Town of Ashland, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Ashland 10-15-1997 Annual Town Meeting, Art. 6, which article also provided for the repeal of former Ch. 87, Animals, Art. I, Dogs, adopted May 1993 STM. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This bylaw is intended to guide those persons owning or keeping dogs in their role as responsible pet owners so as not to adversely affect the residents of Ashland.
[Amended 5-1-2013 ATM, Art.ATM, Art. 22]
Any reference to a "section" in this bylaw shall mean Chapter 140 of the Massachusetts General Laws, unless otherwise stated. The provisions of MGL Chapter 140, sections 136A through 174E inclusive as may be amended from time to time and except as modified herein, are incorporated into this bylaw relating to the regulation of dogs.
Unless otherwise set out in this bylaw, any term defined in section 136A shall have the same meaning in this bylaw, and shall be expressly incorporated herein.
the person or firm appointed to enforce the provisions of this bylaw.
The Town of Ashland Select Board.
[Added 5-1-2013 ATM, Art. 22; amended 11-20-2019 STM, Art. 13]
A pack or collection of dogs on a single premise, including a commercial boarding or training kennel, commercial breeder kennel, domestic charitable corporation kennel, personal kennel or veterinary kennel.
[Amended 5-1-2013 ATM, Art. 22]
COMMERCIAL BOARDING OR TRAINING KENNEL: An establishment used for boarding, holding, day care, overnight stays or training of animals that are not the property of the owner of the establishment, at which such services are rendered in exchange for consideration and in the absence of the Owner of any such animal; provided, however, that "commercial boarding or training kennel" shall not include an animal shelter or animal control facility, a pet shop licensed under G.L. c. 129, § 39A, a grooming facility operated solely for the purpose of grooming and not for overnight boarding or an individual who temporarily, and not in the normal course of business, boards or cares for animals owned by others.
COMMERCIAL BREEDER KENNEL: An establishment, other than a personal kennel, engaged in the business of breeding animals for sale or for exchange to wholesalers, brokers or pet shops in return for consideration.
DOMESTIC CHARITABLE CORPORATION KENNEL: A facility operated, owned or maintained by a domestic charitable corporation registered with the Department, or an animal welfare society or other nonprofit organization incorporated for the purpose of providing for and promoting the welfare, protection and humane treatment of animals, including a veterinary hospital or clinic operated by a licensed veterinarian, which operates consistent with such purpose providing veterinary treatment and care.
PERSONAL KENNEL: A pack or collection of more than four (4) dogs, three (3) months old or older, owned or kept under single ownership, for private personal use; provided, however, that breeding of personally owned dogs may take place for the purpose of improving, exhibiting or showing the breed, use in legal sporting activity or other personal reasons; provided, further, that selling, trading, bartering or the distribution of such breed dogs from a personal kennel shall be to other breeders or individuals by private sale only and not to wholesalers, brokers or pet shops; provided, further, that personal kennels shall not sell, trade, barter or distribute any dogs not bred from their personally owned dogs; and provided, further, that dogs temporarily housed at a personal kennel in conjunction with an animal shelter or rescue registered with the Department may be sold, traded, bartered or distributed if the transfer is not made for the purpose of profiting thereby.
VETERINARY KENNEL: A veterinary hospital or clinic that boards dogs for reasons in addition to medical treatment or care; provided, however, that this definition shall not include a hospital or clinic used solely to house dogs that have undergone veterinary treatment, observation, or will do so, only for the period of time needed to accomplish the needed veterinary care.
The initial license period for a license issued under this Chapter 87 shall be from the date of issuance until the December 31 next occurring, whereupon renewals for any license shall be for a full license period from January 1 to December 31 of each year.
[Amended 5-1-2013 ATM, Art. 22]
The Town Clerk shall be the Licensing Authority with respect to this bylaw.
[Added 5-1-2013 ATM, Art. 22]
Any person or persons, individual, partnership, company, firm, association or corporation owning, keeping or harboring a dog within the Town.
[Amended 5-1-2013 ATM, Art. 22]
This bylaw shall go into effect on December 31, 1997, or earlier if so adopted by the State Attorney General or passed by the Legislature. Until said date, all current statutes and bylaws shall remain in effect.
[Amended 5-1-2013 ATM, Art. 22; 11-20-2019 STM, Art. 13]
The Select Board shall annually appoint an animal control officer under the provisions of G.L. c. 140, §§ 151 and 151A to carry out the provisions of this bylaw, and perform such other duties and responsibilities as may, from time to time, be determined.
The Animal Control Officer shall seek out, catch and confine all dogs within the city or town which then have not been licensed, collared or harnessed, and tagged, as required by this bylaw, and to enter and prosecute a complaint for failure to comply with the provisions of this bylaw against the owners or keepers thereof, if known, and to kill or cause to be killed by methods of execution other than gunshot except in case of emergency, T-61, so-called, a euthanasia solution not under the control of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, unless by a veterinarian, succinylcholine cholide, any drugs that have curariform-like action, electrocution or any other method which causes an unnecessarily cruel death each such dog which after being detained by or for him for a period of ten days shall not then have been licensed, collared or harnessed, and tagged; provided, that at the end of ten days such Animal Control Officer may make available for adoption any dog not found to be diseased, for a sum not less than three dollars and shall keep an account of all moneys received by him for such adoption and shall forthwith pay over such sums to the town treasurer in the same manner as dog license money as provided in G.L. c. 140, § 147.
It shall be the duty of the Animal Control Officer to make, keep, and maintain systems of records or forms which fully and correctly disclose the following information concerning each animal in his custody:
The date and location of each apprehension; a description of each animal; place of confinement; if tagged, the name and address of owners of such animal; name and address of new owner including the date of sale or transfer of such animal; and, if animal is destroyed, the dog officer shall record the method and date of destruction and the name of the person who executed such animal. The Animal Control Officer shall forward a copy of said record to the Town Clerk as soon as possible. The Town Clerk shall retain a copy of such record for a period of two years.
A special dog fund account is hereby created by the Town of Ashland. Said fund shall be used as a depository for all monies collected as fees, fines, charges, penalties and other like monies imposed under this bylaw. Funds may be appropriated from this fund to make purchases necessary to administer this bylaw and to pay any expenses relating to this bylaw or for any other costs that Chapter 140 MGL requires to be paid. Receipts allocated to this fund shall be deposited in a special account by the Treasurer/Collector.
[Amended 5-1-2013 ATM, Art. 22]
Whoever is the owner of a dog, cat or ferret six (6) 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 vaccine's manufacturer. The veterinarian shall issue a tag with each certificate of vaccination. The tag 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, cat or ferret; provided, however, that the owner of a cat or ferret may choose not to affix a tag to his cat, but shall have the tag available for inspection by authorized persons. In the event that a tag is lost, the owner or keeper of the animal shall, upon presentation of the original vaccination certificate, be issued a new tag.
Unvaccinated dogs, cats and ferrets acquired or brought into the Town shall be vaccinated within thirty (30) days after acquisition or entry into the Town or upon reaching the age of six (6) months, whichever comes later.
The Licensing Authority may grant an exemption from this section for a dog, cat or ferret that:
the Board of Health has declared exempt from the rabies vaccination requirement upon presentation of a veterinarian's certificate stating that because of an infirmity, or other physical condition or regimen of therapy, such inoculation is considered unadvisable for a specific period of time for such reasons;
is in transit;
was brought into the Town temporarily for the sole purpose of display in a show or for exhibition.
Failure to comply with this Section 87-7 shall result in a fine of not less than $100.00 for the first offense and not less than $200.00 for each offense thereafter in any twelve (12) month period.
[Amended 5-1-2013 ATM, Art. 22]
Every dog (6) months old or older kept in the Town of Ashland shall be duly registered, numbered, described and licensed.
Every person who becomes owner or keeper of such a dog shall, within thirty (30) days of its becoming six (6) months old or thirty (30) days of becoming its owner or keeper, whichever shall last occur, shall obtain such license from the Licensing Authority. The Owner or Keeper shall submit an application on the form prescribed along with proof of vaccination or notarized letter from a licensed veterinarian stating that the dog has been vaccinated, or Board of Health Declaration that the dog is exempt from the vaccination requirement to the Licensing.
The registering, numbering, describing and licensing of a dog shall be done by the Licensing Authority, and shall be subject to the conditions expressed therein that the dog which is the subject of the license shall be controlled and restrained from killing, chasing or harassing livestock, fowls or wildlife.
The owner of a licensed dog shall cause it to wear around its neck or body a collar or harness of leather or other suitable materials, to which shall be securely attached a tag on a form proscribed and distributed by the Licensing Authority when a license is issued. Such tag shall state "Town of Ashland," the year of issue and tag number. The Licensing Authority shall maintain a record of the identifying numbers.
If any such tag is lost the owner shall secure a substitute tag issued by the Licensing Authority.
The Licensing Authority shall not grant any license until and unless a current rabies vaccination certificate or Board of Health Declaration that the dog is exempt from the vaccination requirement for the animal has been presented.
A transfer license from another location in Massachusetts shall be granted upon application provided that adequate proof is presented to the Licensing Authority at the time of application. Such application shall occur within thirty (30) days of establishing residency within Ashland.
The license fee for spay or neutered dogs shall be $15.00 and shall be $20.00 for intact dogs. There shall be no license fee for persons over the age of seventy (70) years.
[Added 11-19-2013 STM, Art. 9]
[Amended 5-1-2013 ATM, Art. 22]
Any person maintaining a Commercial Boarding or Training Kennel, Commercial Breeder Kennel, Domestic Charitable Corporation Kennel, Personal Kennel, or Veterinary Kennel, upon application shall be issued a kennel license. Prior to the issuance of a kennel license, the Animal Control Officer may inspect the proposed facilities to insure they comply with any rules and regulations as they may relate to Kennels.
An owner or keeper of less than four (4) dogs, three (3) months old or older, who does not maintain a Kennel may elect to secure a Kennel license in lieu of licensing each dog individually, provided however that such owner or keeper shall be subject to all provisions of this bylaw relating to the maintenance, operation and licensing of Kennels as if he or she were maintaining a Kennel.
The Animal Control Officer may at any time inspect any Kennel located in the Town of Ashland.
Petitions or complaints against any such Kennel shall be filed with the Select Board. The Board, as well as the Town Manager, shall have investigatory powers over any such petitions or complaints. Said investigation shall be conducted by the Town Manager who, within seven days after the filing of such petition or complaint, shall give notice to all parties of interest of a public hearing to be held before the Select Board within fourteen (14) days after the date of such notice. After such public hearing the Board may make an order either revoking or suspending such kennel license or otherwise regulating such Kennel, or dismissing said petition. Within ten days after receipt of such order, the holder of such license may bring a petition in the district court as outlined in G.L. c. 140, § 137C. Any person maintaining a Kennel after the license has been revoked, or while such license is suspended shall be punished as set forth in the penalty provision of this bylaw.
[Amended 11-20-2019 STM, Art. 13]
A kennel license shall be in lieu of any other license for a dog kept at a Kennel during any portion of the period for which the kennel license is valid. A kennel licensee shall cause each dog kept in its Kennel to wear, while it is at large, a collar or harness of leather or other suitable material, to which a tag shall be securely attached. Such tags shall be provided to the kennel licensee by the Licensing Authority and shall state "Town of Ashland," the year of issue and kennel license number.
Failure to comply with this Section 87-9 shall result in a fine of not less than $50.00 for the first offense and not less than $100.00 for each offense thereafter in any twelve (12) month period.
Kennel owners/operators shall be subject to § 87-10 (Failure to License) of this bylaw.
[Amended 10-17-2001 ATM, Art. 24; 5-2-2012 ATM, Art. 14; 5-1-2013 ATM, Art. 22]
The owner who fails to license a dog on or before April 15th of each year shall be fined in accordance with § 87-21 of this bylaw. Payment of the fine under this section is made to the Licensing Authority at the time of licensing, unless, after hearing before the Licensing Authority, such fine is waived.
Any owner of a dog who fails to license the dog for a previous year, shall pay a fine to the Licensing Authority at the time of licensing for the new year. Said fine shall be stated in § 87-21 of this bylaw.
No refunds shall be granted for owners obtaining duplicate licenses within any licensing period, nor in the event that the dog becomes deceased or moves from the owner of record of from Ashland.
[Amended 11-20-2019 STM, Art. 13]
The owner of a dog which has done damage to livestock or fowls shall be liable in tort to the Town for all damages so done and in which the Town has been requested to pay as provided by MGL Chapter 140 or by this bylaw. Such action may be brought by the Select Board, Town Manager or any officer of the town designated by the Board or Town Manager to do so.
[Amended 5-1-2013 ATM, Art. 22]
Violations of any provision of this bylaw, or of any duly adopted and filed rules and regulations applicable to the control of animals, may be processed pursuant to G.L. c. 40, § 21D of the general laws of the commonwealth. Fines for violations shall be assessed according to the schedule listed in section 87-21 hereunder.
If the owner of a dog fails to respond to a citation within twenty-one days, the Animal Control Officer shall forward a copy of the citation to the District Court where it shall be handled under the provisions of G.L. c. 40, § 21 D.
Enforcement of this bylaw under the Non-Criminal Disposition process shall be carried out by the Animal Control Officer, members of the Board of Health when so designated by the Board, any person having police powers, or other person so designated by the Town Manager shall have enforcement powers under this paragraph.
Each day or part thereof of violation of any provision of this bylaw or such rules and regulations, whether such violation is continuous or intermittent, shall constitute a separate and succeeding offense.
Editor's Note: Former § 87-13, Criminal disposition, as amended, was repealed 5-1-2013 ATM, Art. 22.
Each person who owns, possesses or controls a dog walking in any area within the Town other than his/her own private property is responsible for the removal and disposal of any feces left by the dog on any location within town.
No person shall own or keep in the Town any dog which by biting, excessive barking, howling or in any other manner disturbs the public peace.
[Amended 5-1-2013 ATM, Art. 22]
If any person shall make a complaint in writing to the Board that any dog owned or harbored within the Town is a nuisance by reason of vicious disposition or excessive barking or other disturbance, the Board shall investigate or cause an investigation by the Animal Control Officer of such complaint, which may include an examination under oath of the complainant. If such investigation is carried out by the Animal Control Officer, such Officer shall submit a written report to the Board (copy to the Town Manager) of his/her findings and recommendations, together with the written complaint. Upon completion of its investigation or receipt of such report, examination of the complainant under oath if necessary and public hearing, the Board shall make a determination of whether such dog is nuisance or a dangerous dog. If the Board determines that such dog is a nuisance, it may order that the owner or keeper of the dog take remedial action to ameliorate the cause of the nuisance behavior. If the Board determined that such dog is a dangerous dog, it shall order one of more of the following:
that the dog shall be humanely restrained; provided, however, that no order shall provide that a dog deemed dangerous be chained, tethered or otherwise tied to any inanimate object including, but not limited to, a tree, post or building;
that the dog shall be confined to the premises of the keeper of such dog; provided, however that "confined" shall mean securely confined indoors or confined outdoors in a securely enclosed and locked pen or dog run area upon the premises of the owner or keeper; provided further, that such pen or dog run shall have a secure roof and if such enclosure has no floor secured to the sides thereof, the sides shall be embedded into the ground not less than two (2) feet; and provided further, that within the confines of such pen or dog run, a dog house or proper shelter from the elements shall be provided to protect such dog;
that when removed from the premises of the owner or the premises of the person keeping the dog, the dog shall be securely and humanely muzzled and restrained with a chain or other tethering device having a minimum tensile strength of 300 pounds and not exceeding three (3) feet in length;
that the owner or keeper of the dog shall provide proof of a policy of insurance in an amount not less than $100,000 insuring such owner or keeper against any claim, loss, damage or injury to persons, domestic animals or property resulting from the acts, whether intentional or unintentional, of such dog or proof that reasonable efforts were made to obtain such insurance if a policy has not been issued. If such a policy has been issued, the owner or keeper shall produce such policy upon request of the hearing authority or a justice of the district court or proof of efforts to obtain same if such a policy has not been issued.
that the owner or keeper of the dog shall provide to the licensing authority or animal control officer, or such other entity identified in the order, information by which such dog may be identified, throughout its lifetime including, but not limited to, photographs, videos, veterinary examination, tattooing or microchip implantations or a combination of such methods of identification;
that unless an owner or keeper of the a dog provides evidence that a veterinarian is of the opinion the such dog is unfit for alterations because of medical condition, the owner or keeper of the dog shall cause the dog to be altered such that the dog shall not be reproductively intact; or
that the dog shall be humanely euthanized.
The owner of keeper of any dog subject to an order of the Board shall have the right to appeal such order in accordance with G.L. c. 140, § 157.
Failure to comply with an order issued under this Section 87-16 shall result in a fine of not more than $300.00 for each offense. Each day of said violation shall constitute a separate offense.
No person who owns or keeps a dog shall allow the animal to run free when not restricted to the premises of said owner or keeper. When off said premises, such dog(s) shall be leashed and curbed. Excepted and excluded from the provisions of this section shall be such dog(s) when the same are under the supervision and control of their trainer, owners or keepers and engaged in a sporting event or hunting and not otherwise prohibited by law.
[Amended 5-1-2013 ATM, Art. 22]
The Animal Control Officer may restrain or muzzle, or issue an interim order to restrain or muzzle, for a period not to exceed fourteen days, for any dog for any of the following reasons:
if found at-large or unmuzzled, as the case may be, while an order for the restraint of such dog is in effect;
for having bitten any person;
if found at-large in a school, school yard, or public recreational area;
for having killed or maimed or otherwise damaged any other domesticated animal, including livestock and fowl;
for chasing any vehicle upon a public way or ways open to public travel in the Town; or
for any violation of sections 87-15, 87-16 or 87-17 supra.
Upon restraining or muzzling, or issuing an interim order to restrain or muzzle, the Animal Control Officer shall submit in writing to the Board (copy to Town Manager) a report of his/her action and the reason therefore. Upon receipt of such report the Board may take action in accordance with Section 87-16. If the Board fails to act upon report during the period the dog is restrained or muzzled, upon expiration of the period, the interim order automatically is vacated.
[Amended 11-20-2019 STM, Art. 13]
The owner or keeper of any dog that has been ordered to be restrained, muzzled or disposed of under this bylaw may, within ten (10) days after such an order is issued, bring petition in the District Court requesting that such order be reviewed by the Court and the Court shall review such action, hear witnesses and reaffirm or reverse the order of the Select Board. The decision of the Court shall be final and conclusive on both parties.
If any part, section or provision of the bylaw is found to be invalid, the remaining parts, sections, or provisions of this bylaw shall not be affected thereby.
In the event that a conflict arises between MGL and this bylaw, the terms shall be interpreted liberally in favor of this bylaw.
[Amended 5-13-1998 ATM, Art. 38; 5-1-2013 ATM, Art. 22]
The Licensing Authority shall determine fees for dog and kennel licenses pursuant to G.L. c. 40, § 22F, provided:
the license fee for unneutered males/unspayed females shall be more than the license fee for neutered males/spayed females;
no fee shall be charged for a license issued for a service animal as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act or regulation promulgated thereunder; and
no fee shall be charged for a kennel license issued to a Domestic Charitable Corporation Kennel.
Non-criminal Disposition Fines for violations of any provision of this bylaw, except where otherwise indicated shall be:
First offense in any twelve (12) month period
Second and each subsequent offense in any twelve (12) month period
Each day of all said violations shall constitute a separate offense.
Failure to obtain license (§ 87-10)
$50.00 per license year
Residents over seventy (70) years of age shall be exempt from the fees set forth in section (A) above.