Animal Control FAQs

When are Dog Licenses Due?

Dog licenses expire April 30th every year. Dogs can be licensed in person at the Town Clerk’s Office. Please check the Town website to confirm their hours of operation. You do need to prove that your dog’s rabies shot is up-to-date. Contact the Town Clerks office at (603) 726-4232 for any questions.

What do I do with a stray dog?

The Town of Thornton does not have an Animal Control Officer. Call the Thornton Police Department at (603) 726-4222 if the dog is restrained or contained. Typically, the dog will stay at the Police Department for a short time while we attempt to locate the owner. If the owner cannot be located, the dog will be brought to the NH Humane Society in Laconia. Once the dog is brought to the Humane Society, the owner will have to go there to retrieve it, as well as pay any applicable fees.

What do I do with a stray cat?

As there are currently no laws regarding cats running at large, we recommend people with cats they believe to be stray to take the cat to the Nh Humane Society in Laconia.

What do I do if a neighbor’s dog is barking excessively?

Under RSA 466:31 it is a violation of the law if a dog “barks for sustained periods of more than 1/2 hour, or during the night hours so as to disturb the peace and quiet of a neighborhood or area, not including a dog which is guarding, working, or herding livestock, as defined in RSA 21:34-a, II(a)(4);” If you would like the police department to address the issue with your neighbor, please call us. Please keep in mind that we may have to ask you to provide a written statement if a summons is going to be issued to the owner.

Is there a leash law in Thornton?

There is no “leash law” in Thornton that requires a dog to always be on a leash. However, NH state law makes it illegal for a dog to be “at large.” “At large” means “it is off the premises of the owner or keeper and not under the control of any person by means of personal presence and attention as will reasonably control the conduct of such dog, unless accompanied by the owner or custodian.” As an example, a well behaved dog that responds well to voice commands would not be considered “at large” if it is off leash and reasonably under the control of the owner by voice commands.

There is also an exception to the “at large” definition for certain types of dogs such as hunting and herding dogs. In their case, the owner is only required to be able to see or hear the dog or reasonably know where they are while they are actively hunting or herding. The owner is not required to be able to see the dog at all times.

Who do I call if I have a bear on my property?

You can call the State of NH Fish & Game office at (603) 744-5470.