City of Lowell, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 8-27-1996 (§ 10-70.2 of the 1988 Code)]

§ 104-32 License required to keep pigeons.

A. 
No person shall keep pigeons within the limits of the City of Lowell except pursuant to a license issued by the Lowell Health and Human Services Department and in accordance with the terms and conditions of such license and the pigeon regulations set out herein.
B. 
Each license granted hereunder shall contain a statement of the number and type of pigeons licensed and such conditions as may be required by the Department.
C. 
A person desiring to keep pigeons shall apply for a license on an application provided by the Health Department.
(1) 
Applications for such license must include:
(a) 
A complete description of the pigeons intended to be kept, including the numbers thereof.
(b) 
The proposed method of disposal of animal wastes.
(c) 
Description of the building(s) used to house the pigeons.
(d) 
Plot plan showing the location and use of all buildings thereon; area to which the pigeons are to be restricted; the location of the pigeon waste storage and disposal areas if located on the property, and all contiguous property and buildings thereon.
(e) 
Appropriate evidence that inoculations, as required by state and federal regulations, are met.
(2) 
In the case of structures which are newly built or substantially renovated after the effective date of these regulations, the applicant shall submit a copy of the City of Lowell building permit.
D. 
The fee for licenses shall be as provided in Chapter 150, Fees, which shall be paid upon licensure.
[Amended 12-23-2008]
E. 
Licenses granted hereunder shall be for a term of three years, expiring on June 30 of the third succeeding year, unless sooner revoked. Said license may be suspended or revoked by the Board of Health at any time for cause. If the license is revoked, pigeons must be removed within five days from date of notice of revocation. Failure to comply may result in the Board taking whatever action it deems necessary to ensure public health, at the owner's expense.
F. 
No license shall be granted for the keeping of any animal or fowl except pigeons.
G. 
Except as provided in this section, no license shall be granted except upon the Board of Health's determination that the applicant has demonstrated his/her compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal laws.

§ 104-33 Definitions.

For the purposes of this article the following definitions shall apply:
ANIMALS
Horses, ponies, goats, swine, cattle, sheep, donkeys, llamas, alpacas, mules and all other birds and mammals which are kept or harbored as domesticated animals, provided that the following shall not be considered animals: dogs, cats, rodentera up to five in number, exotic birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians.
COOP
Small structure for the keeping and housing of live pigeons.
FOWL
Chickens, pigeons, doves, capons, hens, turkeys, pheasants, guinea fowl, ducks, roosters and geese.
PERSON
Every individual, partnership, corporation, firm, association or group.
PIGEON
A member of the family Columbidae, and includes racing pigeons, fancy pigeons, and sporting pigeons as defined in this section.
A. 
A pigeon which through selective breeding has developed the distinctive physical and mental characteristics as to enable it to return to its home after having been released a considerable distance therefrom and which is accepted as such by the American Racing Pigeon Union or the International Federation of Racing Pigeon Fanciers, also commonly known as "racing homer," "homing pigeon" or "carrier pigeon."
B. 
A pigeon which through past breeding has developed certain distinctive physical and performing characteristics as to be clearly identified and accepted as such by the National Pigeon Association, the American Pigeon Club or the Rare Breeds Pigeon Club. Examples: fantails, pouters and trumpeters.
C. 
A pigeon which through selective past breeding has developed the ability to fly in a distinctive manner, such as aerial acrobatics or endurance flying. Examples: rollers and tipplers.
D. 
A pigeon aged six months or older.
RODENTERA
Include domestic rats, mice, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, chinchillas and other members of the rodentera family.

§ 104-34 General restrictions.

A. 
No person shall keep animals or fowl within the City limits, except pigeons.
B. 
No person shall keep pigeons in any building any part of which is used as a dwelling, including but not limited to attached garages and breezeways, etc.
C. 
Dogs must be licensed according to the provisions of Lowell City ordinances and of state law (MGL c. 140, § 137). Exotic birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians may be kept as pets subject to the licensing requirements of state law (MGL c. 131, §§ 23 and 25 and c. 131A, § 1).
[Amended 12-23-2008]

§ 104-35 Coops.

A. 
Location. All coops shall be located not less than 200 feet from the high-water mark of any known source of drinking water supply or any tributary thereof nor less than 50 feet from any well. In addition, coops shall not be located nearer than 10 feet to the principal building or nearer than five feet to any side or rear lot line or nearer to the front lot line than the minimum setback in the zoning district in which they are located.
B. 
Construction of buildings. All coops shall be of durable construction. Such structures shall be elevated to a height which allows for adequate cleaning and designed so as to prevent the harborage of rodents and insects. Nests shall be movable or otherwise designed so as to be readily cleanable.
C. 
City code requirements. The construction and location of said coop shall not conflict with the requirements of any building code or zoning code within the City.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 115, Building Construction.
D. 
Ventilation. All coops shall be ventilated so as to prevent buildup of odors and moisture.
E. 
Nuisance prevention. Adequate measures shall be taken to reduce the presence of rodents, flies, other insects, and the creation of odors and other nuisances. All pesticides must be EPA approved and used in accordance with directions on the manufacturer's label.
F. 
Maintenance of coop facilities. All coop facilities shall be cleaned regularly and maintained in such a manner as to prevent the buildup of manure. Feed stations shall be maintained in proper sanitary condition.
G. 
Manure storage. The manure storage facility shall be constructed of durable material and be so located as to promote regular removal of manure so as to prevent objectionable conditions. Manure shall be stored not less than 200 feet from the high-water mark of any known source of drinking water supply or any tributary thereof nor less than 100 feet from any well. In addition, manure storage shall not be located nearer than 10 feet to the principal building or nearer than five feet to any side or rear lot line or nearer to the front lot line than the minimum setback in the zoning district in which it is located.

§ 104-36 Feeding and release of pigeons.

A. 
All pigeons shall be confined to the loft, except for limited supervised periods necessary for exercise, training and competition, and at no time shall pigeons be allowed to perch or linger on the buildings or property of others.
B. 
All pigeons shall be fed within the confines of the loft. Dead carcasses should be removed daily from the loft and disposed of. Disposal pits with the approval of the Board of Health can be used.
C. 
No one shall release pigeons to fly for exercise training or competition except in compliance with the following rules:
(1) 
The owner of the pigeons must be a member in good standing of an organized pigeon club, such as the American Racing Pigeon Union, Inc., the International Pigeon Association, the Rare Breeds Pigeon Club, or a local club which has rules that will help preserve the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood.
(2) 
Pigeons will not be released for flying which have been fed within four hours.

§ 104-37 Number of pigeons allowed; standards for lofts.

A. 
No person may have more than 75 pigeons in a residentially zoned area.
B. 
There shall be at least one square foot of floor space in any coop for each mature pigeon kept therein.
C. 
The waste shall be removed from the loft daily and stored in a pit to be emptied as needed.
D. 
The construction and location of said loft shall not conflict with the requirements of any building code or zoning code within the City.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 115, Building Construction.
E. 
The loft shall be maintained in a sanitary condition and in compliance with all applicable health regulations.
F. 
The loft shall have a plan of pest control.
G. 
All feed for said pigeons shall be stored in such containers as to protect against intrusion by rodents and other vermin.

§ 104-38 Hearing on denial of license.

Any person whose application for a license or license renewal has been denied may request a hearing before the Board of Health by submitting a written request within 10 days of said denial. The Board of Health shall set a time and place for said hearing within 30 days of receipt of the request.

§ 104-39 Right of entry.

The Animal Inspector or the Lowell Board of Health or its authorized agents may enter and inspect any property or coop at any reasonable time for the purpose of investigating either an actual or suspected violation or to ascertain compliance or noncompliance with this article.

§ 104-40 Written order to correct violation.

The Animal Inspector may, in lieu of charging any pigeon owner with a violation of this article, issue a written order allowing the owner 10 days to correct the conditions.

§ 104-41 Suspension or revocation of license.

A. 
A license granted under these regulations may be suspended or revoked for cause by the Board of Health, provided that a hearing has been held after seven days' notice of the suspension or revocation, except in the case of emergency as set out below. Notice shall be given by first-class mail sent to the address shown on the most recent application for licensure.
B. 
Whenever the Board of Health has determined that an emergency exists under Subsection C, it may, without prior notice or hearing, issue an order reciting the existence of the emergency and ordering that the license be immediately revoked or suspended, as specified therein. The person affected by the order may request a hearing within seven days after the service of the order and the hearing shall be granted as soon as possible; provided, however, that such a request for hearing shall not stay or in any way modify the terms of the emergency order.
C. 
Cause for emergency. Each of the following shall be grounds for emergency suspension or revocation of a license to keep animals:
(1) 
Cruel treatment of pigeons.
(2) 
Using pigeons for illegal purposes.
(3) 
Outbreak of a communicable animal disease as determined by the Animal Inspector or a veterinarian licensed in the commonwealth.
(4) 
Unsanitary conditions which in the opinion of the Health and Human Services Department create a health hazard.

§ 104-42 Violations and penalties.

Any person who violates any provision of this article shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than $300 for each violation. Each day of violation shall constitute a separate offense.