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 Officer Bob Lake is our Animal Control Officer for handling calls relating to Domestic Animals. The Animal Control Officer is an On-Call position only. During those time when the Animal Control Officer is not available a Shelburne Police Department Officer may be dispatch 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, 7 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, 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 question, provide incident specific Pre-Arrival Instruction, and result in the Animal Control Officer, Police Officers and/or Emergency Medical Units being dispatched.

Type of Animal Control Violation you are reporting


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

  • 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:
  • Type of Aggressive Behavior.
  • Who was the animal aggressive towards.
  • 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,
  • Scatters refuse,
  • Molests or threatens passers-by or passing vehicles on public roads or property,
  • Obstructs traffic,
  • Is not licensed as required by the Animal Control Ordinance,
  • Is uncontrolled or running at large,
  • Failure to remove immediately and properly dispose of any waste created by the domestic pet.
  • Your Name, Telephone Numbers and Address. 

Location of the Animal Control Violation

Current Location of the Animal (Street Number and Name and/or Landmark).
If the Animal is at large, 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).
  • Town Dog/Cat License Number.
  • Other Tags (Veterinary, Owner Applied, etc.).
  • Current Injuries.

The Call-taker/Dispatcher will determine the appropriate response based on the information you have provided.
If the call has resulted in someone being injured, the Call-taker/Dispatcher will immediately dispatch a Police Officer, Emergency Medical Units and page the Animal Control Officer.

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 in order to determine if a Ordinance Violation exists. A violation of the Animal Control Ordinance may result in the pet being Impounded or the owner issued a Municipal Complaint (Ticket). 

Impounded Animals

  • The Animal Control Officer or Police Officer shall apprehend and impound any domestic pets that has bitten any person. 
  • The matter will then be referred to the Town Health Officer for proper disposition.
  • The domestic pet shall be impounded for ten (10) days to determine if the domestic pet is rabid.
  • At the expiration of the ten (10) days such domestic pet shall be reclaimed by the owner after the following conditions have been resolved.
  • The domestic 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.
  • All fees have been paid,
  • Proof of rabies vaccination,
  • Proof the pet has been Licensed for the current year.
  • The Animal Control Officer or Police Officer may apprehend and impound any domestic pets that has been found running At Large. 

    Domestic pet will not be released until the following conditions have been resolved:

  • The domestic 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.
  • All fees have been paid,
  • Proof of rabies vaccination,
  • Proof the pet has been Licensed for the current year. 

Unclaimed domestic petsAll domestic pets will be kept for no less then 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 pickup the domestic pet.
If the domestic pet has not been picked up, the animal may be sold, given away or humanely destroyed.
Any owner who, within thirty (30) days of the initial impoundment has not claimed his/her pet will be assessed all of the fines and fees associated with the animal.

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 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 pets 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, and 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.
The cost for licensing is $11.00 for spayed/neutered dog or cat, $15.00 un-neutered.  The penalty for not registering dogs by April 1st, is an additional 50% of the regular cost.  See Animal License page for further information.

Mailing Address

Shelburne Town Offices
Attn: Dog Licensing
PO Box 88
Shelburne, VT 05482

Contact Us

  1. Bob Lake

    Animal Control Officer
    Ph: 802-985-8051

Related Documents

Wild Animals 
It may surprise many people to see wildlife in there own backyard. However, it is not uncommon to see bears, moose, deer, coyotes, bobcats, foxes, skunks, raccoons, beavers and birds of pray, 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.

Animals that are approached too closely may: 
  • Run into traffic and get hit by vehicles
  • Lose footing on cliffs and fall
  • Be separated from their young or forced to abandon their nests or dens
  • Become more vulnerable to predators because they are distracted by people or acquire a human scent
  • Abandon an important food source, reducing their chances for survival
  • Wild animals, should never be allowed to obtain human food or garbage.
  • Wild animals that receive these "food rewards" just once may become aggressive toward humans.
  • To protect people and their property, these animals may be destroyed by a Wildlife Officer.
  • Keep human food and garbage away from all wildlife. 
  • Animals fed along roads tend to stay near the road, increasing the chances of vehicle animal accidents.
  • Animals used to human food may eat aluminum foil, plastic, or other wrappings.
  • These can severely damage animals’ digestive systems and may even cause death.
  • Human food may cause tooth decay, ulcers, malformation of horns, arthritis, or other disease in wild animals.
  • Animals may try to eat any item with an odor.
  • Do not leave boxes, wrappers, plastics, or cans of any type where animals can get them.
  • Litter can harm animals!

All Wild Animals Can Be Dangerous: 
Many television shows, books, magazines, and advertisements 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, it is 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.
Many wild land visitors mistakenly believe that there are specific gestures and warning signals wild animals make that will give people time to retreat to safety. Wild animals (including deer, bison, sheep, elk, and moose) are individualistic and unpredictable. Animals that ignore you, look calm, or appear friendly may suddenly and without warning charge or strike out.
Human injury often occurs when an animal responds to a perceived threat with instinctive "fight or flight" behavior - people get injured simply because they are in the animal’s way. A car horn, barking dog, or excited children can trigger an animal into "fight or flight" 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" to 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-unlike zoo, farm, and captive animals pose special dangers 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 the 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 towards people or domestic animals:

Report the behavior to the Shelburne Police Department or the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Only Dial 9-1-1 for Wild Animals that are currently treatening a person or domestic pet! All other reports should be direct to the number below.

Shelburne Police Department:
Ph: 802-985-8051

Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife: 
Ph: 802-878-7111

Nuisance Wildlife: 
More and more, wildlife is getting into trouble in urban and suburban areas. Of course, these problem 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.

However, the problems don’t end there. More often than not, it’s going to cost you at least time and probably money to alleviate a wildlife nuisance problem. In a lot of situations, though, homeowners can help themselves. They simply need to be armed with the right information and equipment to get the job done. Trying to resolve a problem blindly can result in more headaches, more expenses and the embarrassment of being outwitted by an animal that will become even more difficult to deter or catch because of the education you’ve provided it.

One of the most common wildlife problems is garden raiding. The culprits are usually rabbits, woodchucks and deer, but occasionally a raccoon or bear will drop in for things like sweet corn and berries. Inexpensive solutions include using scarecrows, hanging pie tins and spraying peppery liquids on plants. But animals will adjust to these tactics. Many home gardeners also place fences around their gardens. But if animals climb over or dig under a fence, you may have to consider setting a live-trap to apprehend your raider.

Live-traps come in a variety of sizes and are of a cage-with-closing-door design. These traps are ideal for residential areas because if you catch the neighbor’s pet by mistake, all you have to do is open the door to release the dog or cat from the trap. Troublesome rabbits and squirrels can be relocated to another area. However, anyone who sets one of these traps must recognize it has the potential to catch something other than he or she may have ever expected; namely a skunk.

Every year, the Animal Control Officer receives calls from people who set live traps and caught a skunks by mistake. The problem, of course, is what to do with the skunk. It’s liable to spray just about anyone who comes near the trap, even if the person is just trying to set it free.

Questions that usually come to mind are: How can it be released? Who will help me?

Since skunks – as well as raccoons, bats, woodchucks, foxes and coyotes – are rabies vector species, they should not be relocated like other wildlife. Homeowners who set traps and catch these species face the choice of killing the animal or releasing it. Releasing a skunk or a raccoon can be a risky situation. There’s a chance that you could be sprayed by the skunk, or bitten or scratched. What follows promises to be unpleasant. You’ll either have to be deodorized or anxiously await test results on the trapped animal’s brain tissue to determine if it’s rabid.

A person should put a great deal of thought into any plan that calls for using a trap to resolve a nuisance wildlife problem. Getting and setting the trap is the easy part. Dealing with what happens after the door closes, however, truly can be more than most homeowners bargained for.

Before you set a trap to resolve a wildlife conflict, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Are you prepared to kill the trapped animal?
  • Do you know how to properly dispose of an animal carcass?
  • Do you know how to release a trapped animal?
  • Do you know what bait should be used to ensure you catch the targeted species?
  • Do you know how frequently you must check a trap set to capture wildlife?

If you can answer “yes” to the aforementioned questions then you should know what you’re getting into when you set a trap. Landowners should contact the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife before trapping nuisance wildlife. Also, once traps are set, they must be checked daily.

Sometimes it’s rewarding to have wildlife living on your property, because it can be fun to watch. But that enjoyment can change quickly when wildlife begins to invade your living quarters, causes significant property damage or has close, uncomfortable encounters with people around your home.

The solutions to these problems vary, but they include everything from hiring a wildlife pest control agent, using traps and making modifications to your home, to removing certain vegetation, placing fence and hunting. Exclusion and trapping are probably the two most commonly used approaches for dealing with nuisance wildlife.

Exclusion can be effective for some species, such as rabbits, bats, squirrels, raccoons, chipmunks, woodchucks, canada geese and other waterfowl. But such work shouldn’t be considered a panacea. Animals sometimes make adjustments to access your property, instead of moving on.

Timing for exclusion work also is important. For instance, it would be a bad idea to make modifications that would exclude bats from your attic during summer. That’s when these sites serve as maternity colonies; summer exclusions force bats trapped inside to enter your home’s living quarters in their search for a way out.

The same holds true for maternity dens inhabited by skunks, raccoons, squirrels and groundhogs. Let the young leave the maternity site – it’s a good bet to wait until fall – and then exclude them from your home or property by blocking access to the den site. Groundhog dens inhabited by other wildlife can be rendered uninhabitable by filling them with rocks and dirt. Wait, of course, until the animal is out of the den. Usually only a groundhog will exhume the fill.

Some people draw wildlife into neighborhoods or onto their properties by offering wildlife foods such as seed or suet; throwing table scraps out back; improperly storing garbage; outside pet feeding; or maintaining a grease-loaded grill. Litter – even discarded candy – also will attract wildlife. Stopping these activities can certainly make a difference when wildlife has become a nuisance in your area. Cleanliness should be a standard operating procedure for those not interested in sharing their space with wild animals.

Still, some properties, regardless of how well they’re cleaned, will continue to attract wildlife because important travel ways pass through them, or preferred habitat, or plentiful natural food sources – mulberry, cherry or oak trees – are found there. In these cases, landowners must understand that if their properties provide some of the area’s best habitat – a wetland, high-banked dam, woodlot, fruit- or mast-bearing trees – they will continue to attract wildlife. This is especially true in areas where your property appears to be an island in a sea of suburbia.  
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 mother is usually nearby and quite conscious of her young. Also, keep in mind that despite their small size, many young animals are actually independent enough to fend for themselves.

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.
  • Bleeding
  • An apparent or obvious broken limb
  • A featherless or nearly featherless bird (nestling) on the ground
  • Shivering
  • Evidence of a dead parent nearby

Finding Help: 
If a wild animal exhibits any of the above signs, you should immediately call one of the following local resources for assistance.

Addison County 
Rose Gale
Salisbury, VT 
Ph: 802-352-4448
Permitted for: mice, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, hares

Theresa Miller
Panton, VT
Ph: 802-475-2978
Permitted for: mice, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, hares, woodchucks, porcupines, muskrat, beaver, opossums, otter, weasels, mink, fishers, bobcats

Dona Norton
Starksboro, VT
Phone: (802) 453-4476
Permitted for: fawns

Chittenden County 
Candace Brueck
Hinesburg, VT
Ph: 802-482-6032
Cell: 802-734-1331
Permitted for: small mammals

Eveleen Cecchini – Outreach for Earth Stewardship
Shelburne, VT
Ph: 802-324-4111
Permitted for: crows, ravens, raptors

Nancy Carey – Pine Haven Refuge
Underhill Center, VT
Phone: (802) 899-1027
Permitted for: mammals, including rabies vectors

Craig Newman – Outreach for Earth Stewardship
Jericho, VT
Phone: (802) 899-3667
Cell: (802) 324-6958
Permitted for: crows, ravens and raptors

JoAnn Nichols
Burlington, VT
Ph: 802-651-6863
Permitted for: reptiles, mice, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, hares, woodchucks, porcupines, opossums

Helena Nordstrom
Burlington, VT
Ph: 802-864-4311
Permitted for: waterfowl, small mammals

Carol Winfield – Vermont Wildlife Rescue Association
Westford, VT
Ph: 802-879-4449
Permitted for: songbirds, waterfowl, crows, ravens, raptors, mice, chipmunks, rabbits, hares, woodchuck, porcupine, opossums, otter, weasel, mink, fishers, bobcats