in English)*. *NOTE: This application must be mailed to your Town Clerk, with fees and required documents, not to our agency.  
  • Unit staff assist municipal animal control officers and local officials through training and counseling in dog licensing and licensing enforcement procedures
  • All dogs three months of age or older and must be vaccinated against rabies and rabies vaccinations must be kept current.  Unit staff takes an active role enforcing the Connecticut Rabies Laws by investigating, documenting and reporting to the Department of Public Health positive rabies contacts with humans
  • No dog under 8 weeks of age may be sold or imported into the state without its dam
  • Dogs imported into the state that are over 3 months of age and staying more than 30 days must be accompanied by a health certificate and a current rabies vaccination certificate
  • Dogs imported into the state between the age of 8 weeks and 3 months and staying more than 30 days must be accompanied by a health certificate
  • All dogs must be under control and must not be allowed to run at large
  • It is illegal to transport a dog in the back of a pick-up truck unless the dog is secured in a cage, container or otherwise secured
lab looking over daisies.
Property Damage, Injury and Nuisance – Dogs
  • Dogs are personal property and owners are responsible for damages caused by their dog
  • Claims of alleged damage by dogs to livestock, poultry or other animals for the purposes of reimbursement are investigated, assessed and appraised by Unit staff
  • Quarantines of dogs associated with bites (human or dog on dog) or disease outbreak are established and enforced where required and necessary
Rabies Control
The Bureau staff works with state and local authorities in dealing with rabid and suspect rabid animals, verify rabies vaccination status for dogs and cats, and provide transportation and handling of specimens for testing. Current rabies statistics can be found here. Most of these cases involved wildlife such as raccoons and skunks, however, many cases involved domestic animals such as dogs, cats, cows and horses. For further information regarding rabies,  please visit the Department of Agriculture's Rabies Manual and Department of Public Health's, Rabies Information page.
Licensing, Inspection of Pet FacilitiesOfficer inspecting kennel
Download a Pet Facility license here.
  • Municipal dog pounds
  • Unit staff offer technical advice regarding plans and construction of municipal-owned dog shelters and boarding kennels in order to ensure conformance with regulations and is responsible for regular inspections
  • Pet shops, commercial kennels (including "dog daycare facilities"), animal shelters, grooming facilities, mobile grooming vehicles,  and dog training facilities 
  • Breeders of two or more litters of dogs per year must apply for a “town kennel license”
Unit staff is responsible for regular inspections and for investigating complaints on town kennel licensees.



animal creulty
Animal Cruelty
The Animal Control Unit investigates small companion and livestock animal cruelty complaints
including illegal animal fighting and animal hoarding. If sufficient evidence pursuant to Section 53-247 of the Connecticut General Statutes is gathered, Unit staff prepare a request for a search warrant.


Large Animal Rehabilitation Center
The Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Regulatory Services' Animal Control Unit, is charged (Connecticut General Statutes Sections 22-329, 22-329a) with the prevention of cruelty to and seizure of abused animals. In response to this charge, in 2002, the Department of Agriculture constructed a large animal rehabilitation facility designed to hold horses or other large animals that have been seized in cases of substantiated charges of animal cruelty. For further information about this facility, visit Second Chance Large Animal Rehabilitation Facility, or contact the Animal Control Unit.


Attention Municipalities and Town Clerks:

The updated Dog Fund calculation worksheet located below will expedite and assist in accurately completing your report.  There are three separate spreadsheets within this worksheet: town clerk, town dog fund report, and interest and penalty.

Dog Fund Calculation Sheet 2018-2019 (Excel)