Animal Control Bylaw
Animal Control Bylaw
Section 1: Purpose
- The purpose of this bylaw is to achieve the objectives of the animal control enabling legislation contained in Chapter 140, Section 147A of the Massachusetts General Laws (MGL), which includes the regulation of domesticated animals within the borders of the Town of Douglas, Massachusetts, the licensing of dogs, and the establishment of fines for violation of this bylaw.
- This bylaw is adopted for the above purposes under the authority provided by, and in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 140, Section 147A of the General Laws (GL), as amended.
Section 2: ApplicationThis Bylaw shall apply to all dogs owned by or kept by residents of the Town of Douglas: all dogs harbored or kept in the Town of Douglas whether or not for hire: and all dogs physically within the Town of Douglas, whether on public or private property and regardless of whether ownership can be determined. This By-Law also shall apply to all residents of the Town of Douglas who bring or harbor one or more dogs within the Town of Douglas.
Section 3: Bylaw SuperiorityThis Bylaw supersedes any policies, directives, dog control or dog restraint Bylaws now in effect. Unless otherwise provided for or mandated by law.
Section 4: SeverabilityShould any portion, section or provision of this Bylaw be found invalid for any reason, that finding shall not affect the validity and force of any other section, portion or provision of this Bylaw.
Section 5: Responsibilities of the Dog Officer
- It shall be the responsibility of the Animal Control Officer to maintain proper records as required by the Town of Douglas.
- It shall be the duty of the Animal Control Officer to investigate complaints concerning any dogs which are alleged to be in violation of Town Bylaws and/or MA General Law and to apprehend any dog found by him to be a public nuisance and to impound such dog in a suitable place or to order the owner thereof to restrain such dog.
- The Animal Control Officer or acting Animal Control Officer shall have the authority to issue citations, penalties and enforce this Bylaw and any regulations adopted under this Bylaw.
Section 6: Licensing - Fines & Penalties
- Chapter 140, Section 137 of the Massachusetts General Laws requires that all dogs wear a collar with a valid license and rabies tag. (Amended under Article 19 at the Annual Town Meeting held on May 19, 2003 and approved by the Attorney General on August 6, 2003.)
- License Fees:
January 1st through March 1st
Males and Females: $20
Neutered and Spayed: $15
- Hobby Kennel License: $90
- Breeder Kennel License: $120
- Commercial Kennel License: $150
- After March 1st : $15 plus license fee
- After April 1st: $25 plus license fee
- After June 1st: $50 citation plus $25 late fee plus license fee
Please see "Dog Licenses" section to the left for a full explanation of how to license your dog(s).
As used in this article, unless the context otherwise indicates:
Section 7: Definitions
- Dog shall mean all animals of the canine species, both male and female.
- Working Dog shall mean a dog used in the performance of a particular set of tasks, while used in such a capacity. Examples include guard dogs, seeing eye dogs and dogs used to control a farmer's flock or herd.
- Hunting or Sporting Dog shall mean a dog under the control and direction of its owner or keeper while used in training or actual hunting. It also includes dogs used in events or trials participating under sanctioned competitions.
- Owner shall mean any person or persons, firm, association or corporation, owning, keeping or harboring a dog as herein defined.
- Public Nuisance shall mean any dog deemed to be a public nuisance if not found to be on the premises of the owner of such dog or upon the premises of another person with the knowledge and express permission of such other person except:
- If such dog is being used as a so-called "hunting dog," during open hunting season or at any time when necessary for field training, and is being supervised as such by a person competent to restrain such dog so that it shall not be a threat to public safety.
- Unless such dog is a seeing-eye guide dog or hearing dog, according to the Massachusetts General Laws.
- Unless such dog is under restraint as defined in Section 8.
- No person shall own or keep in the Town any dog which by biting, excessive barking, howling or in any other manner disturbs the quiet of the public.
- Hobby Kennel shall mean a kennel as described in Section 18 with more than 3 dogs 6 months or older.
- Breeder Kennel shall mean a kennel as described in Section 17 with not more than 10 dogs 6 months or older.
- Commercial Kennel shall mean a kennel as described in Section 17 with 10 plus dogs.
- Domestic Animal shall mean all animals as described in MGL 131 Section 23.
Section 8: Restraint
- The owner shall keep his dog under restraint at all times and shall not permit such dog to be at large off his property, including but not limited to school grounds, recreation areas and cemeteries, unless the dog is accompanied by its owner or other person responsible for the dog, who is in full control of such dog, or unless the dog is held firmly on a leash of not more than 6 feet.
- For the purpose of this section "full control" means that the dog will respond to command, order or signal of the owner or other person responsible for the dog shall, at all times, by his command, order or signal, prevent his dog from bothering, worrying, annoying, chasing or barking at any person or vehicle including bicycles, or killing, chasing or harassing livestock, fowl or other pets.
- Any owner shall confine in a building or secure enclosure, any dog used for security and not remove said dog from the building or enclosure unless it is securely muzzled.
- Every female dog in heat shall be kept in a building or secure enclosure or in a boarding kennel, so that she cannot come into contact with another dog.
Section 9: Prohibitions
- No owner or keeper shall allow a dog to become a public nuisance as defined in Section 7 Subsection 5, paragraphs A through C inclusive. Failure to comply with this section constitutes a violation of this Bylaw.
- Any dog that bites a person shall be quarantined for 10 days, subject to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 129, Section 21 and Chapter 129, Section 30.
- This Bylaw shall not be construed to prohibit the use of hunting, sporting or working dogs in their normal capacities, as defined in Section 7, Subsections 2 and 3 inclusive.
- Defecating anywhere but on the property of its owner or keeper, unless picked up and disposed of properly by its owner or keeper.
Section 10: Impoundment
- Notice to owner If a dog impounded pursuant to Section 10, Subsection 2 has upon it the name and address of the owner, or if the name of the owner is otherwise known, then the animal control officer shall immediately notify the owner, and if the owner is known, then no notice shall be necessary.
- Impoundment by an Animal Control Officer a dog may be picked up and impounded when:
- Found at large, without full control of owner.
- Found unmuzzled when an order for muzzling of such dog is in effect.
- Having bitten, attacked or threatened the health or safety of a person.
- Chasing any vehicle upon a public way or upon any way open to the public travel in the town.
- Having damaged or littered property other than the owner's.
- Found without a license. In violation of Section 8 of this Bylaw.
Section 11: Redemption of Impounded DogsThe owner or keeper of any dog impounded under the provisions of this Bylaw may redeem such dog, provided he or she first:
- Procures from the Town Clerk a license and tag for any such dog that is not licensed.
- The owner of any dog impounded pursuant to Section 11 may reclaim such dog upon reimbursement to the Animal Control Officer of his expense for maintaining such dog while impounded. In any event, the Animal Control Officer shall not charge more that $15 for a reimbursement of such expenses for the first twenty-four hour period or any part thereof that the dog is held by him, and $15 for each additional day.
- Any dog which has been impounded under the provisions of this Bylaw and has not been redeemed by its owner or keeper within 10 days, may be disposed of in accordance with the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 140, Section 151A.
Section 12: Owner Responsibility for Rescue CostsThe owner, keeper or person responsible for any animal injured or killed by a motor vehicle shall be responsible for the cost of all rescue response, emergency care, treatment and/or disposal of said animal.
Section 13: Persons Convicted of Cruelty to AnimalsAny person or persons found guilty of a violation of any provisions of Section 77, 80A, 94 or 95 of Chapter 272 (Massachusetts General Law.)
Section 14: EnforcementThe Animal Control Officer or Police shall be empowered to enforce provisions of this Bylaw. Fines assessed under this Bylaw shall be paid to the Town Clerk within 21 days of issuance of a citation by the Animal Control Officer or Police. Failure to pay such fine shall be violation as described in the non-criminal complaint form (Chapter 40 Section 21D).
Section 15: ViolationsViolations of this Bylaw shall be punishable by such fines as described in the non-criminal complaint form (Chapter40 Section 21D) or by criminal complaint at the discretion of the Animal Control Officer.
Section 16: Appointment of Animal Control Officer
- The Board of Selectmen shall appoint an Animal Control Officer for the Town of Douglas. The Animal Control Officer and/or his Agent shall be appointed as Special Police Officers by the Town of Douglas, Chief of Police and sworn in by the Town Clerk.
- The Animal Control Officer and/or his Agent is not required to be a resident of the Town of Douglas.
- The Animal Control Officer shall be a salaried employee of the Town of Douglas. The Animal Control Officer shall receive such compensation as agreed upon by the Animal Control Officer and the Board of Selectmen. Such agreed upon salary may be funded with monies from the Dog Control Revolving Account.
- The Animal Control Officer shall have the responsibility, authority and power as an agent of the Town of Douglas to enforce the provisions of the Animal Control Bylaw and Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 140.
Section 17 Kennel - Private or Commercial
- No person shall house more than 3 dogs, age 6 months or older, on a single premises without first applying for a kennel license with the Town Clerk. A copy of the special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals must be included, or such application shall be denied. Upon review of the application, the Animal Control Officer, along with the Health Department Agent, shall inspect the facility prior to the issuance of any kennel license. The Animal Control Officer and/or the Health Department Agent may deny the application if the facility is not in compliance with any or all sections of this Bylaw.
- It shall be a condition of the issuance of any kennel license that the Animal Control Officer shall be permitted to inspect all animals and the premises where animals are kept at any time following reasonable notice to the licensee and shall, if permission for inspection is refused, revoke the license of the refusing owner or keeper with no part of the fee refunded.
- Any person who receives a kennel license shall erect a kennel in accordance with the following specifications:
- A minimum of four by eight (4 x 8) feet for each dog shall be provided
- Locks on gates to prevent the escape of dogs and the entry of children shall be provided
- Kennels shall be 60 feet from the street and 40 feet from lot lines.
- No person convicted of cruelty to animals shall be issued a license to operate a kennel. Any person or persons who holds a kennel license shall make available to the Animal Control Officer and the Police Department an emergency number where they can be reached.
- Kennel licenses shall be given only to people who apply under the conditions of operating a breeding and/or commercial facility as defined in Section 7 Subsections 8 and 9.
- Kennel licenses shall not be given to any person who is not a resident of the Town of Douglas unless they are operating a commercial business.
- Pet stores shall not be required to carry a kennel license as long as they are in accordance with MGL C 129 39A.
- All complaints received of a kennel will be handled in accordance with MGL C 140 S 157 as amended.
Section 18: Hobby Kennel
- No person shall house more than 3 dogs, age 6 months or older on a single premises without first applying for a Hobby Kennel license with the Town Clerk.
- A Hobby Kennel is one where 4 to 8 dogs are housed for the primary purpose of pleasure (pets) or hunting, and where there is no boarding and no breeding for the purpose of selling pups.
- Each Hobby Kennel license holder shall give the animal control officer and the police department an emergency number where the license holder can be reached.
- Any complaints received of a kennel may be handled in accordance with G.L. c.140, §157, as amended.
- It shall be a condition of each hobby kennel license that the Animal Control Officer shall be permitted to inspect all animals and the premises where animals are kept following reasonable notice to the licensee. If permission for inspection is refused, such refusal shall be grounds for revoking the license, with no fee refunded. (Amended under Article 18 at the Annual Town Meeting held on May 19, 2003 and approved by the Attorney General on August 6, 2003.)
- 1st Offense - Written Warning
- 2nd Offense - $25
- 3rd Offense - $50
- 4th and Subsequent offenses - $100