City of Taunton, MA
Bristol County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Municipal Council of the City of Taunton as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Animal Shelter Advisory Commission — See Ch. 10, Art. XIV.
[Adopted 12-22-1981 (Ch. 3, Art. II, of the 2010 Code)]
[Amended 5-23-2000; 12-18-2001; 7-14-2009]
A. 
Any person who at the commencement of a license period is, or who during any license period becomes, the owner or keeper of a dog six months old or over which is not duly licensed, and the owner or keeper of a dog when it becomes six months old during a license period, shall cause it to be registered, numbered, described and licensed until the end of such license period, and the owner or keeper of a dog so registered, numbered, described and licensed during any license period, in order to own or keep such dog after the beginning of the succeeding license period, shall, before the beginning thereof, cause it to be registered, numbered, described and licensed for such period. The registering, numbering, describing and licensing of a dog shall be in the office of the Clerk of the City of Taunton.
B. 
A dog which is the subject of a license shall be controlled and restrained from killing, chasing or harassing livestock or fowls.
C. 
The license period is the time between April 1 and the following March 31, both dates inclusive.
D. 
The owner of any dog may add descriptive words, not over 10 in number, upon the license form to indicate the color, breed, weight and special markings of the licensed dog.
E. 
The owner or keeper of a licensed dog shall cause it to wear around its neck or body a collar or harness of leather or other suitable material, to which shall be securely attached a tag and upon which shall appear the license number, the name of the City of Taunton which issued such license and the year of issue.
F. 
If any such tag shall be lost, the owner or keeper shall forthwith secure a substitute tag from the City Clerk at a cost of $2.
G. 
The fee for every license shall, except as otherwise provided, be $10 for a neutered male or spayed female dog and $12 for a nonspayed female or nonneutered male dog. A certificate of a registered veterinarian who performed the operation that said female dog has been spayed or male dog has been neutered and has thereby been deprived of the power of propagation must be shown to the Clerk. If the City Clerk is satisfied that the certificate of the veterinarian who spayed or neutered the dog cannot be obtained, he/she 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/she has examined such dog and that it appears to have been and in his/her opinion has been spayed and thereby deprived of the power of propagation.
H. 
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. All individuals over the age of 55 that present a photo identification as proof of age shall be given a discount of $2 on the cost of licensing each dog under their ownership.
I. 
No license fee or part thereof shall be refunded because of the subsequent death, loss, spaying or removal from the commonwealth or other disposal of the dog, nor shall any license fee or part thereof paid by mistake be paid or recovered back.
[Amended 6-21-1988; 5-23-2000]
A. 
No person owning or keeping a dog shall permit it to be at large in the City of Taunton other than on his/her own premises; if it is on the premises of another person, it shall be with the knowledge, consent and written permission of such other person.
B. 
No owner or keeper of a dog shall cause such dog to run at large on the premises of the owner or keeper unless such dog is in the custody of the owner or keeper or another responsible person and is restrained and controlled by means of a leash consisting of a chain, rope, or cord not exceeding six feet in length of sufficient strength to constrict the action of said dog; or the dog is next to and beside a competent person and obedient to the person's command; or the dog is tethered with a leash as hereinbefore defined of not less than six feet in length and sufficiently short to restrain such dog from access to a street, public sidewalk, or other area to which the public has a right of access; or the dog is confined within an enclosed yard or a pen constructed of chain-link or stockade fencing of sufficient height, strength and design as to contain such dog in confinement and to prevent children or animals from gaining access to the confinement area.
C. 
The owner or keeper of a dog which is not on the premises of the owner or keeper and is upon the premises of another person with the knowledge, consent and written permission of such person shall keep the dog restrained and controlled by means of a leash consisting of a chain, rope or cord not exceeding six feet in length of sufficient strength to control the action of said dog or shall keep the dog under restraint and control without a leash so long as the dog is next to and beside a competent person and obedient to the person's command.
D. 
The owner or keeper of a dog on any public or quasi-public premises, land or property shall keep said dog under immediate and positive control and restraint by a person of adequate age and discretion to properly control and restrain the dog's action(s) by means of a leash consisting of chain, rope or cord not exceeding six feet in length of sufficient strength to control the action(s) of the dog.
E. 
Any working dogs, such as police dogs, farm dogs, hunting dogs, watch dogs or dogs specially trained to lead or serve a blind person, shall be allowed to perform their necessary duties, provided that they have been trained by their masters to follow commands of an oral or physical nature and are under proper restraint and control as reasonably required under the circumstances.
F. 
In any prosecution hereunder, the presence of such dog at large upon the premises, other than the premises of the owner or keeper, shall be prima facie evidence that such knowledge, consent and written permission was not had.
G. 
Any dog found to be at large in violation of this section shall be caught and confined by the Animal Control Officer, who shall post for 10 days a written notice at one or more conspicuous and established places in the City of Taunton describing said dog, the time and place it was taken and the licensed owner, if known. The owner or keeper of a dog shall, within 10 days of notice, recover said dog and pay any and all fines, costs and penalties due under the circumstances.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Throughout this article, the term "dog officer" was amended to "Animal Control Officer" at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
H. 
The Animal Control Officer may, at the end of the 10 days of notice, sell any male or any spayed female dog, not found to be diseased, for a sum not less than $10 pursuant to MGL c. 140, § 151A.
I. 
The Animal Control Officer, upon receiving any dog, shall make a complete registry, entering the breed, color and sex of such dog and whether licensed; if licensed, he/she shall enter the name and address of the owner and number of the dog tag. The Animal Control Officer shall enter the name and address of the person receiving said dog if other than the registered licensed owner.
J. 
Return of the dog to the licensed owner or keeper shall be dependent on admission of ownership or the keeping of the dog and the assumption of responsibility by the licensed owner or keeper. The Animal Control Officer shall enter and prosecute a complaint against the owner or keeper of any dog taken into his/her custody under this section; provided, however, that if within the 12 months next preceding this offense the owner or keeper has not been convicted for violation of this section or a dog owned or kept by him/her has not been taken into custody for violation of this section, the Animal Control Officer may waive prosecution; however, a fee of $7 for each day such dog has been held by the Animal Control Officer shall be forfeited to the Animal Control Officer of the City of Taunton as provided herein.
[Amended 5-23-2000]
A. 
No person owning or keeping a dog shall permit it to defecate or urinate within the boundaries of any municipally owned playground, park or open space to which the public has access, unless expressly permitted in specially designated areas.
B. 
No person owning or keeping a dog shall permit it to defecate or urinate within the bounds of any public sidewalk.
[Amended 5-23-2000; 6-26-2001]
A. 
For the purposes of enforcing the provisions of §§ 191-1 through 191-3, notice of violation (appearance tickets) may be issued by any police officer, by any animal control officer, by persons appointed as parking control officers, by the Animal Control Officer, and by the City Clerk.
B. 
Any owner or keeper of a dog who has been observed by a police officer to have violated any subsection of §§ 191-1 through 191-3 and who refuses to give proper personal identification of his or her person to said police officer upon request shall be subject to arrest.
C. 
All fines and penalties provided in this article relating to dogs may be recovered before the First Bristol District Court, 40 Broadway, Taunton, Massachusetts.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
D. 
Whenever a complaint is sought in the District Court for a violation of the preceding §§ 191-1 through 191-3, the Clerk shall send a written notice to the person complained against stating that such a complaint has been sought and will issue unless such person appears before such Clerk and confesses the offense either personally or through an agent duly authorized in writing or by mailing to such Clerk with the notice the fine provided herein. If it is the first offense subject to this section committed by such person within a calendar year, the payment to the Clerk shall be a fine in the amount listed below for the specified offense and shall operate as a final disposition of the case; if it is the second offense so committed in a calendar year, the payment to the Clerk shall be a fine that is twice the amount listed below for the specified offense and shall operate as a final disposition of the case; if it is the third or subsequent offense so committed in the calendar year, the payment to the Clerk shall be a fine that is three times the amount listed below for the specified offense and shall operate as a final disposition of the case. Such payment shall be made only by postal note, money order or check.[2]
(1) 
For violation of § 191-1, Licensing of dogs: $50.
(2) 
For violation of § 191-2, Leashing of dogs: $50.
(3) 
For violation of killing or harassing livestock or fowl: $50.
(4) 
For violation of dogs at large on premises other than owner: $50.
(5) 
For violation of dogs on public property not under restraint or control: $50.
(6) 
For violation of § 191-3, Defecation or urination of dogs: $50.
(7) 
For violation of neglect or restraining order: $100.
(8) 
For violation of order to muzzle, restrain or confine a dog: $100.
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
A. 
The Animal Control Officer may recommend a dog to be muzzled, restrained on or confined within the premises of the owner or keeper of a dog, or otherwise pursuant to MGL c. 140, §§ 167 and 168, for any of, but not limited to, the following reasons:
(1) 
Running at large, either alone or in a pack, in a school yard or a public recreational area.
(2) 
Running at large, when it is a matter of record that the owner or keeper has allowed such dog to commit four or more violations of any section of this article within a twelve-month period.
(3) 
Having bitten a person.
(4) 
Killing or maiming or otherwise damaging any other domestic animals.
B. 
The Animal Control Officer shall be empowered to humanely destroy any dog, when found at large and/or unmuzzled in a public way, which has been previously ordered muzzled or restrained under the provisions of MGL c. 140, §§ 167 and 168, as amended.
C. 
If the owner or keeper of a dog refuses or neglects for 12 hours after a certified copy of such order is made upon him or her to muzzle or restrain such dog as so required, he or she shall be punished by a fine of not more than $300 payable to the Clerk of the City of Taunton.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
[Added 5-1-1984; amended 5-23-2000]
A. 
Running at large prohibited. No dog of fierce, dangerous or vicious propensities and no female dog in heat, whether licensed or not, except when on duty under the direct control and supervision of a police officer or other law enforcement officer or properly trained and certified security dog handler, shall be allowed to run at large whether on or off the premises of the owner or keeper, but such dog shall be kept at all times in an enclosure of adequate size with proper ventilation, which enclosure shall be kept clean at all times. No such enclosure shall be located in an area zoned Suburban or Urban Residential and otherwise within 1,000 feet of an urban dwelling unless approval in writing is obtained from the occupants and owners.
B. 
Impoundment; authority of police to slay such dogs. If any such dog is found running at large on or off the premises of the owner in violation of this provision, it shall be taken up and impounded and shall not be released except upon approval of the Animal Control Officer or, in the Animal Control Officer's absence, the Animal Control Officer's designee, after payment of the fees provided hereinafter. Further provided, however, that if any dangerous, fierce or vicious dog so found at large cannot be safely taken up and impounded, such dog may be slain by any police officer.
C. 
When presumed to be animal of vicious propensities. Every dog which has in the past been trained or exposed to training for security, attack, or military or paramilitary duties, or which has attacked or bitten any person without provocation, shall be presumed to be a fierce, dangerous animal of vicious propensities, and no one shall keep such a dog except as aforesaid.
D. 
Notification of impoundment; reclamation and disposal. As soon as reasonably possible after the impounding of a dog under this section, the owner or keeper thereof shall be notified, or if the owner or keeper of the dog is unknown, written notice shall be posted for five days in three or more conspicuous places in the City of Taunton, describing the dog and the place and time of taking. The owner of any dog so impounded may reclaim such dog upon the payment of the license fee, if unpaid, and all costs and charges incurred by the City of Taunton for impounding and maintenance of the dog and upon the showing that the owner has the adequate facilities described above and the willingness to keep said dog as aforesaid. Any dog not so claimed by the owner or keeper shall be disposed of in the same manner as that in which other stray dogs are disposed.
E. 
Penalty for violation. The owner, or keeper, or the person responsible for said dog or dogs as described in this section, shall be fined $300 for each separate violation of this section.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
[Added 4-2-1996]
A. 
It shall be unlawful for a dog owner to allow a dog within the City of Taunton to bark in the open, outside of any building, repetitively for more than 30 minutes during the quiet hours between 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
B. 
This section shall be enforced by any police officer or the Animal Control Officer in accordance with § 191-4. If it is the first offense subject to this section committed by such dog owner within a calendar year, there shall be a written warning issued by the enforcement officer. If it is a second or subsequent offense subject to this section committed by such person within a calendar year, the payment of a fine of $50 shall operate as a final disposition of the case.
[Added 4-2-1996; amended 5-23-2000; 6-26-2001[1]]
A. 
Definition. For purposes of this section, the word "kennel" shall mean one pack or collection of dogs on a single lot, whether maintained for breeding, boarding, sale, training, hunting, or other purposes, and including any shop where dogs are on sale, and also including every pack or collection of dogs three months old or over owned or kept on a single lot irrespective of the purpose for which they are maintained.
B. 
A public hearing before the Municipal Council shall be required prior to the issuance of a new Class I, Class II or Class III kennel license subject to MGL c. 140, § 137A. Annual renewals are also subject to a public hearing but may have the public hearing waived by majority vote of the Municipal Council. The owner of the property must be the petitioner for the kennel license.
C. 
Kennel licenses shall be classified as Class I for keeping four to six dogs, Class II for keeping seven to 12 dogs, and Class III for keeping more than 12 dogs.
D. 
The Municipal Council may authorize the issuance of a Class I license after public hearing and upon the applicant's written certification of the following:
(1) 
That the premises upon which the dogs are to be kept contains 1/2 acre or more.
(2) 
That each dog to be kept on the premises has received all required shots and/or vaccinations.
(3) 
That each dog subject to the license is disease-free, adequately nourished and otherwise in good health.
(4) 
That the keeper of the dogs subject to the license will obey the leash law.
(5) 
That the keeper of the dogs under the license will obey the laws relating to excessively barking dogs.
(6) 
That the dogs will be housed, sheltered, or kept a minimum of 100 feet from the nearest residential dwelling.
(7) 
That the premises upon which the dogs are to be kept shall be open to inspection by the Chief of Police or the Animal Control Officer at any time in accordance with MGL c. 140, § 137C.
(8) 
That the premises upon which the dogs are to be kept is subject to a special permit issued by the Municipal Council pursuant to § 440-502 of Chapter 440, Zoning, only if used for a commercial purpose.
E. 
The Municipal Council may authorize the issuance of a Class II license after public hearing and upon the applicant's written certification of the following:
(1) 
That the premises upon which the dogs are to be kept contains one or more acres.
(2) 
That each dog to be kept on the premises has received all required shots and/or vaccinations.
(3) 
That each dog subject to the license is disease-free, adequately nourished and otherwise in good health.
(4) 
That the keeper of the dogs subject to the license will obey the leash law.
(5) 
That the keeper of the dogs under the license will obey the laws relating to excessively barking dogs.
(6) 
That the dogs will be housed, sheltered, or kept a minimum of 150 feet from the nearest residential dwelling.
(7) 
That the premises upon which the dogs are to be kept shall be open to inspection by the Chief of Police or the Animal Control Officer at any time in accordance with MGL c. 140, § 137C.
(8) 
That the premises upon which the dogs are to be kept is subject to a special permit issued by the Municipal Council pursuant to § 440-502 of Chapter 440, Zoning.
(9) 
That no more than three of the dogs shall be kept in the residential dwelling of the applicant.
(10) 
That each dog shall have a shelter or dog house.
(11) 
That he or she will certify that all dogs shall be kept in shelter from 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
F. 
The Municipal Council may authorize the issuance of a Class III license after public hearing and upon the applicant's written certification of the following:
(1) 
That the premises upon which the dogs are to be kept contains three or more acres.
(2) 
That each dog to be kept on the premises has received all required shots and/or vaccinations.
(3) 
That each dog subject to the license is disease-free, adequately nourished and otherwise in good health.
(4) 
That the keeper of the dogs subject to the license will obey the leash law.
(5) 
That the keeper of the dogs under the license will obey the laws relating to excessively barking dogs.
(6) 
That the dogs will be housed, sheltered, or kept a minimum of 250 feet from the nearest residential dwelling.
(7) 
That the premises upon which the dogs are to be kept shall be open to inspection by the Chief of Police or the Animal Control Officer at any time in accordance with MGL c. 140, § 137C.
(8) 
That the premises upon which the dogs are to be kept is subject to a special permit issued by the Municipal Council pursuant to § 440-502 of Chapter 440, Zoning.
(9) 
That no more than three of the dogs shall be kept in the residential dwelling of the applicant.
(10) 
That each dog shall have a shelter or dog house.
(11) 
That he or she will notify the Animal Control Officer in writing of any change in the number of dogs kept on the premises.
(12) 
That he or she will certify that all dogs shall be kept in shelter from 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
(13) 
That a kennel structure constructed in accordance with applicable building codes shall be erected or presently exists on the premises sufficient to house the number of dogs to be kept under the license. The structure shall:
(a) 
Have running water.
(b) 
Have shelter for each dog.
(c) 
Be located a minimum of 250 feet from any residential dwelling.
(d) 
Have a washable, disease- and water-resistant floor.
G. 
The Animal Control Officer may suspend any kennel license issued hereunder if the licensee fails to comply with any item required under this section. The Municipal Council may suspend, revoke, or reinstate any kennel license, at a hearing for due process, if the licensee fails to comply with any item required under this section.
H. 
Keeping of more dogs than are permitted under any class kennel license shall be grounds for revocation of the license.
I. 
The Municipal Council may combine the special permit required in § 440-502 of Chapter 440, Zoning, the site plan review required under Article XV of Chapter 440, Zoning, and the license hearing.
J. 
The application fee shall be $50 for a new Class I, $100 for a new Class II, and $150 for a new Class III kennel license. The annual renewal fee shall be 1/2 the application fee for a new kennel license. The fee for the required zoning special permit and site plan review is included in the application fee. The petitioner shall be responsible for the newspaper advertising costs in addition to the filing file in the event of a public hearing.
K. 
In addition to the foregoing provisions regarding revocation and/or suspension of a kennel license, this section may be enforced by the Animal Control Officer pursuant to the provisions of § 191-4. Maintenance of any class kennel upon unlicensed premises or premises for which a kennel license has been issued but subsequently revoked shall constitute a violation, the fine for which shall be $150 for the first offense and $250 for each subsequent offense. Each day the violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
L. 
The requirements stipulated in Subsections D, E and F may be waived or reduced by a two-thirds vote of the Municipal Council upon a finding that the waiver or reduction will not be detrimental to the public health, safety, and welfare.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).