Animal Control

Domestic Animals:

The Town of Shelburne has adopted an Animal Control Ordinance relating to Dogs, Wolf-hybrid, Cats, or any animal that can be construed as a pet. This ordinance has been enacted to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the Town of Shelburne and others by regulating the keeping of domestic pets and wolf-hybrids. The Selectboard has authorized the Shelburne Police Department Officers and the Animal Control Officer with the power to enforce the provisions of this ordinance. 

The Shelburne Police Department employs Bob Lake as our Animal Control Officer for handling calls relating to Domestic Animals. The Animal Control Officer is an On-Call position only. During those times when the Animal Control Officer is not available, a Shelburne Police Department Officer may be dispatched to handle the call.

Service Hours:

 If you need to report an Animal Control Ordinance violation, please contact the Shelburne Police Department at our Non-Emergency Number (802)985-8051. Our Call-taker/Dispatcher is available 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Do Not dial 9-1-1 for non-life-threatening calls. Only Dial 9-1-1 for animals that are threatening a person!

What to Expect When Reporting an Animal Complaint:

First and foremost, the Shelburne Communications Center is a 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Point and Public Safety Dispatch Point. Emergency Calls will cause delays in our response to non-life-threatening animal-related calls. Please be patient, and the Call-taker/Dispatcher will handle your call in a timely manner based on the activity level at the time of your call. 

The Call-taker/Dispatcher will need the following information prior to notifying the Animal Control Officer and/or Police Officer. Based on the information you provide, the Call-taker/Dispatcher is required to follow specific Call-taking and Dispatching Procedures. These procedures may require the Call-taker/Dispatcher to ask additional questions, provide incident-specific Pre-Arrival Instruction, and result in the Animal Control Officer, Police Officers, and/or Emergency Medical Units being dispatched. 

If you are reporting a domestic animal complaint, please provide the following information:

  • Location of the Animal Control Violation.
  • Current Location of the Animal (Street Number and Name and/or Landmark).
    • If the Animal is at large, the direction of travel.
  • Detailed Description of the Animal
  • Type of Domestic Animal (Dog, Wolf-hybrid, Cat, etc.).
  • Breed (Black Lab, Golden Retriever, Husky, Mix Breed, etc.).
  • Predominate Color(s).
  • Type and color of collar.
  • Town Dog/Cat License Number.
  • Other Tags (Veterinary, Owner Applied, etc.).

Animal Bite (Animal vs. Animal, Animal vs. Person):

  • The number of individuals injured.
  • Type of injuries sustained.
  • The Call-taker/Dispatcher may ask additional questions and/or provide Emergency Medical Pre-Arrival Instructions.
  • Aggressive Behavior.
  • The Call-taker/Dispatcher may ask additional questions and/or provide Pre-Arrival Instructions.

Disturbance or Nuisance:

  • Excessive Noise (Barking or Howling).
  • Causing damage to public or private property.
  • Molests or threatens passers-by or passing vehicles on public roads or property.
  • Obstructing traffic.
  • Is uncontrolled or running at large.
  • The Call-taker/Dispatcher will determine the appropriate response based on the information you have provided.

Most complaints simply result in the Animal Control Officer being paged. However, if the Animal Control Officer has not contacted the Shelburne Communications Center within 15 minutes, the Call-taker/Dispatcher will then notify the Police Officer-in-Charge.

The Animal Control Officer and/or Police Officer will investigate the information provided in the complaint to determine if an Ordinance Violation exists. A violation of the Animal Control Ordinance may result in the pet being Impounded, or the owner will be issued a Municipal Complaint (Ticket).

Impounded Animals:

  • The Animal Control Officer or Police Officer may apprehend and impound any domestic pets that has bitten any person or found running at large.
  • The matter will then be referred to the Town Health Officer for proper disposition.
  • The pet will only be released between the hours of 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday or upon payment of Additional Fee on Weekends.
    • You must pay all fees and/or fines.
    • You must show proof of rabies vaccination.
    • You must show proof the pet has been Licensed for the current year.

Unclaimed domestic pets:

  • All domestic pets will be kept for no less than seven (7) days. Attempts will be made to contact the owner and/or publish a listing in the local newspaper.
  • The owner will have seven (7) days after being notified to pick up the domestic pet. If the domestic pet has not been picked up, the animal may be sold, given away, or humanely destroyed.

Impound and Boarding Fees:

The Shelburne Police Department accepts Checks, Money Orders, or Cash. We DO NOT accept Credit or Debit Cards. All checks must be made payable to the Town of Shelburne. If paying with cash, it is recommended to have exact change. 

Impound Fees:

$ 30.00 – First Offense within a twelve (12) month period.
$ 55.00 – Second Offense within a twelve (12) month period.
$105.00 – Three or more Offenses within a twelve (12) month period. 

Boarding Fee:

$ 10.00 per day, or a fraction thereof, during which the domestic pet is impounded. 
$ 12.00 per day for large domestic dogs. 

Additional Impound Fee:

$ 20.00 – Additional Fee for domestic pet’s release on weekends.

Enforcement Before the Judicial Bureau:

Any owner in violation of any provision of the Animal Control Ordinance shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to $500.00 per day for each day that such violation continues. The Animal Control Officer or Police Officer may, in lieu of apprehending a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid found at large, issue and pursue before the Judicial Bureau a Municipal Complaint (Ticket) for any owner found to have violated any provision of the Animal Control Ordinance.

Waiver Fee for Municipal Complaint:

The Animal Control Officer or Police Officer has the authority to recover a waiver fee, in lieu of a civil penalty, in the following amount, for any person who declines to contest a Municipal Complaint and pays the waiver fee. 

$ 15.00 – First Offense 
$ 35.00 – Second Offense 
$ 60.00 – Third Offense 
$100.00 – Fourth Offense 
$120.00 – Fifth and subsequent Offense 
Offenses shall be counted on a calendar year basis.

Civil Penalty for Ordinance Violation:

The Animal Control Officer or Police Officer has the authority to recover civil penalties in the following amounts for each violation of this Ordinance. 

$ 25.00 – First Offense 
$ 50.00 – Second Offense 
$ 75.00 – Third Offense 
$150.00 – Fourth Offense 
$200.00 – Fifth and subsequent Offense 
Offenses shall be counted on a calendar year basis.


  • All owners of domestic pets shall be required to annually register and license each animal with the Town Clerk’s Office.
  • Each dog and cat six (6) months of age or older must be registered by April 1 of each year.
  • To register your dog or cat, mail or bring the latest rabies certificate and certificate of neutering to the Town Clerk’s Office Animal Licensing.

Wild Animals:

It may surprise many people to see wildlife in their own backyard. However, it is not uncommon to see bears, moose, deer, coyotes, bobcats, foxes, skunks, raccoons, beavers, and birds of prey, just to name a few. Many of these wild animals have learned to coexist with us and should be left alone. 

The consequences of approaching wildlife can be serious. You are responsible for your own safety as well as the safety of wildlife. Wild animals should be allowed to forage for food, care for their young, sleep and play without human disturbance. 

All Wild Animals Can Be Dangerous:

Many television shows, books, magazines, and social media feature people getting close to or feeding wildlife as if this is appropriate behavior. Don’t be misled – approaching or feeding wild animals is never appropriate. Giving food to or approaching wild animals not only interferes with their natural activity but is also the leading cause of conflicts, which result in serious injury or death to both people and animals. 

Human conflicts with bears and mountain lions usually receive widespread media attention. However, most conflicts that result in human injury involve other species of wild animals. Conflicts are primarily caused by inappropriate human behavior.

Both the females and males of most wildlife species are equally dangerous. Although animals may look or act tame, they are wild and may change quickly and unpredictably from passive or “friendly” too aggressive behavior. If an animal approaches you, it is your responsibility to move away to maintain a safe distance. Your safety is your responsibility! 

Children and Wildlife:

Wildlife poses a special danger to children. Explain to children the differences between wild and domestic animals so they will know why it is important not to approach, touch, or feed wildlife.

For Their Own Safety, Children Should:

  • Always be within close reach and sight of guardians.
  • Avoid playing in or near dense cover.
  • Refrain from squealing or making other animal-like noises while hiking or playing.
  • Be warned not to approach animals, especially baby animals.
  • Never pet, feed, or pose for a photo with a wild animal, even if the animal appears tame.

What to do when a wild animal becomes aggressive toward people or domestic animals:

Report the behavior to the Shelburne Police Department or the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. Only Dial 9-1-1 for Wild Animals that are currently threatening a person or domestic pet! For all other reports, you should contact the numbers listed below. 

Shelburne Police Department: 
Non-emergency (802)985-8051 

Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department:  
Non-emergency (802)878-7111 

Nuisance Wildlife:

More and more, wildlife is getting into trouble in urban and suburban areas. Of course, these problems are compounded by people who attract wildlife intentionally or unintentionally into residential areas with feeders, improperly stored garbage, and building in the wildlife’s natural habitat. As a result, moose, deer, bear, woodchucks, squirrels, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, skunks, raccoons, beavers, and many different types of birds have become comfortable hanging out in our yards.

For more information on how to deal with wildlife problems, please check the links provided:

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department

Injured or Orphaned Animals:

For many people, the pleasure of seeing these young creatures is mixed with a sense of protectiveness, of wanting to help them survive. But spotting a baby animal by itself doesn’t necessarily mean it is an orphan. Many wildlife parents leave their young alone during the day, sometimes for long periods. The adult animals will limit the number of visits to their young.  This prevents predators from discovering the location of the newborns.

How can you tell if an animal needs your help or should be left alone? 

Here are some general signs to look for:

  • A wild animal presented to you by a cat or dog.
  • The wild animal is bleeding.
  • The wild animal has an apparent or obvious broken limb.
  • A featherless or nearly featherless bird (nestling) on the ground.
  • Evidence of a dead parent nearby

Finding Help:

If a wild animal exhibits any of the above signs, you should immediately contact Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department Game Warden and/or contact a local Wildlife Rehabilitator for assistance.