Town of North Reading, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of North Reading as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 3-28-1966 ATM by Art. 19, approved 4-22-1966]
[Amended 10-8-1981 OTM by Art. 16, approved 3-2-1982; 10-9-1986 OTM by Art. 5, approved 11-4-1986; 10-4-1999 OTM by Art. 9, approved 12-14-1999]
A. 
The annual fee for every dog license shall be in accordance with the Town Clerk's Office fee schedule as established under authority of MGL c. 40, § 22F. If said fee schedule specifies a lesser fee for a neutered or spayed dog, then the certificate of a registered veterinarian who performed an operation that such dog has been neutered or spayed and has thereby been deprived of the power of propagation shall be required. If the Town Clerk is satisfied that the certificate of the veterinarian who performed such operation cannot be obtained, he may accept in lieu thereof a statement signed under the penalties of perjury by a veterinarian registered and practicing in the Commonwealth, describing the dog and stating that he has examined such dog, and that it appears to have been, and in his opinion has been, neutered or spayed and thereby deprived of the power of propagation, or a receipt of a bill from the veterinarian who performed such operation.
[Amended 10-4-2010 OTM by Art. 23, approved 11-17-2010]
B. 
No fee shall be charged for a license for a dog specially trained to lead or serve a blind person; provided that the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind certifies that such dog is so trained and actually in the service of a blind person. No fee shall be charged for a license for a dog professionally trained in the hearing dog business to serve a deaf person; provided that the Director of the Office of Deafness certifies that such dog is so trained and actually in the service of the deaf person. No license, fee, or part thereof shall be refunded because of the subsequent death, loss, sterilization, removal from the Commonwealth, or other disposal of any licensed dog; nor shall any license fee or part thereof paid by mistake be paid or recovered back after it has been paid to the Town.
[Added 10-2-1978 OTM by Art. 7, approved 12-28-1978; amended 4-4-1983 ATM by Art. 7, approved 5-5-1983; 10-9-1986 OTM by Art. 6, approved 11-4-1986; 6-6-2011 ATM by Art. 28, approved 9-13-2011]
The licensing period for dogs is January 1 through December 31 annually. All dogs over the age of three (3) months must be licensed by March 31. A late charge, in addition to the cost of the license, will be assessed to all renewal dog licenses issued after March 31, in accordance with the Town Clerk's Office fee schedule.
[Added 10-17-1977 OTM by Art. 23, approved 2-28-1978]
A. 
The owner or keeper of a dog at least three (3) and no more than six (6) months of age shall cause that dog to be vaccinated against rabies by a veterinarian using a vaccine approved by the Department of Public Health. Whoever violates this section shall be fined fifty ($50) dollars for each offense.
[Amended 10-2-1989 OTM by Art. 9, approved 12-7-1989]
B. 
Upon vaccinating, the veterinarian shall prepare three (3) copies of a form which shall specify the name of the owner or keeper of the dog and the name, registered number, license number, and description of the dog. He shall mail one copy to the Clerk of the Town in which the dog is kept. He shall present one copy to the owner or keeper of the dog.
[Amended 10-2-2000 ATM by Art. 4, approved 3-29-2001]
[Added 10-17-1977 OTM by Art. 23, approved 2-28-1978]
A. 
As prior conditions of licensure, the owner or keeper of the dog to be licensed shall:
(1) 
Agree to control and restrain said dog from killing, chasing, or harassing livestock or fowl;
(2) 
Present written certification by a veterinarian that said dog has been vaccinated against rabies within a time period as established by the Board of Health, and using a vaccine approved by the Department of Public Health; and
(3) 
Cause said dog to wear around its neck or body a collar or harness of leather or other suitable material to which he shall securely attach the tag issued to him.
B. 
The owner of any dog so licensed may add no more than ten (10) descriptive words upon the license form to indicate the color, breed, weight, and special markings of the dog. Substitute tags shall be secured by the owner or keeper at a cost of one ($1) dollar in the event any tag is lost, defaced, or destroyed.
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.
[Amended 10-2-2000 ATM by Art. 4, approved 3-29-2001; 6-4-2018 ATM by Art. 28, approved 9-21-2018]
If any person shall make a complaint in writing to the Animal Control Officer that any dog owned or harbored within his jurisdiction is a nuisance by reason of vicious disposition or excessive barking or other disturbance, the Animal Control Officer shall investigate such complaint, which may include an examination under oath of the complainant, and submit a written report to the Select Board of his findings and recommendations, together with the written complaint. Upon receipt of such report and examination of the complainant under oath, the Select Board may make such order concerning the restraint, muzzling, or disposal of such dog as may be deemed necessary. The Animal Control Officer, after investigation, may issue an interim order that such dog be restrained or muzzled for a period not to exceed fourteen (14) days to enable the Select Board to issue their order following receipt of the report of the Animal Control Officer. If the Select Board fail to act during the period of the interim order, upon expiration of the period the interim order automatically is vacated.
[Amended 10-2-2000 ATM by Art. 4, approved 3-29-2001]
A. 
The Animal Control Officer may restrain or muzzle, or issue an interim order to restrain or muzzle, for a period not to exceed fourteen (14) days, any dog for any of the following reasons:
(1) 
For having bitten any person;
(2) 
If found at large or unmuzzled, as the case may be, while an order for the restraint of such dog is in effect;
(3) 
If found in a school, schoolyard, or public recreational area;
(4) 
For having killed or maimed or otherwise damaged any other domesticated animal;
(5) 
For chasing any vehicle upon any public way or way open to public travel in the Town;
(6) 
For any violation of § 23-5.
B. 
Upon restraining or muzzling or issuing an interim order to restrain or muzzle, the Animal Control Officer shall submit, in writing to the Select Board, a report of his action and the reasons therefor. Upon receipt of such report, the Select Board may make such order concerning the restraint, muzzling, or disposal of such dog as may be deemed necessary. If the Select Board fail to act upon the report during the period the dog is restrained or muzzled, upon expiration of the period the interim order is automatically vacated.
[Amended 6-4-2018 ATM by Art. 28, approved 9-21-2018]
[Amended 10-2-2000 ATM by Art. 4, approved 3-29-2001; 6-4-2018 ATM by Art. 28, approved 9-21-2018]
The owner or keeper of any dog that has been ordered to be restrained or muzzled or has been restrained under this article may file a request in writing with the Animal Control Officer that the restraining order be vacated or that the dog be released; and after investigation by the Animal Control Officer, such Officer may vacate such order or release such dog if the order or restraint was imposed by him. If the order was imposed by the Select Board, the Animal Control Officer shall submit a written report of his investigation with his recommendations to the Select Board, who may vacate such order.
[Amended 10-5-1987 ATM by Art. 5, approved 11-16-1987; 10-2-1989 ATM by Art. 9, approved 12-7-1989; 10-5-1998 ATM by Art. 12, approved 1-27-1999; 10-2-2000 ATM by Art. 4, approved 3-29-2001; 6-4-2018 ATM by Art. 28, approved 9-21-2018]
Any owner or keeper of a dog who shall fail to comply with any order of the Animal Control Officer or Select Board issued pursuant to this article shall be punishable by a fine of twenty-five ($25) dollars for the first offense and $50 for second and subsequent offenses.
[Added 5-3-1971 ATM by Art. 38, approved 6-11-1971]
A. 
No person owning or keeping a dog in the Town of North Reading shall allow, permit, or suffer such dog to go or run at large in the Town without such dog being on a leash and under the control of said owner or keeper. Reports of all violations of this section shall be made to the Police Department, where a record of such violations shall be kept on file. Violations of this section shall be subject to a written warning for the first offense, a fine of twenty-five ($25) dollars for the second offense and a fine of $50 for subsequent offenses.
[Amended 10-5-1987 ATM by Art. 6, approved 11-16-1987; 10-2-1989 ATM by Art. 9, approved 12-7-1989; 10-5-1998 ATM by Art. 12, approved 1-27-1999]
B. 
Prior to the assessment of the aforementioned fine, reported violations of this section shall be investigated and validated by the Town's Animal Control Officer and/or the Police Department.
[Amended 10-2-2000 ATM by Art. 4, approved 3-29-2001]
C. 
The Animal Control Officer and/or the Police Department may waive prosecution under this section if, within twelve (12) months of said warning, no addition violation of this section has been recorded against the owner or keeper.
[Amended 10-2-2000 ATM by Art. 4, approved 3-29-2001]
[Added 10-17-1977 ATM by Art. 24, approved 2-28-1978; amended 4-23-1979 ATM by Art. 17, approved 5-18-1979; 4-4-1983 ATM by Art. 6, approved 5-5-1983; 10-2-2000 ATM by Art. 4, approved 3-29-2001]
There shall be a pickup fee of twenty-five ($25) dollars for each dog picked up by the Animal Control Officer or his assistant or designee and impounded for violation of any section of Chapter 140 of the Massachusetts General Laws. All money will be paid to the town.
[Added 10-9-1997 ATM by Art. 8, approved 1-29-1998]
A. 
It shall be the duty of each person who owns, possesses or controls a dog to remove and dispose of any feces left by his/her dog on any sidewalk, street or other public area in the town. It shall further be the duty of each person who owns, possesses or controls a dog to remove and dispose of any feces left by his/her dog on any private property neither owned nor occupied by said person.
B. 
No person who owns, possesses or controls such dog shall appear with such dog on any sidewalk, street, park or other public area without the means of removal of any feces left by such dog. Furthermore, no person who owns, possesses or controls such dog shall appear with such dog on any private property neither owned nor occupied by said person without the means of removal of any feces left by said dog.
C. 
For the purposes of this regulation, the means of removal shall be any tool, implement or other device carried for the purpose of picking up and containing such feces, unexposed to said person or the public. Disposal shall be accomplished by transporting such feces to a place suitable for the disposal of canine feces or as otherwise designated as appropriate by the Board of Health.
D. 
Enforcement of this section may, in the first instance, be pursued through the provisions of Section 21D of Chapter 40 of the General Laws, which provides for a noncriminal disposition. The enforcing persons shall be any police officer of the Town or any animal control officer of the Town.
E. 
Reports of all violations of this section shall be made to the Police Department, where a record of such violations shall be kept on file. Violation of this section shall be subject to a written warning for the first offense, a fine of twenty-five ($25) dollars for the second offense and a fine of $50 for subsequent offenses.
[Amended 10-5-1998 ATM by Art. 12, approved 1-27-1999]
F. 
This regulation shall not apply to a dog accompanying any handicapped person who, by reason of his/her handicap, is physically unable to comply with the requirements of this by-law or to any individual who utilizes a guide dog.
G. 
The provisions of this section are severable, and if any of the provisions of this section shall be held unconstitutional or otherwise invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, the decision of such court shall not affect or impair any of the remaining provisions.
[Added 6-4-2018 ATM by Art. 35, approved 9-21-2018]
A. 
The term "kennel" shall include all those as specified and defined under MGL c. 140, § 136A.
B. 
The provisions of all sections of MGL c. 140, §§ 137A through 137D shall apply to kennels established under this by-law.
C. 
Kennels shall be allowed only to the extent permitted in accordance with the North Reading Zoning By-laws.
D. 
Kennel licenses shall be issued annually by the Town Clerk's office after proof has been provided to the Town Clerk's office that said kennel has passed an annual inspection by an animal control officer in accordance with the provisions of MGL c. 140, § 137A.
E. 
The licensing fee for each kennel shall be in accordance with the Town Clerk's fee schedule established under authority of MGL c. 40, § 22F.
F. 
Licensing period; application for and issuance of license.
(1) 
The licensing period for each kennel shall be from January 1 through December 31.
(2) 
The application and issuance of a kennel license shall be required annually by January 31 or within thirty (30) days of the inspection by the animal control officer, whichever is later.
G. 
Enforcement; violations and penalties.
(1) 
This by-law shall be enforceable through the non-criminal disposition process provided for under §1-5 of these by-laws. The penalty for violation shall be: first offense: warning; second offense: one hundred dollars ($100.); third offense: two hundred dollars ($200.). Each day or portion thereof during which a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
(2) 
Failure to apply for and obtain an annual kennel license following a third offense shall result in suspension of the operation of the kennel until said kennel license has been obtained.
H. 
This by-law shall be enforced by the Police Chief or his designee, or the Zoning Enforcement Officer.
I. 
The invalidity of any portion or provision of this by-law shall not invalidate any other portion or provision thereof.