Town of Easton, MA
Bristol County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Easton as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 5-20-1974 ATM by Art. 56 (Art. 24 of the 1922 Bylaws)]
[Amended 5-27-1975 ATM by Art. 58; 10-2-1989 STM by Art. 3; 4-13-1992 ATM by Art. 4]
A. 
The annual fee for every dog license in the town, except otherwise provided by law, shall be $15 for all unneutered male dogs and for all unspayed female dogs, unless a certificate of registered veterinarian has been shown to the Town Clerk or Animal Control Officer indicating that such dog has been spayed or neutered, in which case the fee shall be $10.
B. 
The fee for kennel licenses shall be $25 if no more than four dogs over the age of three months are kept in said kennel, $50 if more than four but not more than 10 dogs over the age of three months are kept therein, and $100 if more than 10 dogs over the age of three months are kept therein.
C. 
If any such license tag shall be lost, the owner or keeper of such dog shall forthwith secure a substitute tag from the Town Clerk for a fee of $3.
D. 
The yearly licensing period for a dog or kennel license shall run from January 1 to December 31.
[Amended 5-18-2009 ATM by Art. 39]
E. 
No fee shall be charged for a license for a dog especially trained to lead or serve a blind person; provided that the Division of the Blind certifies that such dog is so trained and actually in the services of a blind person.
F. 
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 after it has been paid over to the County under MGL c. 140, § 147.
No person shall own or keep in the town any dog which by biting, excessive barking, howling or in any other manner disturbs the quiet of the public or creates a public nuisance.
[Amended 4-13-1992 ATM by Art. 4; 5-20-2019 ATM by Art. 21]
If any person shall make a complaint in writing to the Animal Control Officer that any dog owned or harbored within his jurisdiction is a nuisance by reason of vicious disposition or excessive barking or other disturbance, the Animal Control Officer shall investigate such complaint, which may include an examination under oath of the complainant, and submit a written report to the Select Board of his or her findings and recommendations, together with the written complaint. Upon receipt of such report and examination of the complainant under oath, the Select Board may make such order concerning the restraint, muzzling or disposal of such dog as may be deemed necessary. The Animal Control Officer, after investigation, may issue an interim order that such dog be restrained or muzzled for a period not to exceed 14 days to enable the Select Board to issue their order following receipt of the report of the Animal Control Officer. If the Select Board fail to act during the period of the interim order, upon expiration of the period the interim order automatically is vacated.
[Amended 4-13-1992 ATM by Art. 4]
A. 
The Animal Control Officer may restrain or muzzle, or issue an interim order to restrain or muzzle, for a period not to exceed 14 days, any dog for any of the following reasons:
(1) 
For having bitten or threatened any person.
(2) 
If found at large or unmuzzled, as the case may be, while an order for the restraint of such dog is in effect.
(3) 
If found in a school, schoolyard or public recreational area.
(4) 
For having killed or maimed or otherwise damaged any domesticated animal.
(5) 
For chasing any vehicles (including bicycles) upon any public way or way open to public travel in the town.
(6) 
For any violation of § 104-2.
B. 
Upon restraining or muzzling, or issuing an interim order to restrain or muzzle, the Animal Control Officer shall submit, in writing, to the Select Board a report of his action and the reasons therefor. Upon receipt of such report, the Select Board may make such order concerning the restraint, muzzling or disposal of such dog as may be deemed necessary. If the Select Board fails to act upon the report during the period the dog is restrained or muzzled, upon expiration of the period the interim order is automatically vacated.
[Amended 5-20-2019 ATM by Art. 21]
[Amended 4-13-1992 ATM by Art. 4; 5-20-2019 ATM by Art. 21]
The owner or keeper of any dog that has been ordered to be restrained or muzzled or has been restrained under this article may file a request in writing with the Animal Control Officer that the restraining order be vacated, or that the dog be released; and after investigation by the Animal Control Officer, such officer may vacate such order or release such dog if the order or restraint was imposed by him. If the order was imposed by the Select Board, the Animal Control Officer shall submit a written report of his or her investigation with his or her recommendations to the Select Board, who may vacate such order.
[Amended 2-9-1981 STM by Art. 2; 10-2-1989 STM by Art. 3; 4-13-1992 ATM by Art. 4]
Any dog within the limits of the town which has not been licensed, collared or harnessed, and tagged, as required by the provisions of MGL c. 140 shall be confined and impounded, for a period not to exceed 10 days, and shall not be released until a pickup fee of $30 shall be paid to the Town Treasurer, payment of boarding fees, as authorized by law, shall have been made and until payment of the required license fee has been made to the Town Treasurer. Any such dog not claimed within the ten-day period shall be sold by the Animal Control Officer or otherwise disposed of by whatever methods are available.
[Amended 2-9-1981 STM by Art. 3; 10-2-1989 STM by Art. 3; 4-13-1992 ATM by Art. 4; 4-14-1997 ATM by Art. 31]
No owner or keeper shall cause or permit any dog to run at large within the limits of the town. While on any public way or place that is open to the public, or any way or place that the public has access, dogs shall be under restraint by the owner or keeper. A dog is under restraint within the meaning of this article if he is controlled on a leash or at "heel" beside a competent person and obedient to such person's command, or within a vehicle being driven or parked on a public way. Dogs running at large, and not under restraint, will be caught and confined for a period of up to 10 days, and the owner or keeper will be forthwith notified. Said dogs shall not be released to that owner or keeper until a pickup fee of $30 shall have been paid to the Town Treasurer, payment of boarding fees, as authorized by law, and payment to the kennel owner for any damage done to the kennel while said dog was impounded.
[Amended 4-13-1992 ATM by Art. 4; 4-12-1993 ATM by Art. 40]
A. 
The Town Administrator may appoint one or more Animal Control Officers annually, on a full- or part-time basis, to carry out the duties of such office as set forth in this article and in MGL c. 138, § 151.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See now MGL c. 140, § 151.
B. 
The Select Board, if it so desires, may enter into written personal service contracts, on a full- or part-time basis, with one or more Animal Control Officers, with such contracts to be on an annual basis, on such terms and conditions as shall best benefit the Town of Easton.
[Amended 5-20-2019 ATM by Art. 21]
C. 
No Animal Control Officer shall be a licensed animal dealer, or shall give, turn over or sell any animal which shall come into his or her care, custody or control, to any business licensed as an animal research facility, or to any animal dealer.
D. 
In the event of a vacancy in the office of Animal Control Officer, this article shall be enforced by the Easton Police Department, until such time as the vacancy is filled.
E. 
The Animal Control Officers shall make suitable provisions for impounding stray dogs and cats, and unlicensed dogs, and proper equipment shall be provided by the town as shall be deemed necessary by the Select Board for the proper enforcement of this article.
[Amended 5-20-2019 ATM by Art. 21]
[Added 5-11-1976 ATM by Art. 11; amended 2-9-1981 STM by Art. 4; 10-2-1989 STM by Art. 3; 4-13-1992 ATM by Art. 4; 5-20-2019 ATM by Art. 21]
The Animal Control Officer or other authorized police officer may seek a complaint in the District Court at Taunton, Massachusetts, against any owner or keeper of a dog who shall be in violation of any provisions of this article, or who shall fail to comply with any order of the Animal Control Officer or any order of an authorized police officer, or any order of the Select Board issued pursuant to this article, and such violation shall be subject to the following schedule of fines to be levied by the District Court:
A. 
First offense committed by such owner or keeper within the limits of the town within a calendar year: $25.
B. 
Second offense and each subsequent offense committed by such owner or keeper within the limits of the town within a calendar year: $50.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 50, Noncriminal Disposition of Violations.
[Added 10-2-1989 STM by Art. 3; amended 5-18-2009 ATM by Art. 39]
In addition to the requirement that a dog shall be duly licensed as required by law, the owner of a dog which is not licensed before March 1 in any year shall be subject to a "late fee" so-called of $5 per month on the 1st of each month thereafter, per dog, which fee shall be in addition to the license fee. This late fee shall be applicable from the 61st day after arrival of such dog. This late fee also applies to kennel licenses.
[Added 10-2-1989 STM by Art. 3]
The owner of any unspayed and unleashed female dog found to be roaming at large in season (heat) off the premises of the owner or keeper shall be subject to a fine of $50 and shall be deemed to warrant only the one penalty.
[Added 10-2-1989 STM by Art. 3]
Any such dog which at the end of 10 days' impoundment has not been claimed by an owner or keeper may be made available for adoption for a fee of $20.
[Added 5-17-2010 ATM by Art. 23]
A. 
Duty to dispose. 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 dog on any sidewalk, street, park, public way or any private property of another. A copy of this section shall be given to every dog owner when licensing his dog.
B. 
Duty to possess means of removal. No person who owns, possesses or controls a dog shall appear with such dog on any sidewalk, street, park, public area, or private property of another without the means of removing any feces left by such dog.
C. 
Method of removal. For the purpose of this section, the means of removal shall be any tool, implement or other device carried for the purpose of picking up and containing such feces which provides protection to the person and/or the public.
D. 
Method of disposal. Disposal shall be accomplished by transporting such feces to a suitable place for placement in a designated waste receptacle, or other suitable container which is regularly emptied by a refuse collector.
E. 
Exemption. This section shall not apply to service dogs accompanying any person physically incapable of collecting said waste.
F. 
Enforcement and fines. Violations of this section will result in a fine of $25 for the first offense, and $50 for the second and subsequent offenses. This section may be enforced pursuant to the noncriminal disposition procedure of MGL Chapter 40, § 21D and Chapter 50 of the Code of the Town of Easton.