Town To Tighten Leash Law Enforcement

Contact information for questions and complaints:
Animal Control Dogs on Beaches  : Please contact Animal Control with any questions or to report violations at 508-457-2550, or call the police non-emergency phone at  508-457-2527 when/if no one answers the Animal control phone (they are often out of the office patrolling beaches or investigating other animal complaints or issues.

Falmouth Enterprise article by Noelle Annonen:, “Town To Tighten Leash Law Enforcement” published on 2/3/23:

Walkers with their dogs on Falmouth Heights Beach (GENE M. MARCHAND/ENTERPRISE)

After Harbor Master Gregg P. Fraser relayed residents’ complaints about lawless and leash-less dogs, the select board urged enforcement of the bylaw requiring dogs be leashed on beaches.

The bylaw requires dogs be leashed in the off-season, and not allowed at all on public beaches between May 1 and October 1. The bylaw is posted on signs, but is ignored. Animal control officers will more vigilantly patrol beaches, Mr. Fraser told the board during its meeting on Monday, January 30.

“It’s a shame that people who have dogs don’t take a little more responsibility for them,” Mr. Fraser said. “It’s not hard to find, anywhere in town … dogs running off the leash.”

Mr. Fraser said if people see a dog off its leash, they should call animal control. If no one answers, they can leave a message, or call the non-emergency police number so dispatchers can radio animal control. He stressed that people should call immediately, rather than wait several days to report a rogue dog, which they often do.

Mr. Fraser said animal control asks for the owner’s identification and issues a written warning first, then a fine. But when owners refuse to show their IDs, the police are called.

Barbara P. Schneider, chairwoman of the beach committee, said dog owners in Falmouth feel “quite entitled” to walk their dogs how they like, particularly on Chapoquoit Beach and in Beebe Woods. She said the only way to truly stop the problem is to fine violators.

Ms. Schneider works in marine mammal rescue and said dogs who run unleashed pose a danger to themselves and marine life. When a beached seal bites a dog, it is guaranteed to get an infection from the foreign bacteria, she said.

“We are getting more and more marine mammals on our shorelines,” Ms. Schneider said. “And a dog running up [to a seal] … that is one of the most dangerous things for the dog. And it can be deadly for the seal.”

Dogs will also chase and attack flightless piping plover chicks.