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

CT Dept. of Agriculture - Regulations concerning Commercial Kennels (including dog daycare), Pet Shops, Grooming Facilities, Training Facilities, Animal Importers and Animal Shelters

Report Animal Abuse - ACO Form

 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. State Animal Control investigates animal cruelty complaints and frequently assists Municipal Animal Control Officers investigating animal cruelty within their jurisdictions. 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 Connecticut dog law and behavior. 
Inquiries for adoption can be directed to, or 860-713-2506. Our “Officer of the Day” that monitors that email account and phone line, will route the request to the appropriate SACO. Or visit the link below to learn more about the Second Chance Animal Adoption Program.

Second Chance Animal Adoption Program

Dog Licensing, Dog Health and Control of Dogs

 Dog owners should be aware of the nine items listed below about dog ownership in Connecticut:

  1. 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.  
  2. Unit staff assist municipal animal control officers and local officials through training and counseling in dog licensing and licensing enforcement procedures.
  3. 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.
  4. No dog under 8 weeks of age may be sold or imported into the state without its dam.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. All dogs must be under control and must not be allowed to run at large.
  8. 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. 
  9. Breeders of two or more litters of dogs per year must apply for a “town kennel license”.
lab looking over daisies.
Property Damage, Injury and Nuisance – Dogs

Connecticut dog owners are responsible for their dogs. Read three items listed below about damage and injury:

  1. Dogs are personal property and owners are responsible for damages caused by their dog.
  2. 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.   
  3. 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. You can get current Connecticut rabies statistics 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

Get a link and directions on how to obtain a Pet Facility license application here.

The following list of four duties are performed by Connecticut State Animal Control Unit staff:

  1. Inspection of municipal dog pounds.
  2. Technical advice regarding plans and construction of municipal-owned dog shelters and boarding kennels discussed and reviewed in order to ensure conformance with regulations and is responsible for regular inspections of the same. 
  3. Inspection of pet shops, commercial kennels (including "dog daycare facilities"), animal shelters, grooming facilities, mobile grooming vehicles and dog training facilities. 
  4. Unit staff is responsible for investigating complaints on "town kennel licensees," defined as breeders of two or more litters of dogs per year. 

Animal CrueltyCT State Animal Control Officer inspecting kennel

The Animal Control Unit investigates animal neglect and animal cruelty complaints involving domestic animals. This can include 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. Complaints regarding animal neglect or animal cruelty can be made to local animal control officers or the State Animal Control Unit.

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 at (860) 713-2506.

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 2021-2022

Municipal Animal Control Officer Monthly Report

Municipal Animal Control Officer Monthly Report CONTINUATION