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Town of North Andover, MA
Essex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of North Andover. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Zoning — See Ch. 195.
Pursuant to the authority set forth in MGL c. 140, §§ 136A to 174E, the following bylaw is enacted for the regulation of dogs in the Town of North Andover.
A. 
As used in this bylaw, the following words and terms have the following meanings:
ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER (ACO)
A person appointed by the Board of Selectmen in accordance with the provisions of MGL c. 140, §§ 151 and 151A.
DESTRUCTION
An order by the hearing authority that a vicious dog be destroyed in accordance with MGL c. 140, §§ 136A to 174E and Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals guidelines.
KEEPER
A person, business, corporation, entity or society, other than the owner, having possession of a dog.
KENNEL
A pack or collection of dogs on a single premises, including a commercial boarding or training kennel, commercial breeder kennel, domestic charitable corporation kennel, personal kennel, or veterinary kennel.
KENNEL LICENSE
A special license issued to a kennel, which allows payment of a single fee covering all dogs in the kennel; with the kennel license, the kennel owner receives a special kennel tag for each dog in the kennel.
LICENSE
A dog's registration, evidenced by a tag issued annually by the Town Clerk to the owner of each dog residing in North Andover and worn by the dog securely fixed to its collar or harness.
LICENSE TRANSFER
The registration issued to a dog already licensed in another United States jurisdiction, after the dog moves into the Town of North Andover.
LICENSED PERIOD
An annual period from January 1 through December 31.
MUZZLING
Using a device that fits over a dog's mouth and prevents it from biting, but that does not cause any injury or interfere with the vision or respiration of the dog that wears it.
NUISANCE DOG
A dog that:
(1) 
By excessive barking or other disturbance, is a source of annoyance to a sick person residing in the vicinity;
(2) 
By excessive barking, causing damage or other interference, a reasonable person would find such behavior disruptive to one's quiet and peaceful enjoyment; or
(3) 
Has threatened or attacked livestock, a domestic animal or a person, but such threat was not a grossly disproportionate reaction under all the circumstance.
PERMANENT RESTRAINT
An order issued by the hearing authority under § 60-5, requiring a vicious dog's keeper or owner to restrain it.
RESTRAINT
Limiting, restricting, or keeping an animal under control by means of a physical barrier (i.e., a leash, substantial chain or line, visible or invisible fence).
RUNNING AT LARGE
A dog is running at large if it is not on the private property of its keeper or owner, or on private property with the express permission of that property's owner, or on a leash.
TEMPORARY RESTRAINT
An order issued by the ACO under § 60-4, requiring the dog's keeper or owner to restrain a nuisance dog or suspected vicious dog for 30 days.
VICIOUS DOG
Shall have the same meaning as the term "dangerous dog" as defined in MGL c. 140, § 136A.
B. 
Other meanings. Any word or term defined in MGL c. 140, § 136A, and not otherwise defined here, is incorporated by reference.
A. 
Four or fewer dogs.
(1) 
License and vaccination requirements. All dogs six months and older, while residing in the Town of North Andover, must have a license from the Town Clerk. To obtain or renew the license, each dog owner must annually present proof of a current rabies vaccination. When a veterinarian determines that vaccination is inadvisable, the owner may present a veterinarian's certificate exempting an old or sick dog from vaccination for a stated period of time.
(2) 
New dogs. Within 30 days of acquiring a dog six months of age or older, each dog owner in North Andover must present proof of that dog's current rabies vaccination and obtain a license and dog tag from the Town Clerk.
(3) 
New puppies. Within six months of a puppy being born, each dog owner in North Andover must present proof of that puppy's current rabies vaccination and obtain a license and dog tag from the Town Clerk.
(4) 
New residents. A new resident who owns a dog six months of age or older must license it within 30 days after moving into North Andover. The Town Clerk will issue each dog a transfer license upon the owner's surrender of a current license from another United States jurisdiction and proof of current rabies vaccination. The transfer license is valid until the next regular licensing period.
(5) 
Lost tags and replacement tags. Dog owners must replace a lost tag within three business days of the loss, by obtaining a replacement tag from the Town Clerk.
(6) 
Tag exemptions for dog events and medical reasons.
(a) 
A dog, while actually participating in an official dog sporting or dog fancy event (if the event sponsors do not allow participants to wear tags), is exempt from the requirement that its license tag be affixed to its collar, provided its keeper has the tag at the event and available for inspection by the ACO.
(b) 
When a veterinarian determines that a dog cannot wear a collar for medical reasons, the dog is exempt from wearing a tag until it recovers, from the requirement that its license tag be affixed to its collar, provided its keeper has the tag in his or her possession and available for inspection by the ACO.
(7) 
Annual renewal. Dog owners must renew each dog license annually. The annual licensing period runs from January 1 through December 31.
(8) 
License due date and late fee. The application form for obtaining, renewing or transferring a license shall be available to each household no later than December 31 each year. Dog owners must return forms and fees to the Clerk by March 1 (or the first business day thereafter, if March 1 falls on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday). Any license renewed after this date is overdue, and the owner must pay a late fee as determined by the Board of Selectmen in addition to the license renewal fee, The overdue license fee and the late fee may be added to the owner's tax bill or may be recovered through the imposition of a municipal charges lien on any property standing in the name of the dog owner, pursuant to MGL c. 40, § 58.
(9) 
License fees. The fees for licensing each dog shall be determined by the Board of Selectmen. The fees shall differentiate between neutered or spayed dogs, and non-neutered or non-spayed dogs. The fee for neutered or spayed dogs shall be less than the fee for non-neutered or non-spayed dogs.
B. 
More than four dogs.
(1) 
License and vaccination requirements. Anyone who owns or boards more than four dogs within the Town of North Andover must apply for and obtain a kennel license from the Town Clerk. (This requirement shall not apply to medical boarding by a licensed veterinarian practicing in the Town of North Andover.) To obtain or renew the license, the kennel licensee who is also the owner of the dogs must present proof of current rabies vaccinations for each dog older than six months in the kennel. When it is off the kennel property, each dog in the kennel must wear a kennel tag, issued by the Town Clerk, affixed to its collar or harness. Kennel licensees who offer temporary boarding services must obtain valid proof that each dog in the kennel that is older than six months has received a current rabies vaccination, which proof must be maintained in accordance with Subsection A of this section.
(2) 
New dogs and new puppies. The kennel licensee who is also the owner of the dogs must report to the Town Clerk each new dog in the kennel within 30 days of its acquisition, show proof of current vaccination, and obtain a kennel tag for that dog. The kennel licensee must show proof of current vaccination and obtain a tag for each puppy when it reaches six months old.
(3) 
Inspection process. Before the Town Clerk can issue the kennel license, the Health Division Animal Inspector must inspect the proposed kennel, file a report on the inspection, and favorably recommend that the kennel meets all of the following requirements:
(a) 
The location of the kennel is appropriate for housing multiple dogs.
(b) 
The location of the kennel on the property will have no significant adverse effect on the peace and quiet or sanitary conditions of the neighborhood.
(c) 
The area provided for housing, feeding, and exercising dogs is no closer than 20 feet to any lot line.
(d) 
The area provided for housing, feeding, and exercising dogs is no closer than 50 feet to any existing dwelling on an abutting lot.
(e) 
The kennel will be operated in a safe, sanitary and humane condition.
(f) 
Records of the numbers and identities of the dogs are properly kept.
(g) 
The operation of the kennel will be consistent with the health and safety of the dogs and of the neighbors.
(4) 
Periodic inspections. Before a kennel license is renewed, and at any time they believe it necessary, the ACO and/or the Health Division may inspect any kennel. If the ACO or the Health Division determines that the kennel is not being maintained in a safe, sanitary and humane condition, or if the kennel records on the numbers and identities of the dogs are not properly kept, the ACO will report the violations to the hearing authority for a hearing on whether to impose fines or revoke the kennel license.
(5) 
Kennel review hearings. Within seven business days after receiving the ACO's report of violations, the hearing authority will notify all interested parties of a public hearing to be held within 14 days after the notice date. Within seven business days after the public hearing, the hearing authority shall revoke the kennel license, suspend the kennel license, order compliance, or otherwise regulate the kennel.
(6) 
Penalties. Any person maintaining a kennel after the kennel license has been denied, revoked or suspended will be subject to the penalties in § 60-7 of this bylaw.
(7) 
Annual renewal. Each kennel licensee must renew the license annually at the Town Clerk's office. The annual licensing period runs from January 1 to December 31.
(8) 
License due date. Kennel license renewal forms will be sent to each licensed kennel no later than December 1 each year. Kennel licensees must return forms and fees to the Town Clerk by January 15 (or the first business day thereafter, if the 15th falls on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday). Failure to pay on time will result in a late fee due in addition to the license fee. The overdue license fee and the late fee may be added to the licensee's tax bill or may be recovered through the imposition of a municipal charges lien on any property standing in the name of the kennel licensee, pursuant to MGL c. 40, § 58. Nothing in this bylaw shall prevent or abrogate the Board of Health's authority to license and inspect kennels in the Town of North Andover.
(9) 
Fees. The fees for licensing each kennel shall be established by the Board of Selectmen.
C. 
Conduct of animals.
(1) 
Endangering safety. No animal keeper or owner shall allow its animal to bite, menace or threaten, all without provocation, so as to endanger the safety of any person. This subsection is not meant to preclude an animal from acting as a watchdog on its keeper's or owner's property.
(2) 
Disturbing the peace. No animal keeper or owner shall allow the animal to disturb the peace of any neighborhood by making excessive noise without provocation. Noise is excessive if it is uninterrupted barking, yelping, whining or howling for a period of time exceeding 15 minutes. This subsection is not meant to preclude a dog from acting as a watchdog on its keeper's or owner's property.
(3) 
Damaging property. No animal keeper or owner shall allow the animal to damage public or private property or realty.
(4) 
Running at large. When not on the private property of its keeper or owner, or on private property with the express permission of that property's owner, an animal must be on a leash.
(a) 
Public gatherings; leash control only. Animals shall be prohibited at public gatherings permitted by the Town Manager or Town Manager's designee unless specifically allowed. Unless prohibited by the Board of Selectmen for any particular gathering, an animal may be at any other public gathering not otherwise specified in this bylaw only it if is on six-foot or shorter leash, and the owner or keeper of the animal shall not allow it to act in violation of this bylaw or other applicable law.
(b) 
School grounds. The school principal shall have jurisdiction over the presence of animals on school grounds.
(c) 
Exception for assistance animals (service animals). This Subsection C(4) does not apply to any properly trained assistance animal or service animal while performing its duties.
(5) 
Chasing. No animal keeper or owner shall allow the animal to chase a person, motor-powered vehicle, human-powered vehicle, or animal drawing or carrying a person.
(6) 
Dog litter. Every dog keeper or owner is responsible for expeditiously removing any dog feces the dog deposits anywhere except on its keeper's or owner's private property, on other private property with the property owner's permission. This provision does not apply to any assistance dog or service dog while it is performing its duties.
A. 
Appointment. The Board of Selectmen shall appoint an Animal Control Officer (ACO) under the provisions of MGL c. 140, §§ 151 and 151A to carry out the provisions of this bylaw and to perform such other duties and responsibilities as the Board of Selectmen or its designee may determine.
B. 
Duties.
(1) 
The ACO's duties shall include but not be limited to the following:
(a) 
Enforcement of the Town of North Andover Animal Control Bylaw and relevant state laws and regulations.
(b) 
Explanation of bylaw violations.
(c) 
Notification to the owner of unlicensed dogs.
(2) 
Issuance of temporary restraint orders. The ACO shall issue an order of temporary restraint to the keeper of any animal that is a nuisance or that is awaiting a decision under § 60-6 as to whether it is vicious. An order of temporary restraint is an order that the animal must be confined to its keeper's or owner's property when not on a six-foot or shorter leash or a dog may be ordered to be sheltered at a local kennel or veterinarian facility at the animal owner's expense; muzzling will be at the ACO's discretion. It shall be in force for no more than 30 days unless the ACO renews it in writing for subsequent thirty-day periods. The ACO shall rescind or stop renewing the order when, in the ACO's judgment, restraint is no longer required. The animal's keeper or owner can petition the hearing authority under § 60-5B to rescind the order for temporary restraint.
(3) 
Issuance of an order of confinement. The ACO may make arrangements for the temporary housing of any animal that is to be confined under the provisions of this bylaw. The housing may be at local veterinary clinics, or at dog kennels within the Town or neighboring towns, and shall be at the animal owner's expense.
(4) 
Complaint resolution. The ACO shall keep accurate, detailed records of the confinement and disposition of all animals held in custody and of all bite cases reported, and the result of investigations of the same. The ACO shall maintain a telephone log of all calls regarding animals and submit a monthly report summarizing the log to the hearing authority.
A. 
Hearing authority. The hearing authority shall be the Police Chief or his or her designee; however, the designee shall not be the ACO.
B. 
Right to appeal. When the ACO has investigated a complaint regarding an animal's behavior and has issued a finding or an order of temporary restraint with which either the animal's keeper or owner or the complainant disagrees, then either party may appeal by sending a written request to the Town Clerk within 10 business days after issuance of the ACO's decision. Following the Clerk's receipt of a written appeal, the hearing authority shall hold a public hearing on the appeal.
C. 
Findings and further appeals. The hearing authority shall decide whether to uphold, reverse, or modify the ACO's decision and shall mail its ruling to the animal owner, complainant, and ACO.
D. 
Hearings. The hearing authority shall hold public hearings and make decisions on any vicious dog declaration under § 60-6.
E. 
Further appeals. An appeal from a decision of the hearing authority may be made by either the owner or complainant.
A. 
Declaring a dog vicious. Any dog that, without provocation, bites a human being or kills or maims a domestic animal without provocation may be declared vicious by the hearing authority. An exception may be made for a puppy (animal under six months old) that draws blood, or for a dog that attacks or bites an unaccompanied domestic animal on the dog keeper's property.
B. 
Procedure for declaring a vicious dog. Upon the written complaint of the ACO, any other public safety agent, or upon the written complaint of any person, the hearing authority shall hold a public hearing, after which it will determine whether it should declare a dog vicious and, if so declared, what remedy is appropriate.
C. 
Exceptions. A dog shall not be declared vicious if the hearing authority determines any of the following:
(1) 
The person's skin was not broken.
(2) 
The person who was bitten was willfully trespassing, committing a crime, or attempting to commit a crime on the premises occupied by the dog's keeper or owner.
(3) 
The dog was being teased, tormented, abused, or assaulted by the injured person or animal prior to attacking or biting.
(4) 
The dog was protecting or defending a human being in its immediate vicinity from attack or assault.
D. 
Remedies. Upon its finding that the dog is vicious, the hearing authority shall order one of the following remedies: permanent restraint, destruction in accordance with MSPCA guidelines, or any other remedy authorized by applicable law.
(1) 
A permanent restraint order is an order that the dog must at all times while on its keeper's or owner's property be kept within the keeper's or owner's house or a secure enclosure, The secure enclosure shall be a minimum of five feet wide, 10 feet long, and five feet in height, with a horizontal top covering the entire enclosure; shall be constructed of not less than nine-gauge chain-link fencing; the floor shall be not less than three inches of poured concrete, with the bottom edge of fencing embedded in the concrete; shall be posted with a clearly visible warning sign including a warning symbol; must contain and provide protection from the elements; and shall comply with all applicable building codes and with the Zoning Bylaws of the Town of North Andover.[1] In addition, the keeper or owner of the dog shall annually provide proof to the Town Clerk of a liability insurance policy of at least $100,000 for the benefit of the public safety; and whenever the dog leaves its keeper's or owner's property, it must be muzzled and restrained on a lead no longer than six feet or confined in an escape-proof enclosure.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 195, Zoning.
(2) 
Destruction is an order that the dog be destroyed in accordance with MGL c. 140 and Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals guidelines.
A. 
Fines.
(1) 
The owner, keeper and/or person otherwise in control of a dog shall be subject to a fine for each violation of this chapter in the same calendar year as follows:
(a) 
For a violation of § 60-3B, C(2), C(3), C(4), C(5) or C(6):
[1] 
First offense: $25.
[2] 
Second offense: $50.
[3] 
Third and subsequent offenses: $100.
(b) 
For a violation of § 60-3C(1) and restraining orders issued under § 60-4B or D:
[1] 
First offense: $50.
[2] 
Second offense: $100.
[3] 
Third and subsequent offenses: $150.
(c) 
For a violation of any other section:
[1] 
First offense: $25.
[2] 
Second offense: $50.
[3] 
Third and subsequent offenses: $100.
(2) 
In the case of a continuing offense, each day shall constitute a separate violation.
B. 
Reimbursement of costs. If the ACO confines a dog and the animal owner does not pay all fees directly to the kennel or veterinary clinic, then the dog's keeper must reimburse the Town of North Andover for any expenses incurred in boarding that dog. If the dog has not been licensed, the keeper must obtain a license and pay any applicable late fee before the dog can be released.
A. 
Enforcement. In addition to any other means of enforcement, the provisions of this bylaw and the regulations adopted pursuant thereto may be enforced by noncriminal disposition in accordance with the provisions of this bylaw and MGL c. 40, § 21D. The North Andover Police Chief or his designee, including the Animal Control Officer, and any North Andover police officer shall have authority to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
B. 
Orders of the ACO and hearing officer. Any orders of confinement, muzzling or disposition issued by the ACO or the hearing officer may be in addition to the fines authorized by this chapter.
C. 
Non-waiver of statutory remedies. The provisions of this chapter are intended to be in addition to and not in lieu of those contained in MGL c. 140, § 136A et seq., as amended by Chapter 193 of Legislative Acts of 2012; nothing contained in this chapter shall deprive the Town from employing the remedies provided in those sections, including but not limited to disposition of a dog found to be a dangerous dog or nuisance dog, as provided in MGL c. 140, § 157, as amended. To the maximum extent possible, the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed to be consistent with and/or supplementing those contained in MGL Chapter 140, as provided in MGL c. 140, § 136A, et seq., as amended.