Bylaws & Regulations

Wellesley is a pet-friendly community; pet owners are expected to be responsible and considerate to ensure that their pets do not disturb residents and do preserve the beauty of our town. 

Wellesley's Animal Control Regulations can be found in Town Bylaw Article 47 and include specific information about licensing, dog conduct, Animal Control Officer responsibilities, nuisance or dangerous dog hearings, and violations and penalties. 

These regulations are enforced by the Animal Control Officer; fines for violations of this bylaw can be found in Town Bylaw Article 52 and are explained below.

Violations  (Fines as of August 15, 2018)

  • Unlicensed Dog - $50 (plus the licensing fee)
  • Out of date or no rabies on file - $100 (cat or dog)
  • Violation of Town Bylaw 47.6b Leash Law and Town Bylaw 47.6c Dogs on Town Property  and Town Boards and Commissions specific regulations:
    •  $50-1st Offense  
    • $100- 2nd Offense 
    •  $300-3rd Offense
  • Violation of Town Bylaw 47.6a Nuisance and Dangerous Behavior  are defined and governed by General Laws of the Commonwealth (G.L. c. 140, §§ 136A and 157.)

Dog Licenses

All dogs over six months old residing in Wellesley must be licensed by the Town Clerk. 

Cats and ferrets do not require a license but current rabies vaccinations must be on file with the Animal Control Officer.

Leash Law 

Wellesley has a leash law requiring that when a dog is off the property of its owner or keeper, it must be on a leash not exceeding seven (7) feet.

Dogs on Town Property

Any dog on the streets and sidewalks in Wellesley must be on a leash not exceeding seven (7) feet. On all other Town property, a dog must be under the control of its owner according to regulations adopted by Town boards and commissions for that specific Town property. 

Town Boards and Commissions Regulations for Specific Property

  • School Property - As adopted by the Wellesley School Committee (April 4, 2018), in order to ensure the safety of students and staff, dogs are NOT allowed on school grounds during school hours, including arrival and dismissal times, as well as at school-approved events and facility rentals. Service animals are allowed under the provisions of the Animals in the Classroom policy. Dogs are allowed on school property outside of these times according to Wellesley's Animal Control Regulations (Town Bylaw Article 47.) 
  • Town Park and Conservation Land - As adopted by the Natural Resources Commission (NRC), unless otherwise noted, pets must be at all times under the immediate control of the owner or on a leash in order to protect plants, wildlife and the enjoyment of other visitors. 

PLEASE NOTE: Under immediate voice control means that the dog responds to one command of COME and remains sitting beside the owner or keeper. Dogs may not run up to or assault other citizens and their pets who are using the area.

Additional Town Park and Conservation regulations:

  1. Anyone may walk two (2) dogs on a leash or under immediate voice control on park or conservation land. 
  2. Wellesley residents who own more than three (3) dogs may walk a maximum of three (3) of their dogs on town park and conservation land. 
  3. Non-residents or commercial dog walkers who wish to walk a maximum of three (3) dogs registered in Wellesley shall apply for a permit through the NRC office. 
  4. Fines for any violation of these regulations will be issued by the Animal Control Officer according to the scale listed in Town Bylaw Article 47.

*There are additional park-specific regulations for these NRC properties: