[Adopted 4-7-1998; amended 5-8-2001]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- EXOTIC ANIMALS
- Mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians or other animals as defined by MGL c. 131, § 23.
- LARGE ANIMALS
- Farm or domestic animals that weigh more than 20 pounds.
- Any condition or environmental hazard that may be or poses a threat to the public health, including but not limited to improperly contained waste, garbage, odors, noise, structures, or a contaminant of the water, soil or air, or any other practice or use of a property that interferes with the legal rights of others by causing damage, annoyance, injury or other harm.
- Every individual, partnership, corporation, firm, association, group, or governmental entity owning property or carrying on an activity subject to this regulation.
- REGULATED ANIMALS
- Large and small domestic, farm-type, pet and exotic animals, including swine, horses, cows, goats, sheep, burros, llamas, deer, chickens, ducks, pigeons or other fowl, or other domestic and farm animals kept (farm-type animals kept outside homes) within the Town of Lexington. These regulations also apply to dogs and cats (§ 155-45C and D) and to exotic animals (§ 155-46D).
- SMALL ANIMALS
- Any animal less than 20 pounds, such as fowl, rabbits, etc., excluding cats and small dogs, which are regulated under § 155-45C and D.
- SMALL ANIMAL SHELTER
- Any building, enclosure, premises or portion thereof where more than five regulated small animals (e.g., fowl and rabbits) under 20 pounds are kept.
- Any building, enclosure, premises or portion thereof where regulated animals of more than 20 pounds, other than house pets, are kept.
The Board of Health requires all persons who wish to maintain any large animal (including but not limited to swine, horses, cattle, goats and sheep) or more than five small animals (including but not limited to ducks, fowl, poultry, pigeons and rabbits) to obtain a permit for the keeping of such animals. A minimum of two acres is required to obtain a permit for the keeping of such animals from the Board of Health. The presence of two or more pigs or piglets requires a piggery permit from the Board of Health.
No stable, or small animal shelter for more than five animals, shall be occupied or used within the Town without first obtaining a permit from the Board of Health.
All permits for keeping animals shall expire after January 31 of each year and may be revoked for cause and after a hearing by the Board of Health. No permit shall be transferred except with the approval of the Board of Health.
The Conservation Commission will be notified by the Board of Health of all new animal permit applications that are subject to the Wetlands Act or Zone II restrictions.
A permit will be issued only to someone who resides at the location for which the permit is requested.
Before a permit will be granted, an Animal Inspector or officer of the Board of Health is to visit the property to determine fitness and suitability of the site.
The owners or persons in control of any buildings or premises in which animals are kept shall keep the buildings and premises clean and free from decaying food, filth, dirt, stagnant water and animal wastes and shall provide a pit constructed of concrete or another suitable plan, approved by the Board of Health, for the storage and disposal of manure.
No person shall store manure within 100 feet of any property line, wetland or well.
Manure shall be spread upon land only when such land is in condition to plow, and manure so spread shall be plowed under within 48 hours.
All structures must comply with applicable zoning regulations.
No stable or small animal shelter shall be built within 100 feet of a wetland. No pasture, corral or pen shall be located within 25 feet of a wetland.
No stable shall be located within 100 feet from a dwelling (excluding an owner-occupied dwelling). No small animal shelter shall be located within 25 feet of a dwelling (excluding an owner-occupied dwelling).
All authorized animals must be confined to their permitted property.
Adequate water supply must be available for animals on site.
Permits for piggeries. Permits for more than two swine shall be subject to the following conditions, with which the holder thereof must in all respects comply:
No pens or enclosure shall be located within 150 feet of any public or private way.
In pens, swine shall be fed from non-wooden troughs kept clean and in good repair. If the swine are not in pens, they shall be fed from platforms at least one foot from the ground on all sides, the air space underneath to be kept clear and clean. Food shall never be given to the swine from the ground or allowed to accumulate on the ground around the platform or trough. Unless fed to the swine immediately, all swill, garbage or refuse brought upon the premises shall be kept in leakproof covered receptacles. All rotted garbage shall be removed daily.
The feeding places shall be cleaned once each day and all refuse and manure removed. Manure and refuse in outdoor pens shall be cleaned out of pens at least twice weekly.
Permits for cats. No more than five cats may be kept at a single residence in the Town of Lexington without a permit from the Board of Health. Persons wishing to breed cats must first apply for a breeder's license from the Board of Health and must provide documentation as to breeding facilities on the premises. Owners must be able to provide evidence of rabies vaccinations for all cats maintained at any residence in Lexington. The Board of Health may take such action as it finds necessary to remove excess (i.e., more than five) cats from a given residence or area in order to protect the public health.
Permits for dogs. No more than five dogs may be maintained at any residence in the Town of Lexington without a permit from the Board of Health. Persons wishing to breed dogs must first obtain a breeder's license from the Board of Health and must supply documentation as to breeding facilities. Owners must comply with all applicable state and local laws and bylaws concerning rabies vaccinations and animal control. The Board of Health may take such action as it finds necessary to remove excess (i.e., more than five) dogs from a given residence or area in order to protect the public health.
No person shall own or keep within the limits of this Town any animal which, by barking, biting or howling, or in any other manner, disturbs the peace and quiet of any person, and no person shall own or keep within the limits of this Town any bird or fowl which, by screeching or crowing or by any other noise, disturbs the peace and quiet of any person.
Any animal deemed to be dangerous in the view of the Board of Health, its agents or the Police Department may be removed or destroyed without prior notification of the owner.
No person within the Town shall feed any wild animals, including, without limitation, ducks, geese and raccoons, or any homeless dogs or cats, except birds through freestanding bird feeders or bird feeders attached to a private residence. Persons feeding their own domestic animals shall do so only in a shelter space that is inaccessible to wild or roaming animals.
No person within the Town shall possess, maintain, propagate, cultivate or deal in wild or exotic animals within the meaning of MGL c. 131, § 23, unless notice thereof has been filed with the Board of Health and all permits required by said § 23 or otherwise have been obtained.
If deficiencies on the property in any way affect the well-being of the animal, the immediate neighborhood and/or the public health and are found upon routine inspection by the Animal Inspector or upon complaint received by the Board of Health, and an inspection confirms the validity of such complaint, a representative of the Board of Health or its agent may issue a written order to the person or persons having control of the premises to correct the offending deficiencies. Failure to comply with said order or repeat offenses may result in fines of up to $50 for each violation, revocation of the permit to keep animals or other penalties.
The owner or agent of the owner of animals must reside on the property where the animals are stabled unless approved under special permit by the Board of Health.
Fees. A fee of $10 shall be paid for each permit to keep an individual animal. A twenty-five-dollar late filing fee shall be imposed on all permits that are renewed more than 60 days late.
Renewals. Renewals shall be completed by February 1 of each year. If any complaints are received regarding a permitted premises and are investigated and verified by the Animal Inspector within the year prior to the renewal date, a reinspection must be completed one month prior to the renewal date. The Animal Inspector will then submit a detailed written report to the Board of Health, which will review the information and act on the renewal application.
Exemptions. Permitted, preexisting, nonconforming uses may continue to operate unless the Board of Health determines that the health or safety of the public is at risk. Such situations will then be reviewed and reconsidered by the Board of Health.
Special permits. The Board of Health may issue a special permit upon written request for a variance to the above regulations.
The Board of Health may, at its discretion, take action to control any dog, cat or any other animal of any type that becomes either a nuisance or a threat to the public health, including placement in a shelter, trapping or euthanization. Any dog or cat or other animal removed by the Board of Health will be detained for 10 days or according to the policy of the shelter in which it is placed. If, at the end of 10 days or other specified period no owner has come forth, the Board of Health may transport the animal to an appropriate facility for further keeping, spay or neuter the animal, vaccinate the animal or have it euthanized.
Cats for which no proof of rabies vaccination is available must be vaccinated by the owner within 10 days of notice by the Board of Health. Cats with no identifiable owner will be detained for 10 days, during which time the cat(s) may be vaccinated by order of the Board of Health. Owners will be required to pay reasonable fees for vaccination, holding in a shelter, spaying or neutering, or other services in order to repossess any animal for which the Board of Health has retained and ordered such services.
Variances. Variances to the above regulations may be requested from the Board of Health. Variances must be requested in writing, and the Board of Health may require a hearing.