ACO Ė Frequently Asked Questions

Q:      What does the Animal Control Officer do?

A:      Your Animal Control Officer is a person in our community who works to protect stray, injured, abused, and unwanted animals. The Animal Control Officer is responsible for enforcing State Laws and local Ordinances pertaining to the health, welfare and control of domestic animals.  The Animal Control Officer is also considered to be the local Rabies Control Authority that handles animal bite reports to humans and to animals.  The Animal Control Officer also handles reports of sick or injured wildlife.

Q:      Who picks up deceased animals?

A:      The Animal Control Officer picks up deceased wildlife on or near the roadway.  If wildlife dies on your property, you are responsible for removal.  If you find a deceased domestic animal, notify the Animal Control Officer at 603-635-2411.

Q:      If a domestic or wild animal bites me, what should I do?

A:      The very first thing you should do is clean your wound(s) thoroughly (wash under warm running water with soap) and contact your physician immediately.  If your physician is not available, we strongly advise that you go to the nearest emergency room for treatment.  Even the smallest wounds can be infected with parasites or, worst of all, the Rabies virus.  Contact the Animal Control Officer as soon as possible to report the incident so that we can attempt to locate the animal which has bitten you to determine if it has had a vaccination, in the case of a domestic animal, and quarantine it as necessary.

Q:      I have a problem with stray cats in my neighborhood. Why donít you pick up stray cats?

A:      There is no leash law for cats in Pelham, New Hampshire.  This prohibits an Animal Control Officer from being able to impound a cat found at large.  If a citizen chooses to take in a stray cat, they may do so as long as it is treated humanely.  There are many Animal Shelters and Rescue Groups in this area that could assist you if you decide to take in a cat.  We recommend that you ask around your neighborhood, distribute posters before you re-home the cat in case it is someoneís pet.  Encourage your neighbors to keep their cats indoors.  More cats disappear due to being hit by cars than from being re-homed.

If you find an injured or sick cat, please report this immediately to        Animal Control  by the calling the Police Department at 603-635-2411.  Do not attempt to capture it by yourself!

Q:      What is animal abuse?

A:      There are many different forms of animal abuse, which include but are not limited to: depriving it of food, water or shelter, leaving it outside in the New England weather when it may not have the right coat type (summer or winter) and/or hitting or beating a pet for any reason.  If you have any question about the proper treatment of a pet or animal please contact the Animal Control Officer to discuss it.

Q:      What can I do about my neighborís barking dog?

A:      It is against New Hampshire State Law for a dog to bark during the night hours or constantly for more than one half hour during the daytime.  Contact the Pelham Police Department to report a violation.  You must provide the following information: Your name and phone number, the offenderís exact address and the date and time of the last incident.

Q:      Is it against the law for someone to leave the scene of a motor vehicle accident without reporting to a Law Enforcement Officer that they hit a domestic dog?

A:      Yes, this a misdemeanor and the person responsible could be arrested.

Q:      What is nuisance wildlife and what can I do about it?

A:      Wild animals adapt to their surroundings to survive.  They find shelter under decks, under sheds, and inside homes and garages.  They find food sources at backyard bird feeders, inside garbage cans and in food containers left for domestic pets.  They are perceived as a nuisance when they destroy property or just appear in the yard.

It is best to leave wildlife in its habitat and adjust your habits. Do not feed birds or pets outside.  Do not leave garbage uncovered.  Block the areas beneath sheds and decks and donít leave your garage doors open for long periods.  If a wild animal must be removed from your home (fireplace, etc) we recommend that you call Nuisance Wild Animal Control listed under pest control or wildlife removal in the yellow pages. 

Q:      Can I leave my dog/cat in my car while I quickly run into the store?

A:      It is not safe to leave your pet in a vehicle.  The temperature inside a vehicle is always different than the outside temperature.  Something can always happen to delay you from getting back to the vehicle in a timely manner.  DONíT RISK YOUR PETS LIFE.  Be aware that it is illegal to leave your vehicle unattended with the engine running.  It is also illegal to leave a pet inside a car when the temperature can cause it harm.  Keep your pet safe and healthy and keep yourself out of trouble by leaving them at home.

Q:      How come I always get a voicemail instead of speaking with someone?

A:      The Animal Control Division is staffed by only one Animal Control Officer, while she is on duty she is out in the field, as well as answering questions and concerns via telephone.  Please leave a detailed message on voicemail, throughout the day calls will be returned on a priority basis. If you have a problem or concern that needs immediate attention please notify the Dispatcher, so they may dispatch the Animal Control Officer to assist you.  Safety issues are the first priority!

Q:      What should I do when I find a bat in my house?

A:      The bat needs to be captured and tested for rabies if there is contact with people, or if a child or pet is in the room with the bat, or if a person is sleeping or impaired while in the room with the bat.  Contact the Animal Control Officer to assist you or a local pest or wildlife control agency.