Frequently Asked Questions

How many animals does the Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center receive each year?  We care for nearly 4000 animals each year.  The number of stray, abandoned, abused and neglected animals in our  care has risen from about 2500 less than five years ago. Our shelter population consists of about 50% dogs and 50% cats. Infrequently, we house other species as well.  The number of homeless cats in our facility has risen over 40% in just the past year.  The solution to the cat crisis begins in each neighborhood.  We can provide low cost or no cost spay/neuter alternatives for our communities' cat over-population crisis.

What cities and towns are served by Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Control?  We provide 24/7/365 animal control services to Springfield, Holyoke, and Chicopee.

Do you have an adoption program?  YES!  The unclaimed animals in our care are looking for a second opportunity to find a "forever home."  Won't you open your home and your heart to one of our wonderful animals? Adoption fees: Adult Cats over 12 months are $90 and Kittens under 12 months are $150.  Adult dogs are $250, and Puppies under 12 months are $300 . All dogs and cats have received all vaccinations appropriate to their age, are spayed/neutered and have a microchip implant. For Springfield residents dog adoptions will also include licensing for 1 year. Due to additional medical care occasionally we will need to increase the adoption fee of some animals to cover their medical expenses.

Can I bring my cat (or dog) to your facility when I can't keep him anymore?  As an Animal Control facility, we generally do not take surrenders. However we may, on a case by case basis, help residents from Springfield, Holyoke or Chicopee. All others are asked to contact Dakin Humane Society at 413-781-4000.

How do I get my dog licensed each year, as required by law? Simply bring a copy of your dog's current rabies certificate to your town clerk.  The town clerk's office is located in the City Hall building of your town. Springfield residents may also purchase dog licenses at the Thomas J. O'Connor Center.  The cost is usually very low, but will be more expensive if your dog is not spayed or neutered.  Most cities and towns charge more to license an unsterilized dog.  Unsterilized dogs are more likely to roam, bite people, fight with other animals, reproduce, etc.  Please bring a copy of your dog's spay/neuter certificate at the time of licensing to receive the discounted license fee. All of these factors increase the cost of animal control programs.  Springfield dog license renewals are due in April of each year and expire at the end of March the following year.

I know my dog is required to be vaccinated for rabies, but what about my cat?  She never goes outside.  Does she really need a rabies vaccine? According to Massachusetts state law, all dogs, cats and ferrets over the age of three months MUST be vaccinated against rabies.  This is done as a precautionary measure for human and animal safety.  The rabies virus is a fatal disease.  Even indoor cats can be exposed to rabies if a bat or small rodent invades your home and is killed by "Fluffy".  It's better to be safe and keep your pets healthy. 

We have stray cats living in our neighborhood.  We feed them, but they keep having kittens.  HELP!  We're getting overwhelmed!  This is sadly a common problem in many neighborhoods.  It only takes one or two cat owners who allow their pets to roam free and the population explosion can start.  When people choose to allow their cats outdoors, all too often they do so without having their pets spayed and neutered.  Cats are very fertile animals, some females going into heat as early as FOUR MONTHS of age.  Female cats can have up to three litters per year.  Some females will be pregnant again while still nursing a litter!  When people with good intentions begin to feed the ever-increasing numbers of stray cats, they are in fact, keeping the animals fat and healthy enough to produce even more!  (If you've ever put out a bird feeder in the summer time, and the squirrel population soars as a result...expect the same population explosion when feeding stray cats.)  If you make a decision to feed neighborhood cats, do them and yourself a us.  We can give you information on low cost spaying and neutering and TNR.  It will prevent suffering, and you'll save money in the long run....there will be A LOT fewer mouths to feed!

Every time we visit your facility, we see more pitbulls than any other type of dog...why is that?  We are painfully aware of the incredible number of pitbull terriers in our community.  About 50% of the total dog population in our facility is pitbulls.  At this time, there are no laws against owners allowing their pitbulls to overbreed. There are simply far more pitbulls than responsible homes for them.  Many are losing their lives, both on the streets and in shelters as a result.  We are always looking for ways to curb the flow of these bright, energetic dogs...many who would make great companions for families. For low cost spay/neuter programs for pitbulls and other animals please call the Dakin Humane Society at 413-781-4000.

Is your facility a "no-kill" animal shelter? Because we are first and foremost a public safety agency, we do not have the luxury of deciding which animals we choose to help.  We respond to numerous service requests for ill, injured or aggressive animals.  Not every animal in our facility is healthy enough or safe enough to place into a new home.  Happily, our adoption center is a very busy place with well over 97% of our healthy, friendly animals finding their forever homes.

Have you lost or found an animal? Please visit our animal control page for information on what to do if you have lost or found an animal, need to report a bite, and more.