Ipswich Animal Control


News and Information about Animal Control

by Matt Antczak, Animal Control Officer


Past Articles


Coyotes and Your Pets

(Posted 08-12-2009)

There was a bad situation in Georgetown where a Coyote attacked and killed a small dog. There are many variations as to what had happened, so all I will do is give some advice on how to prevent it from happening to you and your pet.


First and foremost, if you are out walking your dog(s), even in a State Park, they should be leashed. Leashes can prevent those little dogs with the big hearts and attitudes from going after things that they probably shouldn't (like Coyotes). A leash will help you to bring your dog into your protection, as well as keep an eye on it, especially if you are with friends and are not paying attention to your dog(s). To scare off Coyotes, you could carry something that makes a loud bang sound, I suggest 2 small pieces of 1"x3"x4" pine boards to clap together. I do not suggest air horns, they may work but I do know that Coyotes have also howled in response to them from a short distance. I do not recommend "Pepper Spray" either, due to the closeness and accuracy you would need to be effective.


Around your house you can help by making sure that wildlife is not being fed (attention to the person who sent in the photo of the skunks on his deck eating the cat food). I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that cats be indoor cats and that you keep an eye out on small dogs while they are out in the back yard.


Any food can attract Coyotes, they will eat almost anything!! If you feed the birds keep the area clean of overflow which can attract smaller animals and then the Coyote. Keep brush piles from building up in your yard, it keeps them from wanting to build a home underneath. Keep trash well covered and contained, as well as clean up the spill of grease from the barbecue.


General information, There have only been 4 Coyote bites on humans in the past 50+ years, 3 were rabid (7 Coyotes total tested positive in the past 50+ years), 1 was rehabbed for a broken leg by humans --*** CONNECTING HUMANS TO FOOD***--.. We need to prevent the Coyote's connection of Humans to food. We need to learn about Coyotes and how to live with them. Believe it or not, Coyotes DO benefit us greatly, they help control the pest wildlife greatly, especially those that are at the best risk for carrying the Rabies Virus. There is tons of information on the internet for people to look up. Just remember we have the "Eastern Coyote". Look especially for Eastern Mass. stats.


How to Deal with Nuisance Animals

(Posted 07-11-2009)

IT IS ILLEGAL in the State of Mass. to relocate wildlife, even for me. Many people have called, after already trapping a skunk, to ask me to come and take it away, but then, only to watch me release it on their property.


If you have a skunk or groundhog around that you'd like to get rid of, think about how you are going to do it.   You can contact a LICENSED Trapper. These people can legally trap and euthanize your problem wildlife. However, there are other methods of pest control too, constantly disturbing the entrances of their burrows by filling them in with used cat litter, rags dampened with ammonia, or small stones will sometimes also do the job.


When they leave YOU MUST remember to fix the problem. Repair holes in the concrete under decks, sheds, front porches, and even around foundations.  For squirrels or raccoons getting into attics or chimneys, screen over openings with a strong 1/4 inch wire cloth, preferably of copper or brass.


 I'd like to also remind you that all animals have a purpose.  Skunks, for example, keep grubs from destroying our lawns and also help keep away other animals such as the raccoon and groundhogs.  And, yes, if they over populate they can become a problem.


Flea & Tick Control Products Alert

(Posted 06-03-2009)


I was forwarded an article on "Spot-On" tick & flea control products and their possible effects on pets. "Spot - On" is the type of product that is applied to the skin usually between the shoulders.  Some pets have had side effects to these types of products.  There are many different reactions ranging from mild skin irritations, to loss of appetite, vomiting, labored breathing, seizures, and in a few cases even death.  So what I am asking everyone is please read the instructions if you use these products.  Use cat products on cats not dogs and dog products on dogs not cats.  The best way to keep ticks off your pets and out of your homes is to check them thoroughly for ticks.  "Spot-On" products only effect the skin, not the fur, where ticks can at least hitch a ride into your home and drop off onto your couch or bed and wait for you to dig in to.  So, if you use or don't use these products, a good look over of your pet's fur, when they come inside, is always best.


Matt Wants your Bat

(Posted 05-29-2009)

If you find a Bat in your house you should call my office 978-356-6652 or after hours the Police Dept. 978-356-4343, and either myself or my assistant will be out to remove it.  If you saw it fly into the house and you are able to get it to fly out on it's own, that would be good.  However, if you find a bat flying around in your bedroom in the morning or wake up to one flying around,  I WANT IT!!  If you have young children or infants and a bat MAY HAVE BEEN in the same room with them, I WANT IT!! Bats are the leading transmitter of Rabies to humans. Although we DO NOT have the large bat colonies that mountainous areas have (hundreds of bats per colony), they still hang out in our old barns and buildings in smaller colonies.  That does help control the spread of Rabies. Even though our colonies may only have 10-30 bats, I still want to make sure we DO NOT get Rabies in our area. So please call us if you have ANY QUESTION about BATS.


Dog DNA as a Measure to Get People to Pick Up After Their Dogs

(Posted 04-17-2009)

What a great idea (in a way) to help keep clean the Town's sidewalks, parks, playgrounds, open space, and even lawns of people who do not own dogs.  In a growing number of city's, they have taken the initiative to use "Dog DNA" to license your dog.  Any mess found not picked up can be matched in their data base and the owner could be fined up to $500 (Five Hundred Dollars). This is a very creative way to bring revenue into towns as well as keeping pet owners responsible and the town's areas clean.

Some people really do not understand the need for picking up after their pets. Basically it is one word: "ECOLI".  Dog mess is filled with bacteria, just as much as human feces is.  It not only gets into our water supply (drink it up), but also our rivers, ponds, clam flats, etc. If you know a clammer, then help him keep his work, help him keep bringing those clams to the 'Clam Box' so we can all enjoy some fried clams.  If we don't pick up after our dogs, all of us will eventually be affected.

Hopefully we won't need to go to the drastic measure of dog DNA and have fines so high, but if the few of us refuse to pick up, then it just may end up being that way.  Everyone can help by reminding those they see leaving their mess or bag of mess behind, to take it with them.



(Posted 11-23-2008)

My first little note is, Please DO NOT call 911 to reach the Animal Control Dept. Call 911 ONLY if you are being attacked by an animal. 911 is for human emergencies and it is a criminal offense if used improperly. If you have an animal situation, call the office at 978-356-6652 OR after hours, the Police Dept. at 978-356-4343, but DO NOT clog up the emergency 911 line. I have received 911 calls for dead animals in the roadways, loose dogs, injured birds, and squirrels in chimneys.

My second note is to those who walk their dogs in the "Boone Park" and "Bakers Pond" areas. You need to have dogs on a leash and you MUST pick up after your dog!  I will be checking and writing citations to violators. Families and people in general use those areas for walks and do not wish to come across your unleashed dog or step in messes they leave behind. Thank you for your cooperation.

Happy Holidays!

(Posted 11-18-2008)

The Thanksgiving Day Holiday is upon us, and I would like to give thanks to everyone involved with and those who donated to the Ipswich Humane Group. I'd like to extend my thanks to the Ipswich residents who help me out by being responsible pet owners; walking their dogs on leash and  picking up after them. I want to thank those residents who find a loose dog and try to hold it or keep sight of it until I arrive. I want to thank those who are part of our TNR (Tag, Neuter, Release and Vaccinate) program and feed the feral cat colony in their area or take care of the un-adoptable barn cats. I'd like to thank all those of you who keep your cats indoors, away from the harms of the outdoors. May you all have great Holidays!!

A BIG Thanks

(Posted 05-21-2008)

I would like to thank the Ipswich Humane Group for their service and assistance. Also, I'd like the Town of Ipswich to recognize the folks who do this on their own time so that our pets and strays have a chance to be found and/or adopted into new homes. Without the help of these folks, some of my Ideas as well as their Ideas would not have come to fruition. They work together with me on TNR (Tag, Neuter, Release and Vaccinate), Spay clinics and with the stray cats and dogs that are picked up. A special BIG Thanks to SRH Veterinary and Dr. Helen Noble, who is the Vet for these projects.


Among the many volunteers, I would like to recognize the Group members and what they do for our Community.

Heidi Best, the president, brought pet oxygen masks to our Fire Dept. so our pets, if caught in a fire, could have a better chance of survival.  She also lists our animals on 'Pet Finder'.

Meryl Baier, my right hand in the TNR program, also helps with the adoptions, and takes the pictures to put on 'Pet Finder'.

Tim Bishop, sets up the scheduling for the weekends, my vacations, and holidays.

Prudy Markos, who not only fosters but helps find funding and does all the organizing for our spay clinics.

Barbara Schoenberger, does the adoptions.

Phil Grenier, our treasurer.

Michelle Elward, our secretary.

Kristin Spaulding, helps with the pictures and write ups on the animals going on 'Pet Finder'.

Arlyn Lightbody, the vice president.

I want to thank each and every one of you for not only what you do to help my job, but what you do to help our Community, the Town of Ipswich.


Very Important Message to Cat Owners

(Posted 05-06-2008)

Attention Cat Owners: It is very important (and the law) that your cats have been vaccinated against Rabies.  Humans contract the rabies virus through their pet cats more than all other ways put together.  The State has sent out a notice informing all Animal Control Officers that cats in Mass. (on Cape Cod) have shown up Positive for Rabies.  We, as Animal Control Officers, are to give Citations out to those who have NOT vaccinated their cats. This is a $50 fine.  So please, if you have not done so, get it done soon.  I am to make unannounced visits to cat owners to check for certificates of vaccination.


Rabies is a serious disease that should not be ignored. Ipswich had an outbreak in the early 1990's, we do not want or need another. Prevention is vaccination!!

If you have any questions, please call my office at 978-356-6652.

Even though we had our rabies clinic in Feb., there are other sources for low cost vaccinations.  Check with Pet-Co.  Also, the Ipswich Chronicle printed a few sources in the May 1, 2008 edition on page 3.

Thank you for compliance.  Matt Antczak Ipswich, ACO


It's Coyote Season

(Posted 04-01-2008)

It is breeding season for coyotes, with pups being born between April and May.  Things you should be aware of to help protect your small pets.

  1. Keep trash tightly covered, coyotes will go after food in trash and they will go after other animals that are busy looking for food in trash.

  2. If you feed the birds, clean up the overflow on the ground as much as possible. Overflow will attract small animals which in turn can attract the coyote.

  3. Keep pets indoors as much as possible, especially smaller pets. Coyotes are NOT nocturnal but DO PREFER dusk to dawn when the human population is not as busy.

  4. If coyotes are coming around you can easily scare them off. Loud noises like shouting, banging pots and pans or blocks of wood together, throw tennis balls at them, or even chase them away by running at them.

Coyotes do not like humans, however they do like our small pets and think of them as "McDonald's", so keep them safe.  Contrary to popular beliefs, coyotes do not go after children and are not high rabies carriers.  For example: between September 16, 1992 and October 28, 2006, there were seven cases of rabid coyotes in Massachusetts compared to seven dogs and 130 cats (both of which are suppose to have vaccinations by state law) and 15 cows. There were 3 confirmed coyote bites to humans since the 1950's. Two coyotes were rabid and the other was released from a rehab place after breaking it's leg and being rehabilitated by humans for 16 weeks, connecting humans to food.  This last part is very important for ALL wildlife. We do not want wildlife to connect food to humans. They tend to lose their ability to forage on their own and it brings the diseases that they may carry closer to our doors,  everything from Bird Flu to Lyme.   Think about it.


It's the Season

(Posted 11-22-2007)

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Lets make it safe and fun for our pets too. While last year I wrote a list and checked it twice about things that can harm our pets, I will rerun that, but also add some fun things that our pets will be able to enjoy with us. Most of us have our pets as our extended family members, we include them in everything we do, lots of us even cook for them. Well how about baking some pet safe cookies with your kids for all to enjoy? There are many different recipies on the internet. And how about making toys with the kids for your pets for the holidays? It helps the kids be creative. Things to keep away from are TINSEL, RIBBONS, NAILS, and SCREWS when making the toys. Plants like mistletoe, poinsettia, holly, Christmas rose, wreaths, Christmas balls, and the tree itself (especially the water) can make your pets very sick. Please DO NOT give your pets chocolate!! I'll take the chocolate if you don't want it!! I am trying to get a dog park for our dogs to burn off those extra Holiday calories. And remember that the best gift you can give to your pet is a SPAY or NEUTER.   HAVE GREAT HOLIDAYS IPSWICH!


Lets Get Ready

(Posted 9-18-2007)

The corn is six feet high, there is dew on the grass every morning, the leaves on the trees are starting to change, and the animals are looking for their winter homes. Let us prepare our homes to prevent them from sharing our living quarters and food. Make sure foundations do not have gaps or spaces where wildlife can enter. Check windows and attic vents as well as soffit areas. Even the chimney should have a cap on it to prevent animals like squirrels and raccoons from coming down. If you need to put screens over areas, it is recommended to use brass or copper, to wildlife it's like putting your tongue on a nine volt battery, not too enjoyable when they use their teeth to pull it apart. Also, I would like to ask everyone who drives to please use more caution when driving.  Watch the sides of the roads, and expect that on those dark corners a big deer will be jumping out just as you are driving around the bend. Deer and other wildlife can cause some pretty good damage and not always do insurance companies cover the bill. Deer have also been known to kill people in accidents when coming through the windshield.


Let It Be

(Posted 8-31-2007)

It is the time of the year when young wildlife is starting to wander from its nesting areas. Sometimes they try a bit too hard or too early and get themselves injured. If you come across injured wildlife, it is recommended to let it be.  Do not touch it; the mother is usually watching from a distance and will be around when all is clear to make sure her young is fed.  The longer you stick around the longer it takes for the mother to return to her young to take care of it!  If the mother doesn't return there is a reason for this, as it could be that the youth may not be survival fit for the world in which  life takes its course and returns the young to the world by feeding others (I know it sounds cruel but it is nature). There are no Vets who are able or willing to take in wildlife and it is usually also illegal to do so.  SO please JUST LET IT BE, as that famous Beatles song suggests.


Cats and More Cats - A Problem that Requires Fixing

(Posted 8-17-2007)

Cats,cats,cats,kittens,kittens,meow,meow,meow.... We have lots of cats and kittens down at the shelter. If you've lost one, give us a call - 978-356-6652 - and see if we have it here. It is very important to spay and neuter your pets. I know it costs money that we don't really have and/or that we don't let our cats out and/or we just want them to experience one litter. Think of the costs now after that one or two litters, even more, think about the numerous animals already at shelters trying to find homes and how many of these will have to be euthanized for lack of finding a new home. When these unfixed animals have litters, are they spayed or neutered before given away? Will the new family bring them to the vet to be fixed? This we do not know, but with all the stray cat litters I have encountered in the last couple of years, I will be working with ACOAM (Animal Control Officers Association of Massachusetts) to follow what Rhode Island did by trying to pass a law that requires all cats to be spayed or neutered unless owned by a licensed cat breeder. This will help to quell the over population of the stray and feral cats that we have to deal with. If people could assist by reaching into their pockets to help with the costs of spay and neuter clinics, through the Ipswich Humane Group, that would be great. This program is in it's starting stages and should be up and running by this fall or spring of 2008, at the latest. If we could try to keep our cats indoors, that would  also help tremendously.


Your Pet - Your Responsibility

(Posted 8-10-2007)

Through the unfortunate incident involving the death of a longtime family dog by two off leash dogs, I hope we all learned something. I hope we all learned that if you own a dog or are caring for a dog, whether for an hour or days, they need to be on a leash when they are off your property. On your property, they should be on a run, in a fenced in area, in an invisible fenced in area, or you should be out with them. All dogs travel off properties that aren't equipped to keep them in. It is all about being responsible. If you own a pet, you need to be responsible and follow the laws related to that pet. This incident cost the lives of two dogs, so far, with the third dog's life pending its behavior in the next year, all because of human error. Yes us. We, as the smart ones, who have these pets as our extended family members and are there to take care of our loved fur faced friends need to be reminded that it is us who control their destinies. We bring them to the Vet to keep them healthy. We take them on walks for our leisure. We feed them well, sometimes sneaking them table scraps. We take them on vacations with us. We take them onto our couches to watch TV. We sometimes let them climb up onto our beds for warmth and comfort on cold nights. So why can't we guarantee them a long safe life by following the rules and laws we set up to protect them and us? If we, as neighbors, can help each other out by reminding each other of this; then we should get along quite well. We are saving you the cost of what the fines would be if we could just say "Hey, I noticed you dog was running loose. Did you know of the leash law or do you need some help in containing him?".  Remember all dogs can bite or be bitten. If you have a dog in a car, keep the windows up enough so the dog can't jump out and bite someone passing by, for this too has happened recently.

To remind residents of Ipswich of the laws and fines: leash law is $25; dogs on beach $25; poop-scoop and the need to have a bag on your person for removal +$50. These are my pets, my pet peeves I look for. Remember they are your pets, your family, your responsibility. Thank you all for keeping your pets safe and healthy.


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