Protect Our Herons: Leash Your Dog

Herons live along the shore of many ponds, lakes, and rivers in Newton and nearby communities. This Great Blue Heron was photographed in early August 2015 in a marshy pond in Arnold Arboretum in Boston.

On August 19, 2015, this heron was killed by off-leash dogs.

Herons, egrets, and other protected species of birds feed on fish they catch while wading in shallow water at the edge of a pond or river. They are therefore vulnerable to attack by dogs that are left to run free along the shore.

A Great Blue Heron at Dolan Pond

The City of Newton Off-Leash Recreation Program has established designated off-leash areas in a number of city parks. This brochure describes the program. Newton city ordinances require that dogs must be leashed at all times in all other public places in Newton, including parks and conservation areas. To report off-leash violations, contact the Newton Animal Control Officer at 617.796.2109.

The state Department of Conservation and Recreation requires that all dogs be on leash at all times in all of its properties in Newton and surrounding communities: Hammond Pond Reservation, Cutler Park, the Charles River Reservation, Chestnut Hill Reservation, Hemlock Gorge, Lost Pond, and Brook Farm.

To report a problem in a state reservation, call the Park Watch line: 1-866-PK-WATCH (866-759-2824).

Please help protect these magnificent creatures that make Newton their home: keep your dog on leash except when you’re in a designated off-leash area.


A few words about cats

Not many cats would try to attack a heron or egret. But domestic cats are thought to kill several billion smaller birds each year in North America. Mass Audubon’s top recommendation for protecting birds is to “Keep your cats safely indoors, and do not feed stray or feral cats.