City of Northampton, MA
Hampshire County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 128-8 Annual licensing; late charge.

[Amended 12-21-1989; 8-17-2000; 6-19-2003]
A. 
The owner or keeper of any dog six months old or older owned or kept within the City shall, within 30 days of residence, cause such dog to be licensed and to wear a valid license tag and a valid rabies tag affixed to a collar or harness in accordance with the laws of the commonwealth.
[Amended 2-1-2007]
B. 
No license shall be issued to a person who has not attained the age of 18 years or one convicted of cruelty to animals for a period of five years from the date of his/her being found guilty or penalized for such offense.
[Amended 12-20-2012]
C. 
Fees.
(1) 
The fee for licensing of said dog shall be as set forth in Chapter 174, Fees, for the following:
[Amended 2-1-2007]
(a) 
Neutered male dogs and spayed female dogs; documentation from a veterinarian of the neutering or spaying must be provided at the time of licensing.
(b) 
Unneutered male dogs and unspayed female dogs.
(c) 
Duplicate (replacement) tags.
(d) 
Transfer licenses (from other Massachusetts city or town).
(2) 
However, no fee shall be charged for licensing of certain specially trained dogs as set forth in MGL c. 140, § 139.
D. 
Beginning May 1 and on the first day of each succeeding month, weekends and holidays excluded, the owner or keeper of any dog six months old or older owned or kept within the City, who has not obtained the required license shall be assessed an administrative late charge by the City Clerk as set forth in Chapter 174, Fees, for each and every month that the dog remains unlicensed. All such fees must be paid before a license can be issued for any subsequent year. However, in no case shall the owner or keeper be assessed late charges for a period exceeding 11 months in the aggregate.
[Amended 2-1-2007; 3-4-2010]

§ 128-9 Running at large; restraint of dogs.

[Amended 8-17-2000]
A. 
No person owning or keeping a dog within the City shall allow such dog to roam at large upon the land of another, except if it is on the premises of another person with his or her permission, nor shall they allow such dog to roam at large on any portion of a public highway or any public property, nor shall an owner or keeper restrain a dog on his/her own property so as to permit said dog to extend onto public or private property or to create a danger to the public safety.
B. 
The owner or keeper of a dog in the City which is not on the premises of the owner/keeper or upon the premises of another with the permission of said person shall restrain said dog with a chain or leash of sufficient material and strength as necessary to restrain the dog and shall be held by a person capable of controlling the movements of the dog. The chain or leash shall be of a length which prohibits the dog from being a nuisance to persons nearby or causing damage to public or personal property.
C. 
No owner/keeper of a dog shall allow it on public school property during school hours without the permission of the school principal, unless it is in a vehicle and kept in such a way as to prevent contact with passersby.
D. 
The owner or keeper of a dog may use such dog for sporting purposes during the hunting seasons provided for by the fish and game laws of the commonwealth.
E. 
This section shall in no way limit or preclude the use of certain specially trained dogs as set forth in MGL c. 140, § 139.

§ 128-10 Redemption of impounded dogs.

[Amended 6-18-1987; 8-17-2000; 6-19-2003]
A. 
Any person wishing to retrieve a dog confined under a warrant issued pursuant to § 128-9 shall provide upon request:
(1) 
Positive identification, such as a driver's license or equivalent identification.
(2) 
Proof of ownership of said animal.
B. 
Such person wishing to retrieve a dog shall first pay to the City the fees for the following as set forth in Chapter 174, Fees:
[Amended 2-1-2007]
(1) 
Pickup fee.
(2) 
Administrative fee.
(3) 
Identification fee, which shall be assessed for any dog impounded that does not have affixed to its collar or harness a current city/town dog license tag and valid rabies tag.
(4) 
Care and keeping.
C. 
All payments shall be made to the City Clerk or the Animal Control Officer who shall issue a receipt. All such payments collected by the Animal Control Officer shall be turned over to the City Clerk.

§ 128-11 Hearing officer/authority for dog complaints.

[Amended 6-19-2003; 12-20-2012]
The Mayor shall designate an individual or body to serve as the hearing officer/authority for the investigation of dog complaints. The hearing officer/authority shall be empowered to conduct hearings under oath, subpoena witnesses, render dispositions and issue orders relative to complaints of nuisance or dangerous dogs owned or kept in the City under the provisions of MGL c. 140, § 157, and complaints of improperly maintained or nuisance dog kennels under MGL c. 140, § 137C.

§ 128-12 Permitting dogs to cross certain property prohibited in May through August.

[Amended 2-1-2007]
Whoever having charge or custody of a dog willfully suffers or permits it to enter or remain or pass over any orchard, garden, mowing land or other improved or enclosed land of another during the months of May, June, July or August, after being forbidden so to do in writing or by notice posted thereon by the owner or occupant thereof, or by an authorized agent of such owner or occupant, shall be punished by a fine as provided in Chapter 40, Enforcement.

§ 128-13 Responsibility for and removal of canine waste.

[Added 10-2-1980]
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. 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 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 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, container 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 and regularly reserved for the disposal of human feces, specifically reserved for the disposal of canine feces, or as otherwise designated by the Northampton Board of Health.
D. 
Any person found in violation of this section by an Animal Control Officer or a Police Officer shall cause a complaint to issue in the court of jurisdiction. The penalty for violation of this section shall be as set forth in Chapter 40, Enforcement, for each offense.
[Amended 8-17-2000; 2-1-2007]
E. 
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 section.

§ 128-14 Requirement for rabies vaccination of dogs, cats and ferrets.

[Added 6-18-1992; amended 6-19-2003; 2-1-2007; 12-20-2012]
A. 
Whoever in the City of Northampton is the owner or keeper of a dog, cat or ferret six months of age or older shall cause such dog, cat or ferret to be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian using a licensed vaccine according to the manufacturer's directions, and shall cause such dog, cat or ferret to be revaccinated at intervals recommended by the manufacturer. Unvaccinated dogs, cats or ferrets acquired or moved into the City from outside the commonwealth shall be vaccinated within 30 days after the acquisition or arrival into the commonwealth or upon reaching the age of six months, whichever last occurs.
B. 
The rabies vaccination tag, issued by the vaccinating veterinarian, shall be secured by the owner or keeper of such dog, cat or ferret to a collar or harness made of suitable material to be worn by the dog or cat; provided, however, that the owner of a cat or ferret may choose not to affix a tag to his cat or ferret, but shall have the tag available for inspection by authorized persons. In the event that a tag is lost, the owner or keeper shall obtain a replacement tag from the vaccinating veterinarian upon presentment of the original vaccination certificate.
C. 
Failure to immunize a dog, cat or ferret and/or maintain records of the same shall be subject to a fine as set forth in Chapter 40, Enforcement.

§ 128-15 Animal Control Officer; poundkeeper and provider.

[Added 6-19-2003; amended 12-20-2012]
The Mayor shall appoint an Animal Control Officer for the City for a term of up to three years. Upon such appointment, the Mayor shall immediately submit to the State Commissioner of Agricultural Resources the name, address, date and term of appointment of said Animal Control Officer. The qualifications of the Animal Control Officer shall be established by the Mayor and shall be in compliance with the requirements set forth under MGL c. 140, §§ 151 through 151C.
A. 
The Animal Control Officer shall be responsible for enforcement of the state statutes pertaining to dogs as found under Chapter 140 of the Massachusetts General Laws, those City ordinances pertaining to the licensing and regulation of dogs and other animals, as well as warrants issued by the City under the provisions of § 153 of Chapter 140. The Animal Control Officer shall investigate 1) complaints of nuisance dogs under the provisions of § 157 of Chapter 140; 2) claims of damage by dogs to livestock or fowls under MGL c. 140, § 161, as that section may be amended from time to time, and 3) complaints of improperly maintained or nuisance kennels under § 128-18 of this chapter. Additionally, the Animal Control Officer shall investigate other complaints of violations of statutes and/or City ordinances relating to animal control, and where appropriate bring criminal or noncriminal action. For the purpose of enforcing these statutes and City ordinances, the Animal Control Officer shall be designated a special police officer, subject to annual appointment.
[Amended 6-27-2013]
B. 
The Animal Control Officer shall also serve as the dog poundkeeper and provider. The Animal Control Officer shall collect and turn over any fees collected for the redemption and the care and keeping of dogs impounded to the City Clerk for forwarding to the City Treasurer.
C. 
The Animal Control Officer may sell for a designated fee any unclaimed and undiseased dog, which has been confined, unless the dog is turned over to another recognized animal shelter or rescue group. The Animal Control Officer shall keep a record of all such sales, and all fees collected shall be turned over to the City Clerk for forwarding to the City Treasurer.
D. 
No Animal Control Officer shall be a licensed animal dealer registered with the United States Department of Agriculture, and no Animal Control Officer, either privately or in the course of carrying out his/her official assignments as an agent for the City of Northampton, shall give, sell, or turn over any animal which may come into his/her custody to any business or institution licensed or registered as a research facility or animal dealer with the United States Department of Agriculture.
E. 
Before disposing of any dog in his/her possession, the Animal Control Officer shall first examine the animal for the presence of a microchip or tattoo and check its description against descriptions within the City relative to such species of animal licensed or registered therein. The Animal Control Officer, prior to euthanizing any animal, shall have completed under the supervision of a veterinarian registered under the provisions of MGL c. 112, § 55 or 56C, a course of instruction in humane techniques for euthanizing animals. In any case, animals shall be euthanized only by the administration of barbiturates in a manner deemed acceptable by the American Veterinary Association Guidelines on Euthanasia, except by gunshot in case of emergency.
F. 
The Animal Control Officer shall make, keep and maintain accurate records of all information required by MGL c. 140, § 151A(b), and forward a copy of such records to the City Clerk within 30 days.
G. 
Additionally, the Animal Control Officer shall perform all other duties prescribed by statute, City ordinance or those established by job description and/or contract.

§ 128-16 (Reserved) [1]

[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 128-16, Reimbursement for damages to livestock or fowl, added 6-19-2003, as amended 12-20-2012, was repealed 6-27-2013. See now MGL c. 140, § 161, Damages caused by dogs and paid by city or town; compensation for appraisers.

§ 128-17 Veterinarians' fees for emergency treatment of dogs and cats injured on ways.

[Added 6-19-2003; amended 12-20-2012]
Any veterinarian registered under the provisions of MGL c. 112, § 55 or 56A, who renders emergency care or treatment to, or euthanizes a dog or cat that is injured on any way within the City of Northampton shall receive payment from the owner of such dog or cat, if known or subsequently identified. If the owner is unknown, the veterinarian may submit an invoice to the Police Department for payment of an amount not to exceed the limit provided under MGL c. 140, § 151B, for such care, treatment or euthanization; provided, however, that such emergency care, treatment or euthanization shall be for the purpose of maintaining life, stabilizing the animal or alleviating suffering for a period of up to 24 hours. Any veterinarian who renders such emergency care or treatment to, or euthanizes, such dog or cat shall notify the City's Animal Control Officer. Upon notification, the Animal Control Officer shall assume control of such dog or cat, or its remains. The Animal Control Officer shall endeavor to identify the owner of the injured dog or cat. If the owner is identified, the Animal Control Officer shall provide the name and address of the owner to the treating veterinarian. If the owner remains unknown, the Animal Control Officer shall verify that there is reason to believe that the injury occurred on a way within the City and provide the Chief of Police or his/her designee with a written report of the matter. Upon receipt of such verification, the Chief of Police or his/her designee shall approve payment of the invoiced amount, not to exceed the statutory provided limit, for the veterinarian's services.

§ 128-18 Inspection of kennels; suspension or revocation of license; procedure for declaring a kennel a nuisance.

[Added 6-19-2003; amended 2-1-2007; 12-20-2012]
A. 
The Animal Control Officer, any police officer or an agent of the Board of Health may at any time inspect any kennel within the City. If, in that officer's or agent's judgment, the kennel is not being maintained in a sanitary and humane manner, or if records are not properly kept as required by law, said officer or agent shall make a complaint in writing to the hearing officer/authority for dog complaints. Within seven days of receipt of such complaint, the hearing officer/authority shall give notice to all parties of interest of a public hearing to be conducted within 14 days after the date of such notice. Upon a finding of probable cause at said hearing, the hearing officer/authority shall order the suspension or revocation of the kennel license.
B. 
Upon the receipt of a petition from 25 or more citizens setting forth a statement that they are aggrieved, or annoyed to an unreasonable extent, by one or more dogs maintained in the City, due to excessive barking of said dogs or conditions connected with such kennel constituting a public nuisance, the hearing officer/authority shall, within seven days of the filing of such petition, give notice to all parties in interest of a public hearing to be held within 14 days after the date of such notice. Within seven days after conducting the public hearing, the hearing officer shall, upon a determination of probable cause, issue an order either revoking or suspending the kennel license or otherwise regulating the kennel. If probable cause is not found, the hearing officer shall dismiss the petition.
C. 
Written notice of any order of suspension or revocation shall be mailed forthwith to the license holder and a copy provided to the City Clerk. Within 10 days of the issuance of the order, the license holder may petition the Northampton District Court for review of such order. After notice to all parties it may deem necessary, the Court shall review the action, hear witnesses and affirm the order unless it appears that it was made without probable cause or in bad faith, in which case the order shall be reversed. The Court's decision shall be final and conclusive on all parties.
D. 
Any person maintaining a kennel after the license has been revoked or while the license is suspended shall be punished by a fine as set forth in Chapter 40, Enforcement. For the purpose of this section, each day that a kennel remains in operation after revocation or suspension of its license shall be considered a separate offense.

§ 128-19 Annual kennel dog licenses.

[Added 6-19-2003; amended 2-1-2007; 12-20-2012]
A. 
Every person maintaining a kennel shall have a kennel license. All kennel licenses shall be issued in accordance with the provisions of MGL c. 140, §§ 137A through 137D.
(1) 
The holder of a kennel license shall cause each dog kept therein to wear a collar or harness of leather or other suitable material, to which shall be securely attached a numbered tag issued by the City Clerk.
(2) 
All dogs kept at a kennel shall be vaccinated against rabies in accordance with the requirements of MGL c. 140, § 145B, as well as § 128-14 of this chapter. Each dog shall have attached its collar or harness a rabies vaccination tag issued by a veterinarian. The holder of a kennel license shall keep on file at the kennel the rabies certificate for each dog kept there. The rabies license shall be subject to inspection by the Animal Control Officer, agent of the Board of Health or any police officer. At least once annually, the Animal Control Officer shall inspect the rabies certificates of all the dogs kept by each kennel license holder. Failure to have a current rabies certificate on file for each dog kept by a kennel license holder shall be grounds for the revocation of the kennel license.
B. 
The kennel licensing fee schedule shall be as set forth in Chapter 174, Fees.
C. 
Beginning May 1 and on the first of each succeeding month, weekends and holidays excluded, the keeper of any kennel within the City, who has not obtained the required license, shall be assessed an administrative late charge by the City Clerk as set forth in Chapter 174, Fees, for each and every month that the kennel remains unlicensed. All such fees must be paid before a license can be issued for any subsequent year.
D. 
Holders of a kennel licenses shall maintain records of every dog kept at their kennel. These records shall include the name, sex and description of each dog kept. All such records shall be available for inspection by any Animal Control Officer, police officer, agent of the Board of Health or environmental police officer.
E. 
Before any kennel license shall issue or be renewed:
(1) 
The kennel must pass inspection by the Animal Control Officer for compliance with the provisions of MGL c. 140, §§ 137B and 137C.
(2) 
The applicant shall establish to the satisfaction of the Building Commissioner that he/she is in compliance with any and all zoning or business licensing requirements pertaining to the operation and maintenance of a kennel facility.
(3) 
No license shall be issued to a person who has not attained the age of 18 years, or one convicted of cruelty to animals for a period of five years from the date of his/her being found guilty or penalized for such offense.