Wellesley, Massachusetts is thriving suburb of Boston, home to approximately 26,000 residents, as well as more than 2,700 dogs and 3,000+ cats. (1) Although the town is highly-developed, it boasts 834 acres of open space (550 town-owned; 284 state-owned), as well as two aqueducts running through the town that serve as interconnecting greenways for the trails. The Town’s Natural Resources Commission (NRC) maintains many of these open spaces – which are highly-utilized by residents and their town-licensed dogs – and also provides informational tools that can be helpful to dog owners.
This article is designed as a comprehensive resource for Wellesley dog owners, with answers to common questions regarding dog licensing, health and safety, and parks that are dog-friendly, to support the mutual enjoyment and well-being of owners and their dogs.
Wellesley Dog Licensing Requirements and Process
Below you’ll find answers to common questions regarding Wellesley dog licensing requirements, and resource links to help you access forms and further information.
Are dog owners in Wellesley required to license their dogs?
Yes. All dogs more than six months old must be licensed. Each dog license must be renewed with the City Clerk annually between January 1 and March 31.
What is a dog license and why is a dog required to wear one?
The Town issues a dog license in the form of a tag that is required to be displayed at all times on a dog collar as a form of identification. The licensing process and tag helps to identify lost dogs, and enables the town to maintain a record of the town’s dog population.
What do I need in order to license my dog, and what is the cost?
Owners must submit copies these documents with their application: A current rabies vaccination certificate, and proof of spay or neuter (as a surgery certificate, or notation in the dog’s Medical History). Once this information is on file, it is not necessary to resubmit it each year unless the dog was neutered since the last license was issued. Currently, a dog license costs $20.00, or $12.00 for spayed/neutered dogs. Owners must be at least 18 years old to obtain a dog license. The license period runs from April 1 to March 31 of the following year, and renewals processed after April 1 are subject to a $50 unlicensed citation by the Animal Control Officer.
How and where can I obtain a dog license?
Dog owners may apply for a dog license by completing a printable application and submitting it in person at the Wellesley Town Clerk’s Office, or via mail. Cash, check or money order is accepted, payable to: “Town of Wellesley”. No credit cards are accepted. If licensing by mail, include a self-addressed and stamped envelope along with your payment and a copy of the required vaccination certificate and proof of spaying or neutering, and mail it to: Town Clerk, 525 Washington St., Wellesley, MA 02482.
Dog Safety Tips and FAQs
How to report a lost dog in Wellesley
Call the Wellesley Animal Control Officer at 781-235-8460. If you reach voice mail, state your name, phone number, address and a description of your dog. During off-hours and holidays, contact the Wellesley Police at 781-235-1212, since they record all lost and found pets and/or place them in the Town Kennel. To contact the Kennel directly, or to bring in a found dog, call 508-653-5020. Other ways to keep your dog safe are posted on the Animal Safety page of the Town Website.
Answers to Commonly Asked Questions of the Animal Control Officer
You can find answers to frequently asked questions regarding rabies clinics, dog safety, and more on the page titled, on Helpful Tips for When the ACO is Away on the Town’s website.
Ways you can support the efforts of the local Animal Control Program
- Provide for your dog’s safety. Keep a collar and identification tags on your dog at all times and ensure that your dog is always properly supervised or safely confined when you’re not home. Spay or neuter your dog and keep current on all necessary vaccinations, especially the rabies vaccination.
- Encourage local government officials to support the animal control program: it is one of the community’s life-saving services. Urge officials to take crimes against animals seriously and to advance pro-animal legislation. Support efforts to enact and enforce pro-animal ordinances.
- Support your local animal control program. They need funds to serve the community effectively, to train and equip staff, and to secure vehicles to transport animals safely and comfortably.
Dog-friendly Parks in Wellesley
Dog owners often consider Wellesley to be a dog-friendly community. Some of Wellesley’s most popular parks for dogs are listed below. In general, the parks are open from dawn until dusk, and all except for Perrin Park generally allow dogs to be off-leash, as long as they are under the voice control by their owner. None of the parks are enclosed, so if a dog does doesn’t respond to voice control, owners must use a leash.
Location: Meadowbrook and Sudbury Road, Wellesley
Size: 31 acres
Features: Open fields, woodlands, and swamps. The land had once been cleared for farming. Today, the farm has reverted back to woodlands except for a meadow, which is mowed annually. Boulder Brook flows along two sides, and was named for the huge boulders in the area, deposited by glaciers.
Size: 13 acres
Features: This reservation contains a small pond, which is home to many birds, a marsh, and a young forest of Birch, Poplar, and Aspen. Old stone walls run through the reservation, giving evidence that it was once farmland. Carisbrooke Reservation contributes to the protection of the Cold Stream Brook Watershed, and is maintained for the pleasure of the residents of the Town.
Size: 42 acres of woodlands and meadow
Features: Centennial Park is a conservation and wildlife sanctuary where you can enjoy bird watching, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, kite-flying, fishing, and studying and photographing nature. Please keep dogs on leash or under voice command at all times if off-leash, to protect foxes, deer, and other wildlife.
Location: Begins at Hunnewell Field, in the geographic center of Wellesley
Size: 23 acres
Features: Serves the adjacent high school, and the entire community. The field contains tennis courts, football, soccer and hockey fields, track baseball diamonds, other school sports facilities, at tot lot and a skating pond.
Location: Adjacent to the 16-acre Rocky Ledges Reservation, the 31-acre Boulder Brook Reservation and an elementary school.
Size: 19 acres
Features: Kelly Memorial Park offers tennis courts, ball fields, soccer, a skating rink and a sledding hill.
Location: Longfellow Pond Trail, Wellesley, MA
Size: 5 acres
Features: Ollie Turner Park features a brook, large pond, vernal pool, pool, woodlands and marshes.
Perrin Park is closer to residential areas than other parks, and includes youth recreation areas; therefore, dog owners must follow more use restrictions and off-leash hours, as outlined below.
Dog-Related Regulations for users of Perrin Park:
- Only Wellesley -licensed dogs are allowed in Perrin Park.
- The number of off-leash dogs shall not exceed 8 at any one time and all dogs must be under control at all times.
- The number of dogs under the control of one owner is limited to 2 dogs or 3 dogs with a special permit from the Natural Resources Commission.
- No dogs are allowed off-leash when athletic games are being played.
- Dog owners must remove all feces and trash.
- All dogs, on and off-leash, are excluded from the tot-lot playground.
- Fines for non-compliance may be levied up to $200.00 per violation.
- Park is closed to all users after dusk.
- Please be considerate, and control your dog from barking
- Please respect the privacy and property of the park’s surrounding neighbors
Perrin Park Off-leash Dog Hours Other Posted Regulations for Users of Perrin Park:
- SPRING Off-leash Dog Hours are APRIL 1 – JUNE 25
- FALL Off-leash Dog Hours are AUGUST 31 – NOVEMBER 15
- Morning Off Leash Dog Hours: 7:00 – 9:30 AM, Mon-Fri; 7:00-8:30 AM; Sat 8:00-9:30 AM
- Sunday Evening Off-leash Hours (all days including Weekends): 7:30-9:00 PM or dusk, whichever is earlier
- SUMMER Off-leash Dog Hours: JUNE 26 – AUGUST 30
Location: 90 Washington St., across from the Crosstown Path
Features: Warren Park has large lawn areas and hills and there are plenty of trees and shade.
There are two separate playgrounds; a smaller structure for toddlers, and a larger structure designed for older children with taller slides and towers, plus swings and a basketball court.
Rules and Etiquette in Dog Parks
Number of dogs allowed per person in Wellesley’s parks
The town restricts the number of dogs to no more than two dogs per person, or three dogs with a permit.
Rules for off-leash dogs
In most Wellesley parks, with the exception of Perrin Park, dogs may be off-leash, provided that the owners/keepers follow these general rules dogs on conservation land:
- Dogs must be under the voice control of owner or keeper
- Owners must remove and properly dispose of dog waste
- For a complete list of rules, please see the signs at all parks