Town of Wells, ME
York County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Wells as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Animals on beaches — See Ch. 86.
080a Quarantine Chart
[Adopted 8-16-1988; amended 9-17-1991; 4-26-1996; 6-4-1996]

§ 80-1 Purpose.

A. 
The purpose of this article is to require that all animals in the Town of Wells be kept under the control of their owners at all times so that they will not injure persons, damage property or create a nuisance.
B. 
The provisions which apply to the owners of an animal apply equally to any person having its custody or possession.
C. 
It is also the Town's responsibility to prevent the spread of contagious disease and virus in relation to domesticated and undomesticated animals.

§ 80-2 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ANIMAL
Includes all domesticated and undomesticated animals.
AT LARGE
Any animal off the premises of the owner and not under the control of any person by means of personal presence and detention as will reasonably control the conduct of said animal.
CONFIRMED RABID ANIMAL
An animal that has been confirmed as rabid by the Health and Testing Laboratory using the direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) test of nervous tissue.
[Amended 11-7-2000]
CONTROL
To limit by reasonable means all unnecessary exposure for the suspected rabid animal to humans or to other animals.
CURRENTLY VACCINATED
Domesticated animals are considered currently vaccinated for rabies if at least 30 days have elapsed since the initial vaccination and the duration of the vaccination has not exceeded the time period recommendation for that species based upon the type of vaccine used. A Maine certificate of rabies vaccination or a form approved by the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources is proof of immunization.
DANGEROUS DOG
A dog which has bitten a person who was not a trespasser on the owner's premises at the time of the incident or a dog which causes a reasonable person, acting in a peaceable manner outside the owner's premises, to be put in apprehension of imminent bodily harm.
DOMESTICATED ANIMAL
A mammal accustomed to home life, tamed for man's use; a typical household pet, including but not limited to dogs, cats, ferrets, wildlife hybrids and livestock.
LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
Any person who, by virtue of his public employment, is vested by law with a duty to maintain public order, enforce any law of this state or municipality establishing a civil violation, prosecute offenders or make arrest for crimes, whether that duty extends to all crimes or is limited to specific crimes.
LEASH
A hand-held device no longer than six feet in length.
MUNICIPALITY
The Town of Wells.
[Amended 11-7-2000]
NUISANCE
The causing of unreasonable noise, litter or other property damage; the chasing of automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles or other vehicles; and the entry onto school grounds while school is in session.
OWNER
Any person, firm, organization, partnership, association or corporation who or which owns, possesses or has custody of an animal.
PACK
A dog in the company of three or more other dogs.
QUARANTINE
Term used to describe the period of time that a domestic animal is to remain separate and apart from other animals and humans after having bitten or otherwise exposed another domestic animal or human to rabies.
RABIES
A viral disease of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) that is almost always fatal.
A. 
Any mammal, undomesticated or domesticated, showing signs of rabies.
B. 
Any undomesticated mammal which has potentially exposed, through bite or non-bite exposure, a human or domesticated animal to rabies.
C. 
Any domesticated mammal which has bitten a human or domesticated animal.
UNDOMESTICATED ANIMAL
A mammal considered to be wild by nature by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
UNVACCINATED ANIMAL
An animal with no previous rabies vaccination; an animal whose first vaccination was given within the last 30 days; an animal whose last vaccination has expired (per the vaccine manufacturer's recommendation); or an animal for which no approved vaccine exists.
WILDLIFE HYBRID
The offspring of a breeding between a domesticated animal and a wild counterpart. This would include but is not limited to a coydog, wild/domesticated cat hybrid and wolf/dog hybrids. These animals are considered domesticated but have no established quarantine or isolation period for the incubation of the rabies virus.

§ 80-3 Noise.

Anyone owning, possessing or harboring any animal which barks, howls or makes other sounds common to its species continuously for 20 minutes or intermittently for one hour or more shall be deemed to constitute a nuisance. Exceptions: dogs barking at trespassers or threatening trespassers on private property on which the dog is situated or any legitimate cause for provocation.

§ 80-4 Running at large.

It is unlawful for any animal, licensed or unlicensed, to run at large except when used for hunting. Any stray or abandoned animal roaming at large shall be impounded by the Animal Control Officer and taken to a shelter. Any dog or ferret leaving the property of its owner or custodian must be on a leash of suitable strength or must be under the supervision and verbal control of its master. Any animal in violation may be impounded by the Animal Control Officer. Any animal so impounded may be destroyed if it is not claimed within eight days following impoundment. The Animal Control Officer, his designee or other law enforcement officer may take the animal to its owner, if known. However, the offender will be subject to a charge as established by the Board of Selectmen, following notice and a public hearing, for services rendered, payable to the Town.

§ 80-5 Feces removal.

[Added 4-14-2000; amended 4-7-2001]
It shall be a violation of this article for any person who owns, possesses or controls a dog or any other animal to fail to remove and dispose of any feces left by his/her animal, except on property belonging to the animal's owner or keeper. For the purposes of this section, disposal shall be accomplished by transporting such feces to an appropriate waste receptacle. Exceptions: working police dogs while on duty or a dog or animal accompanying a person who, because of a disability, is physically unable to comply with the requirements of this article.

§ 80-6 Confinement of certain dogs.

Dogs of fierce, dangerous or vicious propensities or in heat shall be properly confined or tied by the owner or keeper in a reasonable manner to prevent harm to the public. If the owners or keepers of fierce, dangerous or vicious dogs or dogs in heat are found in violation of this section, such dogs shall be impounded and not released except on the approval of the Animal Control Officer, the Police Chief or a police officer and only if all provisions of § 80-10, Impoundment fees, have been met.

§ 80-7 Animal Control Officer.

A suitable person shall be employed by the Selectmen who shall be known as and perform the duties of Animal Control Officer. He or she shall have the same powers as a police officer and shall be under the supervision and direction of the Police Chief. He or she shall hold office for such time as the Selectmen may direct and shall receive as compensation an amount as may from time to time be prescribed by the Selectmen. The Animal Control Officer shall be responsible for the control, regulation and enforcement of all laws related to dogs, cats and domesticated and undomesticated animals in accordance with 7 M.R.S.A. Chapter 725.

§ 80-8 License required.

A. 
All dogs kept, harbored or maintained by their respective owners in the Town of Wells shall be licensed and tagged in accordance with the appropriate laws of the State of Maine (7 M.R.S.A. § 3921 et seq.).
B. 
By January 1 of each year, all dogs over the age of six months must be licensed in the Town of Wells by registering the dog(s) at the Town Clerk's office. Proof of a rabies vaccination must be shown to obtain a license. The fee for a license shall be as specified in 7 M.R.S.A. § 3923-A, as it may be amended from time to time.
[Amended 11-7-2000]

§ 80-9 Registry and notification of impoundment.

When impounding any animal, the Animal Control Officer or police officer shall, at the time of such impoundment, list the number and description of the violation(s), make a complete registry of the date of impoundment, breed, color, sex and general condition of the animal as can be reasonably ascertained and if licensed or unlicensed and the name of the owner or keeper, if known, on a registry form. A copy of this form shall be furnished to the shelter together with written instructions setting forth conditions under which the animal may be released. When any animal is impounded under the provisions of this article, the person who has control of the shelter shall, when possible, contact the owner within 48 hours and report to the Town Clerk a description of the animal and its place of impoundment. If the owner does not claim said animal, then the animal shelter shall dispose of the animal by adoption or otherwise in a proper and humane manner consistent with applicable state laws.

§ 80-10 Impoundment fees.

Owners may reclaim their animal by first licensing, if applicable, according to Town regulation, and by paying to the Town a fee as established by the Board of Selectmen, following notice and a public hearing, for each offense. The owner will also be responsible for any additional costs incurred by the animal at the shelter prior to reclamation. Fees must be paid and a receipt of the same presented to the shelter prior to the release of an animal. All fees shall be deposited in the separate account as required by 7 M.R.S.A. § 3945.

§ 80-11 Animals which have bitten humans and/or been exposed to disease.

The owner or keeper of an animal which has bitten a human or may have been exposed to a contagious or viral disease shall be served a quarantine notice. The owner or keeper shall confine and control the animal for at least 10 days, 45 days or six months or as ordered. The owner or keeper must observe and obey all written instructions and procedures included in the quarantine notice. Failure to comply with this section may result in civil penalties as described in § 80-13. Further, failure to comply with this section may result in a court-ordered seizure of the animal, to be placed in a state-licensed facility that houses such animals. All related expenses shall be paid by the owner or keeper. See the Town of Wells Quarantine Chart for description and lengths of confinement.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The Quarantine Chart is included at the end of this article.

§ 80-12 Animals creating a public health threat.

The Municipal Health Officer or his/her designee shall order suppression and removal of animals and conditions posing a public health threat when there is a reasonable cause to suspect the presence of a communicable disease or viral disease and the owner or keeper has failed to comply with the properly served quarantine notice.

§ 80-13 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 11-7-2000]
Any person found in violation of any provision contained in § 80-3, 80-4, 80-6 or 80-11 shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $50 and not more than $250 for each violation. Any person found in violation of § 80-8 shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $100 for each offense. Any civil penalty collected shall be recovered to the use of the Town of Wells and deposited in a separate account, if required by 7 M.R.S.A. § 3945 (Use of license fees retained by municipalities).
[Adopted 8-14-2001]

§ 80-14 Title.

This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Deer Feeding Control Ordinance of the Town of Wells."

§ 80-15 Statement of fact.

The large number of deer attracted by feeding and baiting in and around public and private property increases the local deer population. Deer carry the deer tick known to cause Lyme disease, which is a serious debilitating illness that threatens the public health. When there are more deer and the deer move into areas frequented by people, such as roads and yards, there is a corresponding increase in the potential for deer ticks to come into contact with people. In addition, overpopulation and domestication of deer contribute to traffic safety problems and the destruction of important plants and vegetation on public and private property. When deer come to depend on humans for food, the natural order and balance in nature are upset and it is harmful to their long-term well-being.

§ 80-16 Purpose.

The purpose of this article is to control the feeding and baiting of wild deer by the general public throughout the Town of Wells but, in particular, in areas where deer have become overpopulated, creating a traffic hazard because of their proximity to public roads and a threat to the public health of residents and visitors who face an increased risk of contracting Lyme disease. In addition, the presence of deer in yards and similar areas threatens gardens and other vegetation that are important to the community.

§ 80-17 Prohibited conduct; exceptions.

No person, except the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife or his/her designee or the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service or his/her designee, shall feed or bait deer in the Town of Wells. This prohibition shall not apply within the boundaries of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, which is property owned by the United States and managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

§ 80-18 Definitions.

The following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates another meaning:
DEER
Any wild deer.
FEEDING AND BAITING
The placing, exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering, directly or indirectly, of shelled corn, shucked or unshucked corn, wheat or other grains, bread, salt or any other feed or nutritive substances, in any manner or form, so as to lure, attract, or entice deer to, on or over any areas where such feed items and/or materials have been placed, exposed, deposited, distributed or scattered, including public and private properties and along any road and/or rights-of-way in the Town of Wells.

§ 80-19 Enforcement.

This article may be enforced by the Animal Control Officer, the Town's Health Officer or his/her designee, and police officers of the Town of Wells.

§ 80-20 Violations and penalties.

Whoever violates any provision of this article shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $100 nor more than $500 for the first offense and not less than $200 for any subsequent offenses. All civil penalties shall be recovered, on complaint, for use by the Town of Wells for its efforts to educate the public about this article and its purpose. If the Town is the prevailing party in any action brought to enforce this article, the Town must be awarded reasonable attorney's fees, expert witness fees and costs. Civil process may be waived, upon complaint, by payment to the Town of Wells of the minimum penalty set forth herein within seven days of the date of complaint.