Animal Issues

animal complaints

NECCOG welcomes inquires and complaints regarding domestic animals. Please be ready to provide the following information:

  • exact location (street address, town)
  • animal’s description (size, color, breed, gender)
  • nature of the issue
  • address and description of the location and animal owner’s name (if known)

One of our officers will investigate the issue. If no information is verified, the animal cannot be located, or further information deems the complaint to be unfounded, the complaint is closed. If the complaint is found to have merit, the officer will take the next necessary steps to move the issue forward. Records of all complaints are maintained by NECCOG and to the degree accessible in accordance with Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act – are available for inspection and copy.

Anonymous complaints are permitted.

animal bites

Whenever anyone is involved in an animal bite incident, the animal must be quarantined for a specific amount of time to ascertain whether or not the animal is infected with rabies. The following are the established requirements for quarantine:

  • Confine the animal to a house, garage, or other escape-proof enclosure or building, preferably with double doors, for 45 days following the Date of Confinement Order.
  • Do not remove the animal from the structure unless on a leash and under the immediate control of the owner or keeper.
  • Do not permit contact with any other animals or humans.
  • Rabies is a viral infection transmitted in the saliva of an infected animal. Spread of rabies is usually through bite wounds but may occur through scratches. Scratches are considered a risk because dogs, cats or ferrets continually lick their paws, and therefore saliva may be present on the toenails of the animal and penetrate the skin of the victim.
  • You might not know if your pet has had contact with a rabid animal. You are not with your pet 24 hours a day. A contact could be, for instance, from a rabid bat in the middle of the night. Once bitten, the rabies virus makes its way to the brain of your pet and multiplies in the brain. You may not see any signs of rabies in your pet at this point, and it is unable to spread the virus.
  • As the rabies virus multiplies in the brain, it travels to the saliva of the animal. At this time your pet is able to spread the disease. Research has shown that once the rabies virus is in the saliva of your pet, the animal will be sick, show signs of rabies, or die.
  • The confinement ensures that the animal can be readily observed. If the animal develops recognizable signs of rabies, it allows time to treat the bite victim for rabies exposure. This is why it is so important that a dog or cat under quarantine be strictly confined at all times to ensure that it cannot run away or be injured.
  • There is no cure for rabies once a person has developed the symptoms. For this reason, even a vaccinated pet must go through quarantine. Although a fully-vaccinated dog or is unlikely to become infected with rabies, rare cases have been reported.
  • Do not remove the animal from the confinement premise unless permission is obtained from the Commissioner of Agriculture.
  • If the animal becomes ill or begins to show behavioral changes, immediately notify NECCOG Animal Services and take the animal to a licensed veterinarian for a physical rabies examination. If the animal dies, the body must be submitted for laboratory rabies testing.
  • If the animal escapes, immediately notify NECCOG Animal Services.
  • Use extreme care so that no person, or other animal, is bitten or exposed by the animal.
  • Until the quarantine is ended, do not kill, give away, sell or otherwise dispose of the animal without permission from NECCOG Animal Services.
  • On the last day of the strict confinement, contact NECCOG Animal Services to provide health status of the animal.
  • If the animal is unvaccinated, do not vaccinate him or her until the last day of confinement.


Rabies is a deadly virus that infects animals and can be a risk to humans as well. Rabies vaccinations are the most important protection you can give your pet against the deadly disease. The most commonly reported rabid animals in Connecticut are wild (foxes, raccoons, skunks, and bats) – however, cats (especially feral cats), dogs and other domestic animals can and do contract rabies. There is no cure for rabies. The rabies virus is spread through the infected animal’s saliva and can be transmitted through any open wound, nose or mouth. If bitten or scratched by a wild or stray animal or a pet, wash the wound immediately and thoroughly with soap and water. Soak the affected area for 10 minutes. Apply antiseptic. If you believe you have had contact with a wild or unknown domestic animal – Immediately seek medical attention. For more information, please contact the Connecticut Department of Public Health at


Connecticut has a number of laws that prohibit animal cruelty – which is a criminal act. The Department of Agriculture, an animal control officer, or any law enforcement officer are charged with enforcing these laws. Anyone who interferes with, obstructs, or resists an officer performing his or her duty may be fined up to $50 and imprisoned for up to 30 days (CGS § 22-329).

The state’s broadest anticruelty law makes it a crime to overwork, beat, kill, torture, or injure an animal; fail to give it proper care; inflict cruelty upon it; deprive it of food or water; expose it to poisons; fail to provide it with protection from the weather; abandon or carry it in a cruel manner; or fight with, harass, or worry it to make it perform. Violators may be fined up to $1,000, imprisoned for up to one year, or both.

The law also makes it an unclassified felony to maliciously and intentionally maim, mutilate, torture, wound, or kill an animal. The penalty is a prison term of up to five years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

The law further subjects anyone who confines or tethers a dog for an unreasonable time to a fine of up to $100 for a first offense, between $100 and $250 for a second offense, and between $250 and $500 for any subsequent offenses (CGS § 22-350a).


Every dog must be licensed when it becomes six months old and then annually every June. No license may be issued unless a valid rabies certificate, signed by a licensed veterinarian and including the date of the vaccination and duration of immunity, is presented to the town clerk.  Find the CT dog license application here:

surrendering your animal

We understand that sometimes it’s just not possible to keep a pet, but before making the decision to give up your pet, please consider all of your options. When you surrender a pet to any shelter, the transition can be difficult. Shelters are stressful environments for even the most well-adjusted animal.

Before you make the final decision to surrender your animal, please do these things:

  • If it is a behavioral issue, consult a trainer or behaviorist for help with common behavioral problems and speak with your veterinarian to rule out possible medical issues your pet may be experiencing.
  • If your living situation has changed or your landlord will no longer allow your pet – look for an alternate place to live that accepts pets, talk with friends or family to determine if they would be able to commit to taking care of your pet, or re-home your pet to a new home yourself. This transition will be much easier for your pet and will allow you to know that he is going to a good new home.
  • DON’T drop your pet off in the woods or countryside, assuming that it can take care of itself. Pets lack the skills to survive on their own and may die of starvation or injury.
  • DON’T abandon your pet in a house or apartment you are moving out of, thinking that someone will eventually find it. This doesn’t always happen.
  • DON’T give your pet away to a stranger. You don’t know if that person is a responsible owner or even honest. Pets that end up in the wrong hands may be abused or sold to research laboratories.

If you have exhausted all other avenues, you can surrender your pet to NECCOG. Please note that our space is limited and we may not be able to take your pet. If you choose to relinquish ownership of your pet, we will ask for the following: A valid form of photo ID of the owner, all of the pets vet records and other records pertaining to the pet (medical records, a bill of sale, etc.) and a completed owner surrender animal agreement and brief profile of the pet’s habits and behaviors.

NECCOG Animal Services requires that the pet’s actual owner relinquish custody of the animal. If you are bringing in an owned pet that is not yours, we require the animal’s actual owner to sign the animal over to NECCOG.

We do request an owner surrender fee to help offset the costs of caring for your animal.

The fees are as follows:

  • Owner Surrender of a Dog or Cat – $45

feral cats

Feral cats exist in each of the towns in northeastern Connecticut. These cats are the primary source of the overpopulation of cats and are a major concern for the transmission of rabies to humans and other pets. Feral cats, which often live in large colonies, are essentially wild animals and are seldom candidates for adoption – the exception sometimes being kittens. NECCOG strongly advises persons to not feed feral cats (which will encourage more cats to seek out the same food source) and to not have interactions with them as your potential exposure to rabies is heightened.

If you encounter a feral cat colony, you are encouraged to contact your town’s First Selectman. The cat colony may be addressed under the NECCOG Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) program.


NECCOG animal services ONLY address wildlife if they interact with domestic animals. Please contact the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Wildlife Division for all other wildlife issues at (860 424-3011).