Town of Sharon, MA
Norfolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The Board of Health of the Town of Sharon, acting under the authority of MGL c. 111, §§ 31, 122, 143, and 155, and amendments and additions thereto, and by any other powers thereto enabling, and in accordance therewith, has, in the interest of and for the preservation of the public health, duly made and adopted, on June 1, 2009, the following regulations for the control of domesticated animals in the Town of Sharon.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ABUTTER
The owners or tenants of property which adjoins the lot upon which domesticated animals are to be kept, whether or not said properties are separated by a public way.
ABUTTERS' LIST
The list of owners or tenants of property abutting the lot and/or across a public or private way from the lot on which domesticated animals are to be kept.
ANIMAL UNIT
The following shall each be regarded as a single animal unit for permitting purposes:
Horse, donkey, mule, pony, alpaca
1
Bovine
1
Goats, llamas
2
Swine
2
Rabbits
7
Chickens
10
Other fowl
As determined by Animal Inspector
BOARD OF HEALTH
Under Article 13, consists of Board of Health members, its agents, and the Animal Inspector.
BUILDING (SEE "STRUCTURE")
A structure built, erected and framed of component structural parts, designed for the housing, shelter, enclosure and support of domesticated animals.
COOP
A small structure for housing fowl.
DOMESTICATED ANIMALS
All mammals and birds, including but not limited to horses, ponies, goats, swine, cattle, sheep, donkeys, llamas, mules, and fowl, which are kept or harbored as domesticated animals, provided that the following are not addressed by these regulations; dogs, cats, Rodentia up to five in number, wild domesticated animals, exotic birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians.
FOWL
Members of the bird family, including but not limited to chickens, turkeys, pigeons, doves, capons, hens, pheasants, guinea fowl, ducks, swans and geese other than wild species.
LOT
A piece of property in single ownership on which domesticated animals are being kept.
NOISE
Sound of sufficient intensity and/or duration as to cause a nuisance, be injurious to, or, on the basis of current information, potentially injurious to human health, or unreasonably interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property.
PERSON
Any individual, partnership, corporation, firm, association, or group.
RODENTIA
Includes domestic rats, mice, guinea pigs, hamsters, ferrets, chinchillas, and other members of the Rodentia family.
SHELTER
A structure to house small domesticated animals.
STABLE
A structure having stalls or compartments in which large domesticated animals such as horses, donkeys, mules, cattle, or ponies are housed.
STRUCTURE
An assembly of materials forming a construction for use, including, but not limited to, open sheds, shelters, stables, and fences.
UNSANITARY CONDITIONS
Conditions which, in the opinion of the Board of Health and/or its agent(s), are conducive to the breeding of flies, creation of offensive odors, rodent infestation, liquid effluent or runoff, or other public health hazard.
A. 
Board of Health. The Sharon Board of Health shall be the approving authority for new permits and/or for variances. The Sharon Board of Health or its authorized agents shall be the approving authority for renewal permits.
B. 
The Board of Health may not issue a permit unless it has determined that the applicant is in compliance with Article 13 or the BOH has issued a variance pursuant to § 300-13.13.
C. 
No person shall keep within the limits of the Town of Sharon, in any building or on any premises of which he is the owner, lessee, tenant or occupant, any domesticated animals without first obtaining a permit from the Sharon Board of Health.
D. 
An application for a new permit shall consist of:
(1) 
An application form provided by the Sharon Board of Health, along with the required fee.
(2) 
A plot plan obtained from the Sharon Department of Public Works.
(3) 
A submitted plan drawn to scale which includes the following information: size of entire lot with existing structures as well as the proposed structures for use of intended domesticated animals, including fences; distances of animal housing and enclosures from all abutters.
A. 
Upon receipt of a completed application as defined above, the Board and/or its agents, and/or the Animal Inspector shall inspect the property.
B. 
Permits shall be issued to the owner of the property or to the tenant of the property with the written permission of the owner. The Board or its agent(s) shall act on the completed application at a scheduled public hearing. Appearance of the applicant at the hearing will be required. The applicant is required to provide notification of the date, time, and purpose of this hearing to those residents listed on a certified abutters' list obtained from the Sharon Assessor's office. Abutters must be notified no fewer than 10 days prior to the hearing date by certified mail, return receipt requested. The cost of notification shall be borne by the applicant. In lieu of certified mail, applicants may hand-deliver notice of the hearing and may present to the Board signatures of abutters stating they have received such notice. Notice of the Board's decision shall be mailed to the applicant within 14 working days of the decision and will include any conditions imposed by the Board or its agent(s).
C. 
The issuance of such a permit does not in any way relieve the permittee of the need to comply with other laws and regulations concerning zoning and construction. Any person who proposes to construct or remodel a building or portion thereof for use by a domesticated animal(s) shall, prior to such construction or remodeling, notify the Board of Health in writing. All new structures and renovations/additions will require inspection by the Board of Health.
All domesticated animal permits must be renewed on an annual basis. The following information must be completed:
A. 
An application form provided by the Sharon Board of Health, along with the required fee;
B. 
Upon receipt of a completed application, the Board shall inspect the property;
C. 
If the application is approved by the Board, the renewal permit will be left at the property following inspection; and
D. 
The issuance of such a permit does not in any way relieve the permittee of the necessity to comply with other laws and regulations concerning zoning and construction.
The fee for a permit shall be $30 per year, which shall cover all animals licensed by the Board of Health on the property under this regulation, and which shall be paid at the time the application is submitted for review. New permit fees shall not be prorated. Fees will not be refunded if the application is not approved. Permits granted shall be for a term of not to exceed one year expiring on November 15, unless sooner revoked. Permits shall be neither transferable as to other domesticated animals nor assignable for the use of other persons nor as to the use of other premises.
Each permit granted hereunder shall contain a statement of the number and type of domesticated animals permitted and such conditions as may be required by the Board of Health.
The Animal Inspector, agent(s) of the Board, or any member of the Board of Health shall have the right to make an inspection at any time in accordance with MGL c. 111, § 127B.
A. 
At the discretion of and subject to inspection by the Board of Health, the Board of Health may modify the permit by changing the number and type of domesticated animals specified on the permit. Modification may be subject to notification of abutters and/or appearances before the Board.
B. 
Anyone keeping domesticated animals under an existing permit issued by the Board of Health shall be subject to these regulations except for provisions relating to setback, lot sizes, and number of domesticated animal units allowed, unless or until his/her existing permit is revoked by the Board of Health as set forth by procedures in this regulation.
A. 
No person shall keep any domesticated animal in any building any part of which is used as a dwelling, including, but not limited to, attached garages and breezeways.
B. 
All domesticated animals shall be kept in an approved building as described in these regulations.
C. 
All domesticated animals, with the exception of carrier pigeons and other flight birds, shall be confined to the permit holder's property at all times to prevent wandering and straying onto other properties.
D. 
Carrier pigeons and other flight birds may be allowed to fly free in accordance with standard industry practices, but shall be managed in such a way as to minimize intrusion onto other properties.
E. 
No permit shall be granted for the keeping of domesticated animals or fowl whose type, breed, or gender is known to create loud or objectionable noises unless it can be shown that such domesticated animal will be kept at all times in a location no less than 1,000 feet from the lot lines of the applicant. No roosters are permitted.
F. 
On properties of 30,000 square feet or less, not more than one domesticated animal unit will be permitted, without express permission of the Board.
A. 
Location. All shelters, stables, and coops shall be located not less than 50 feet from any well. In addition, all shelters and stables shall be located at least 50 feet from all property lines and public ways. All domesticated animal enclosures and fenced-in areas must be located at least 25 feet from all property lines.
B. 
Coops. All coops shall be of durable construction. Such structures shall be elevated to a height that allows for adequate cleaning and be designed so as to prevent the harborage of rodents and insects. Nests shall be moveable or otherwise designed so as to be readily cleanable.
C. 
Shelters and stables. All shelters and stables shall be of durable construction to protect the building from deterioration or damage by rodents, termites and dampness.
D. 
Floors.
(1) 
Coops and shelters: Floor surfaces shall be so constructed as to be easily cleanable.
(2) 
Stables: Floors in stalls and stables shall be constructed of materials approved by the Board of Health, and shall be sloped to facilitate proper drainage. Floors in the feed and tack rooms should be of concrete construction unless the owner has demonstrated adequate rodent control.
E. 
Feed storage and water supply.
(1) 
Coops and shelters: The owner shall provide for tightly covered and verminproof storage of dry domesticated animal feed. A supply of potable water shall be available to the domesticated animals at all times and at or near the facility for feeding and cleaning. Water shall also be available for fire protection purposes.
(2) 
Stables:
(a) 
An adequate quantity of potable water shall be provided for each stable. All outlets shall be equipped with approved backflow devices as required by State Plumbing Code and shall meet all other requirements of such code. Water shall also be provided for fire protection purposes.
(b) 
In addition, a drinking water trough shall be provided in the corral area for the domesticated animals. Troughs shall be kept clean and shall not create a mosquito breeding nuisance.
F. 
Lighting and ventilation. Each shelter shall be provided with adequate lighting and ventilation so as to prevent the buildup of odors and moisture.
G. 
Corrals and paddock areas. Stables, corrals and paddock areas should be graded to minimize standing pools of surface water.
H. 
Living and sleeping quarters. Stables shall not be used for human habitation.
I. 
Nuisance prevention. Adequate measures shall be taken to minimize the presence of rodents, flies, other insects, and the creation of odors and other nuisances. All pesticides must be EPA-approved and used in accordance with directions on the manufacturer's label.
A. 
Clearing, management, and disposal of manure shall be such as to minimize odors, breeding of flies, and the attraction of vermin. Manure shall be collected and stockpiled at a single location, carefully chosen to maximize the distance from abutting properties and watercourses, and with due consideration of the prevailing winds.
B. 
All domesticated animal manure wastes and soiled bedding shall be cleared daily from stalls. All domesticated animal manure and wastes shall be cleared from corrals of less than 2,000 square feet at least once a week and as needed from enclosures of greater than 2,000 square feet between May 1 and September 30. Manure and waste shall be cleared from all enclosures as needed from October 1 to April 30.
C. 
Stockpiled manure, waste and soiled bedding shall be removed at least every two weeks.
D. 
Manure, waste or soiled bedding shall be privately disposed of by the permit holder and shall not be placed in the garbage collected by the contractor for the Town of Sharon.
E. 
No manure, waste and soiled bedding from stables, corrals or pens shall be stored within 10 feet of any inhabited residence nor within 50 feet from the property line. If this cannot be established, manure must be removed biweekly.
F. 
The storage of manure, waste and soiled bedding and the maintenance of pens or corrals for domesticated animals shall not interfere with any abutters' rights to the use and enjoyment of their property. The Board of Health or its agent(s) shall investigate any complaints of offensive odor, noise, or pests (such as rats, mice, insects, flies or mosquitoes) associated with the keeping of domesticated animals within the Town of Sharon.
A. 
No person shall willfully or through negligence cause, suffer, allow or permit:
(1) 
The floor and/or ground of the facility for the keeping of domesticated animals, through design, construction or maintenance, to cause or contribute to unsanitary conditions at said facility.
(2) 
Drainage of any liquid effluent containing urine and/or fecal matter from any domesticated animal kept at said facility from the property, or to flow over the surface of the ground onto abutting property, a public way, watercourse, body of water, or wetland area.
B. 
All domesticated animals shall be kept clean and in good health. No domesticated animal shall be abused either directly or by neglect.
C. 
All opened domesticated animal food shall be stored in a rodentproof container.
D. 
Whenever necessary, insecticides such as space sprays or resin strips should be applied to the interior walls, ceiling, stall areas and exterior of stables, pens or housing in order to control the insect population. All insecticides shall be approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Department of Environmental Protection and should be applied in accordance with the instruction for the use of that insecticide.
E. 
The death of any domesticated animal mysteriously or suddenly, except by accident, and without being attended by a veterinarian must be reported to the Board of Health or Domesticated Animal Inspector immediately. In no case shall a domesticated animal be disposed of until released by the Board of Health or a state veterinarian.
F. 
A stable shall not be occupied until the above requirements have been complied with and written permission in the form of a permit from the Board of Health is obtained. The Board of Health or its agents, including the Domesticated Animal Inspector, shall be permitted to inspect a stable without prior notice to determine if these regulations are being observed.
G. 
In accordance with state law, all equines must be tested for equine infectious anemia (Coggins Test) once every 24 months.
H. 
In accordance with state law, all equines must be inoculated in the spring of each year against Eastern and Western Equine Encephalitis.
I. 
The feeding of garbage to swine is not permitted without permission of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Exempt: the owner who feeds his household garbage to a pig destined for his home consumption.
J. 
All cattle shall be included in the state tuberculosis and brucellosis testing.
K. 
Animals other than cattle kept for milking shall be tested for tuberculosis.
A. 
The Board of Health may, after a public hearing, grant a variance to the application of these regulations. Animal husbandry is not allowed by "right" but, rather, is controlled by regulation. Every request for a variance shall be made in writing and shall state the specific variance sought and the reasons therefor. The letter shall contain all the information needed to assure the Board that, despite the issuance of a variance, the public health and environment will be protected. Any grant or denial of a variance shall be in writing and shall contain a brief statement of the reasons for approving or denying the variance. A variance may be revoked, modified or suspended, in whole or in part, only after the holder thereof has been notified in writing and has had an opportunity to be heard, except in the case of an emergency as defined in Subsection F.
B. 
The Board or its agent(s) shall act on the completed application at a scheduled public hearing. Appearance of applicant at the hearing will be required. The applicant is required to provide notification of the date, time, and purpose of this hearing to those residents listed on a certified abutters' list obtained from the Sharon Assessors' office. Abutters must be notified no fewer than 10 days prior to the hearing date by certified mail, return receipt requested. The cost of notification shall be borne by the applicant. In lieu of certified mail, applicants may hand-deliver notice of the hearing and may present to the Board signatures of abutters stating they have received such notice. Notice of the Board's decision shall be mailed to the applicant within 14 working days of the decision and will include any conditions imposed by the Board or its agent(s).
C. 
Any person whose application for a permit or permit renewal has been denied may request a hearing before the Board of Health by submitting a written request within 10 days of said denial. The Board of Health shall set a time and place for said hearing within 30 days of receipt of the request.
D. 
A permit granted under these regulations may be suspended or revoked for cause, by the Board of Health, provided that a hearing has been held after seven days' notice of the suspension or revocation, except in the case of emergency as set out below. Notice shall be given by first class mail sent to the address shown on the most recent application.
E. 
Whenever the Board of Health has determined that an emergency exists under Subsection F, it may, without prior notice of hearing, issue an order stating the existence of the emergency and ordering that the permit be immediately revoked or suspended, as specified therein. Such person may request a hearing within seven days after the service of the order, and the hearing shall be granted as soon as possible; provided, however, that such a request for hearing shall not stay or in any way modify the terms of the emergency order.
F. 
Emergencies. The following shall be grounds for emergency suspension or revocation of a permit or a variance to keep domesticated animals:
(1) 
Cruel treatment of domesticated animals;
(2) 
Using domesticated animals for illegal purposes (e.g., fighting);
(3) 
Outbreak of a communicable domesticated animal disease, as determined by the Inspector of Domesticated Animals or a veterinarian licensed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and/or
(4) 
Unsanitary conditions which, in the opinion of the Board of Health, are creating a hazard.
A. 
The Board or its agent(s) shall investigate violations of these regulations and may take such action as the Board deems necessary for the protection of the public health and the enforcement of these regulations.
B. 
If an investigation reveals a violation of these regulations, the Board shall order the permit holder to comply with the violated provision(s) within 14 days or such other time period as the Board deems necessary.
C. 
Whoever violates the provisions of these regulations as stated shall be subject to a fine of $25 for the first violation; $50 for the second violation; and $100 for the third violation and each subsequent violation within a calendar year.
D. 
No permits are transferable.
E. 
Dogs must be licensed according to the provisions of Sharon Town Bylaws and of Massachusetts state law.
F. 
Wild domesticated animals, exotic birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians may be kept as pets, subject to the licensing requirements of state law (MGL c. 131, §§ 23, 25, and 26A). Those wild domesticated animals which may be kept without a state license are listed in 321 CMR 9.01.
A. 
If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or portion of these regulations is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such provisions and such holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions thereof. The provisions of these rules and regulations are hereby declared severable.
B. 
Adoption and effect. These rules and regulations were adopted by vote of the Board of Health, Town of Sharon, Massachusetts, and are to be in full force and shall become effective 30 days following publication in a local newspaper, with a copy deposited in the office of the Town Clerk.