Dog Ordinances

Beginning the Saturday before Memorial Day, through the Saturday after Labor Day, dogs are not permitted on Town Beaches between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m, except Saturdays when dogs are not permitted from 9am-9pm.

The only exception will be the area between Wallis Sands State Park and Odiorne State Park where dogs and people are allowed except between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m. when the beach is closed. Owners are subject to a $50.00 fine for any violation.

Leashes are not required, however, dogs must be under control by means of personal presence and attention as will reasonably control the conduct of such dog.

Dog owners must immediately pick up any waste left by the dog. Owners are subject to a $50.00 fine for failure to do so.

Visit the State of NH website for state laws regarding dogs.

Visit the ordinances page for a complete list of town ordinances regulating dogs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is my dog brought if picked up by the Rye Police Department?

If the Rye Police Department picks up a loose dog, it is generally brought to New Hampshire SPCA. If the dog has a license affixed to the collar (as required by State Law), officers may try to contact the owner before taking it into custody. If the dog is brought to the kennel, the owner will need to complete an animal release form at the police department first, before picking up the dog. If it is after business hours, the owner must wait until the next business day until the kennel is open. The dog owner may be subject to a summons, especially if there are prior offenses.

I have lost my pet, what should I do?

If you have lost your pet, you should contact the Rye Police Department in case someone has reported it found. You could also contact New Hampshire SPCA to see if the Rye Police Department or another citizen has turned it in.

Does the Rye Police Department pick up any animals other than dogs?

No. The Rye Police will only pick up loose dogs. If you have lost a cat or other pet, you may still notify us in the event someone calls to report it found.

I have found someone's pet, what should I do?

If you find a loose pet, check to see if there are any ID tags on the collar. You also may call the Rye Police to find out who the owner is if there is a dog license. If you are unable to determine the owner, you may bring the pet to New Hampshire SPCA who will hold the pet until the owner calls. You may also hold the pet until the owner calls for it. Contact the police department so we are aware of where the pet is in case the owner calls.

What can I do about the dog next door that is left outside and continually barks?

If a dog barks for sustained periods of time more than ½ hour, or during the night hours so as to disturb the peace and quiet of a neighborhood, the dog owner is in violation of the dog ordinance. Excessive barking can be reported to the Rye Police who will investigate. If this occurs during non-business hours the responding police officer will listen and if he hears the barking he will document it in a report and take what immediate action is necessary. The Animal Control Officer may issue the dog owner a violation notice and he will give the owner guidance in curbing nuisance barking. Subsequent complaints may lead to a court summons.

Where can I bring my injured animal for emergency treatment on a weekend or holiday?

Veterinary Emergency Center 
15 Piscataqua Dr.
Portsmouth, NH

What should I do if I hit a dog with my vehicle?

You should remain on scene and call police. According to RSA 264:31, the driver of any vehicle who knowingly strikes a dog and fails to report the incident to the dog's owner or custodian or to a police officer as soon as possible, shall be guilty of a violation.


Animals in Parked Vehicles

Do not leave your animal in a vehicle while it is unattended. Unattended animals left in vehicles even with the windows partially opened are still subject to heat stress. When an animal breathes only hot air your pet can quickly suffer from brain damage and die from a heatstroke.

RSA 644:8-aa, states that

  • It shall be cruelty to confine an animal in a motor vehicle or other enclosed space in which the temperature is either so high or so low as to cause serious harm to the animal.
  • Any person in violation of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
  • Any law enforcement officer or agent of a licensed humane organization may take action necessary to rescue a confined animal endangered by extreme temperatures, and to remove the threat of further serious harm.

If you suspect your animal's body heat becomes elevated you must lower his/her body temperature immediately! Get them to some shade and apply cool, not cold, water all over his/her body; apply ice packs or cold towels to only the head; Let him/her drink small amounts of cool water, or lick ice cubes or ice cream; Get your pet to a veterinarian right away.

Rabies and Animal Bites

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. It can kill almost any mammal or human that gets sick from it.

The rabies virus lives in the saliva, the virus is spread by getting the infected virus into a wound. Only mammals get rabies. Rabies can be prevented by getting the proper vaccinations from you local veterinarian on a regular basis. Keep records of your pet's vaccinations for future reference. If your pet is bitten, contact the Rye Police Department Animal Control Officer. To limit the possibility of exposure, keep your pets on your property. Don't leave garbage out that may attract wild infected animals to your property. A rabid animal sometimes acts tame. Do not keep wild animals as pets. If you see an animal acting strangely, report it to your local animal control. Do not go near it yourself!

If you have been bitten, don't panic but don't ignore it. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and plenty of water. Get medical attention as soon as you can. If you can, identify the animal before it runs away. Then call the Rye Police Animal Control Officer. If it is a wild animal that must be killed, do not damage the head. The brain is used to test for the rabies virus.

If your pet has bitten someone, tell the person who was bitten to see a doctor immediately. If your pet is a dog, cat or ferret, it will possibly have to be confined for a period of 10 days for observation.


seals rest on shoreSeals regularly come ashore to rest, but people often assume that a beached seal is in distress. Some seals can in fact spend many days ashore at a time, and they do not need to stay wet. It is common to find seals on land, since they normally spend much of their time out of the water resting, sunning or sleeping. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, people need to stay 100 yards or more away from the seal. If you notice any entanglement or obvious injuries, call the Seacoast Science Center Marine Mammal Rescue Team 24 hours hotline at (603) 997-9448. If you find someone disturbing a seal on the beach, contact the Rye Police Department at 964-5522.

For more information, go to the Seacoast Science Center Marine Mammal Rescue Team webpage.


If you find an injured seagull, you may contact The Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick, ME at 207-361-1400. They are a federally approved wildlife rehabilitation center. The Rye Police Department will not transport the seagull. If you would like to transport the seagull for care, call The Center for Wildlife ahead of time to be sure they will accept it.


You can take steps to deter skunks on your property through habitat modification. Attractants, such as garbage and pet food left outside, should be removed. Convenient denning sites such as wood and rock piles, elevated sheds, openings under concrete slabs and porches and access to crawl spaces under houses, all will attract skunks. To discourage skunks from denning, openings to all buildings should be closed up with boards or screening that extends 8 to 10 inches underground. Openings under concrete structures should be backfilled with dirt, and debris piles should be removed or stacked neatly to eliminate suitable cavities.

In most instances, food from poorly maintained garbage containers is the attraction around buildings. Preventive measures such as placing secure lids on garbage containers will usually solve the problem. Occasionally, skunks enter garages, cellars or houses and become trapped. If this happens, doors or windows should be left open to allow the skunk to leave.

Skunks should not be needlessly killed. They are highly beneficial to gardeners and landowners because they feed on large numbers of garden pests, mice and rats.


Bats often times enter a residence through an open window or chimney. First, determine if there is any possibility that human or domestic animal contact with the bat has occurred (e.g. a bite, scratch, other direct contact). If you have confirmed that there was no possibility of human or domestic animal contact with the bat, it can be allowed to leave on its own, or if it is in your home, it can be released. Close the room and closet doors, open windows, turn on a light and observe the bat until it leaves. If the bat does not leave, wait for it to land and, wearing gloves, cover it with a container and slide a piece of cardboard under the container trapping the bat. Release it out of doors, away from populated areas and preferably after dark.

If contact with the bat has occurred, capture the bat, carefully avoiding direct contact with it and without damaging its head. To capture the bat, close windows, the room and closet doors, turn on lights if the room is dark, and wait for the bat to land. Wearing gloves, cover the bat with a plastic cup, coffee can or similar container. Slide a piece of cardboard (or paper plate) under the container trapping the bat. Tape the cardboard tightly to the container. Immediately contact Animal Control to arrange for rabies examination of the bat.

NH Fish and Game - Bats


These animals are generally nocturnal and seldom seen. You may catch a glimpse of a coyote, however, as they move from one part of their territory to another in search of prey (usually small mammals such as mice or voles). Observing a coyote in this manner (even during the daytime) does not mean that the coyote is sick or aggressive. If the coyote is scared away by your presence, they are exhibiting natural behavior and this should not be cause for concern.

In suburban areas, coyotes have been known to kill house cats. Keeping your pets and pet food inside at night helps reduce the likelihood that a family pet will become prey. Coyotes are often blamed for events for which domestic dogs, automobiles or other wildlife are responsible.

As for your safety, coyotes pose little risk to people. More people are killed by errant golf balls and flying champagne corks each year than are bitten by coyotes.

NH Fish and Game - Eastern Coyote


Often times, the Rye Police Department respond to motor vehicles accidents involving deer. If you are involved in an accident with a deer, you should notify the Rye Police Department. If the damage to your vehicle is more than $1000, you are obligated to file an accident report.

NH Fish and Game - Deer Hunting


NH Fish and Game - Fishing